I have quite a unique position in that I have been body shamed at my smallest, and body shamed at my highest (which is healthy) weight. And they both really suck. I hate that either of them have a place in our society today.
When I was at my smallest, I was inundated with comments of “YUCK” and “eat a burger”. And when I had gained a bit of weight I was called fat. Both of these scenarios are such bullshit. It makes me so angry. I fought back at my smallest, and I am fighting back now through this blog. I have zero respect for anyone who feels the need to write cruel comments on instagram, reducing the person to nothing more than their body. Because those comments are read. And no matter how strong you are, they get through. On some level they imprint on your sub-conscious, and it hurts.
Would you ever look a loved one in the eye and call them disgusting/vomit/yuck? If the answer is yes, you need some serious guidance. How would you feel if a stranger walked up to you and said “you look like a twelve year old boy?” Or “you’re fat?”. We are all people with the same set of emotions. If we treat each other like we love each other, the world will change. Empathy to me, is the single most important emotion we need in life. Without it we would fall into anarchy. And social media is starting to erode it.
Being called disgusting when I was struggling with an eating disorder achieved absolutely nothing. All it did was reinforce my previously held beliefs that I am in fact, disgusting. All my adult life I had been battling voices that told me that “I am not enough” and that I am wasting my life. And all modeling did was provide a neat outlet for me to channel this pain. I do wish that this wasn’t the case – but that is not the point of this blog post. The point is that by writing mean comments on strangers instagram, you are doing way more harm than good. If you truly are worried about the person, tell them privately and with love. But do not subject their bodies to damaging scrutiny. More often than not, when the person is looking that underweight, they do not see it. They feel like everyone is lying to them. They also may feel a little thrill that people are “worried” about them and their weight. Whatever the scenario is, by heaping hate onto strangers, you achieve exactly nothing.
Being called fat at the nutritionists office that day, or on set was equally painful, but in a very different way. I knew that I wasn’t. I just wasn’t underweight. I felt my skin go prickly and I didn’t know what to say or do. So I just laughed and agreed with them. Or tried hard to show that they hadn’t hurt me. Suffice it to say, my reaction now would be extremely different. But I was younger, and hadn’t realized that my existence is far greater than my body. So I just vowed to do better. And you know how that went (bridgetmalcolm.com.au/blog/2018/4/2/on-celebrity-nutritionists). I was so humiliated and felt like such a failure. However, I believe that the stigma surrounding the word fat needs to be removed. Fat is so important to our bodies. Having lost too much, and lost a lot of healthy functions, I have a huge amount of respect for fat. If my being the weight I am today makes me “fat” then I say bring it on. Because I am fit, strong and full of vitality. Being “fat” rules.
For the record – some people are naturally smaller than others. I sit naturally at a size 4. That is smaller than average, but larger than an average model. I know girls who sit naturally at a 0. And they eat (not that that is important here). I also know girls who can outrun me (not that that is important here), who are a 14. You just never know. So keep your opinions to yourself.
Body shaming, be it fat or skinny shaming is a terrible illness of our society. It is an illness based on the pack mentality, and our societies complete fixation on the exterior. It is also based on a deep running vein of fear, and that makes me sad. We all just want to be loved, and to belong. But this doesn’t happen by alienating others and their chosen way of life. It happens by showing all beings the love we hope to receive. Behind every face are countless stories, stories that we all share to some degree. And if you take away those stories, we are left with nothing. Without my stories, I am exactly the same as you without yours. This sameness should breed empathy and unity.
We cannot approach this world with the aim to hurt and divide. Our journey is short, but the opportunity to make real change is unlimited. Remember how great it feels to be shown love and light by those around you. Really live in that feeling. Wouldn’t you love to be that person for someone else? You don’t need to get anything in return. But you will get the knowledge that you touched someone’s life.
Today, live in empathy, and make the decision to be someone’s light. You could really change a life, unknowingly.
And most of all… I dictate my path.