I was in the middle of a regular Facebook stalk last week when I was stopped in my tracks by something I saw. I was shocked, disgusted and angry, and all because of a status written by a friend of mine. A friend who should have never had to experience what she did that day.
Whilst waiting at a bus stop on what she thought was just a regular Wednesday evening, she was confronted by a complete stranger who found it acceptable to label her as “fat” and advise her to “lay off food for a bit”. Not only did this immediately highlight the culprit’s indecent (and incredibly poor) approach to small talk, but her complete ignorance to the society we live in today.
This is the 21st century; a time when being individual and unique is *supposedly* something to be celebrated, and yet we are still being quite literally confronted by an underlying pressure to be or act a certain way – in this case, thin.
If being yourself is the way forward, as I certainly believe it should be, why are such harsh and judgemental first impressions still formed and voiced? Why did this anonymous woman feel it necessary and acceptable to confront my hard working, talented, sweet, honest, strong, lovable and completely unique friend on a factor of her appearance that isn’t even true, never mind relevant?
I find it unsettling that anyone should have to be subjected to such brutal, sordid and obvious bullying by a) an adult and b) a human being.
Luckily, this particular girl is stronger than to cave in to cruelty, but there are other girls worldwide being picked out and poked fun at for the same ridiculous reasons.
Recent statistics from the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders listed that 42% of girls in 5th-12th grade (that’s age 11-18 to you and I) reported that they’d like to be thinner, and a whopping 47% of girls the same age stated that they wanted to lose the weight because of pictures they’ve seen in magazines.
Society has become obsessed with this idea that being thin is the same as being beautiful and that following the crowd is the only way to avoid the abuse that my friend was forced to endure. It’s horrific to think that girls as young as eleven are abandoning what really matters in life to stress over something so minor and unimportant.
I think it’s time, ladies, that we all take a little advice from a movie that taught us so much else:
“Calling somebody else fat won’t make you any skinnier. Calling someone stupid doesn’t make you any smarter…” – Mean Girls
…and being anything other than yourself even just for a second is a waste of such precious time in such a precious life.
Featured image: Santiago Alvarez/ Flickr.