By Connie Ward-Allen
“It’s all very well to pass the blame, but I thought by the age of twenty, people would have learned that this ‘childish teasing’ can be detrimental to health.”
I think we’ve all struggled with body image in one way or another – inconsistent sizing, insecurities that have derived from school teasing, worrying about our ‘abnormalities’, social media portraying unachievable goals, airbrushing and, the big one, comparing ourselves to others. What’s become the topic of argument recently, after years of trying to promote body positivity, is this idea of ‘skinny shaming’ which completely misses the point. I don’t agree that we should be promoting an unhealthy body image, but that’s not what I’m getting at. The angle I think should be getting more promotion is appreciating our bodies for what they can do, not what they look like. No matter whether people are trying to change their appearance for appearance sake or for health sake, ‘shaming’ of any sort gets no-one anywhere and causes nothing but self-doubt that leads to a multitude of other things. This isn’t a particularly novel view on the topic, but I came to uni thinking petty comments about weight and appearance would be left with school bullies. And oh, how I was wrong. I have been genuinely surprised at the amount of negative attention people get daily because of how they look. This is notable on nights out and particularly bad, almost encouraged, in uni sports teams. Now, I don’t have an all-encompassing solution to the problem, but I think team committees have a certain responsibility that should include condemning such behaviour, vocally. It’s all very well to pass the blame, but I thought by the age of twenty, people would have learned that this ‘childish teasing’ can be detrimental to health. Own up, apologise and worry about your own life instead of making others worry about theirs.