Friday, September 18, 2015

body-shaming, bullying, and boys.

body-shaming, bullying, and boys.

I don't really know where to begin with this post.  I feel like the topic gets brought up over and over again, but it's such a prevalent problem that will not go away. Please ignore my grammar and punctuation mistakes: you are forewarned.

I often write little notes in my phone. These notes could be an idea for a post, lyrics for a song I'll probably never write, or an experience that stands out to me.

On July 17, 2015 at 12:17PM, I wrote this short excerpt:
"Two seemingly nice, kind parents took their 11 or 12 year old boy school shopping at Plato's closet in Provo, Utah.  The boy began trying on pants and shorts that his mom and dad would bring him.  He came out with one of the options and told his dad that they were too tight. His dad quickly responded by saying, "Well, it looks like you need to lose some weight then."  I could see the look of shame and embarrassment fill the young boy's face. His dad continued to explain, "I'm just being real about the situation."

My heart broke for this barely-above-average-sized young boy going into junior high without even his parents approval of his weight and appearance.  Instead of encouraging his son to try on a different size, this father just left his son with a blanket statement: you need to lose weight.

I do not think these parents intentionally meant their son any harm. I'd like to believe they did not realize the amount of shame they most likely added to this boy's body image.  Junior high is hard enough as it is; everyone is trying to figure out the kind of person they want to be and the kind of image they want to present themselves with.  In my opinion, junior high is when a person is at their personal peak of insecurity. Or at least when your insecurities really spike for the first time.  Everyone cares what you look like, what you wear, and who you hang out with.  Bullying is an everyday thing around the halls of school.  Growing up, I remember seeing people snickered at or teased just about every day. It's a lot of pressure.  A lot of the mean comments revolved around a person's appearance and more specifically, their weight.

I can specially remember having guy-friends throughout school who were teased for their bodies.  Whether they were under or over-weight, they were often put on the chopping block of criticism.  For some reason, people seem to think guys aren't as affected by these cruel comments.  I'm not sure why this line of thinking exists.  Males are not exempt from feeling insecure.  Their insecurities get layered on piece by piece just like females do.  People would be shocked if they knew the real percentage of men with significant body-image issues.

Please think twice before you comment on another person's body: male or female.  Let's stop this overly-body-conscious way of thinking.

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