These Celebs Successfully Crushed Body Shamers, Plus More Practical Advice On Body Positivity
Body shamers, be gone!
As little girls and young women, we were taught to memorize the words and take their meaning to heart—sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never break me.
Years after our mothers, sisters, friends, and teachers impart the words to our impressionable selves, their value never diminishes. Even as adults, there's never a bad time to remind ourselves that physical injuries might sting and bleed and leave nasty bruises and scars, but words meant to offend you and make you feel small and insignificant should never leave a mark, not even a dot.
But like many things in life, this too is easier said than done.
It's especially difficult when it comes to one of the issues most, if not all, women of all ages, professions, and ethnicities have experienced at least once in their lives: body shaming, especially when it comes to people weaponizing pounds and inches against them.
Tell us, is there any woman in your social circle who's been spared from hearing things like, "I think you need to put the fork down," or "Parang ang lusog mo yata ngayon?" or even reverse statements that attack skinniness such as, "You'll to put on weight if you want to date. Men want curves," or "Kumakain ka pa ba?"
Aimed at curvy women, at average-sized women, or at slender-bodied women, it doesn't matter. Body shaming is body shaming and it sucks. It also needs to stop.
It's a discussion that's risen to the surface yet again over the last few weeks (one that goes to show you how there is progress that has yet to be made), no thanks to life under lockdown. With physical activity down to a minimum, and food being an accessible source of comfort plus cooking at home being one of the only activities there is to do, many women (and men, too!) have noticed changes in what the tape measure and scale tells them.
There's nothing wrong with that; bodies adapt to our lifestyles, and a lifestyle that goes from being active to being stationary will have inevitable effects. Truly, it's a small price to pay for choosing to stay at home where you can protect yourself and your family from the risk of falling ill.
However, there are still people out there—despite a raging pandemic—who feel that it's important enough to draw attention to someone's weight in an attempt to embarrass and insult them. Why they do it is a whole other area of investigation, and instead, we'd like to concentrate on the women of influence who've become examples of being targets of this insensitivity and outright shaming, yet managed to rise above it.
There's definitely a lesson to learn from each of them, too!
First there's Melissa Ricks.
The insult: A couple of people on her Instagram page were quick to point out her weight gain. One outright called her an elephant, and another sarcastically asked what had happened to her (in Filipino, "Anong nangyari sa'yo?").
The response: The actress said at least she was a pretty elephant, and to answer the inquiry, she simply said, well, I put on weight and bore children—with smiley face emojis, too.
Let's not forget Angel Locsin.
The insult: There are honestly, and sadly, too many to count but most insults hurled at her have been all the same. She's visibly put on weight, "a waste" for an actress like her. In other words, sayang.
The response: Nothing. Angel has pretty much declared that body shamers don't deserve her time and day by not once responding to their insults. She's simply continued on with her life, directing her energy to assisting groups most affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
Believe it or not, Miss Universe Philippines hopeful Michele Gumabao was targeted, too.
The insult: She's not fit to be beauty queen because of her proportions. She's too muscular, too athletic, too leggy, too strong-looking—too much of everything that a beauty queen shouldn't have or be.
The response: She said it best herself. "...Self love and confidence won’t be handed to you, it is a choice! I say let them hate, They‘ll never understand that these muscles are only made for champions."
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Transitioning from being a professional volleyball player to beauty pageants, I was and still am being criticized for being too big or too muscular. My legs are too big they say, honestly they really are 😂 instead of being insecure about it, which is a constant battle of choice, I just remind myself that these legs got me through years of intense volleyball, allowed me to jump, play and win. If you constantly find yourself comparing who you are and how you look with others, may this remind you that self love and confidence won’t be handed to you, it is a choice! I say let them hate, They‘ll never understand that these muscles are only made for champions 💪🏼
Even mom of two Mariel Padilla didn't meet body shamers' "standards"
The insult: She let herself go after giving birth to her second child.
The response: Beautifully, it was Mariel's husband, Robin Padilla, that came to her defense. The actor wrote a lengthy Instagram post talking about why exactly Mariel didn't deserve all the hate and explained what was going on behind the scenes. Wanting to breast feed their daughter, Mariel was unable to, as her body simply wasn't producing any milk. The doctor's advice was to increase her food intake to encourage milk production, and guess what. It worked!
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Baby shark Song of Pink Fong Album Pink Fong Animal songs Ang bawat yapak ng isang ina ay sakripisyo at pagmamahal sa kanyang Anak katulad din ng kanyang bawat talon ay puno ng pag ibig at pagmamalasakit sa kanyang asawa. Nakilala ko ang dalagang mariel na mahal na mahal ang kanyang sarili, nakapaikot ang mundo sa kanyang kaseksihan, kagandahan, gamit at kabangohan. Ang lahat ng bagay ay patungkol sa kanya. May mga pumupuna sa kanyang kalusugan ngayon, ang iba ay nagiging labis pa ang mga hirit para itoy makasakit. Ang asawa ko ay dumaraan sa napakatinding estado ng kanyang buhay. Kanyang iniwan ang pagmamahal sa sarili para sa pagmamahal sa kanyang mga anak. Wala naman sigurong babae ang nangarap o sinadyang sila ay lumusog lalong lalo na sa isang katulad ni mariel. Iba iba ang reaction ng katawan ng mga babae sa pagkakaroon ng anak, may mga pinagpala na maraming gatas meron din naman mga walang gatas. Si mariel ay nasa kategorya ng wala talagang gatas. Lahat ng konsultasyon ginawa niya sa mga experto para natural na dumaloy ang gatas sa kanya ngunit lahat ay may kalungkutan. Hindi lumusog ang cooking inang si mariel dahil nais lang niya magpakalunod sa pagkain. Ang tanging paraan lamang na magkaroon siya ng gatas na ipapa breast feed kay maria gabriela ay kumain siya ng madalas at marami! kasama na ang paglimas ng lactation cookies,pag inom ng mainit na chokolate, malunggay, at vitamins. Loaded to the max para may gatas sa bawat feeding session ni maria gabriela. Kahit si mariel hindi niya gusto ang maging malusog pero wala siyang magagawa kailangan niya ibigay sa mga anak niya ang tamang gatas para silay natural na maging malusog at malakas. Ang mga katulad ni mariel na may pinagdadaanan para sa kabutihan ng kanyang anak ay dapat na sinusupotahan ng magagandang salita hindi yun kukutyain pa at gagawing katatawanan. Lahat tayo ay may ina at ang istorya ni mariel araw araw gabi gabi ay kwento ng isang ina hindi ng isang artista o host. She is a fighter and a crusader an inspiration to all that is dreaming of having a child. Giving birth to a child is giving life and every mothers love is a mirror of The Love of the Almighty God for us.
It only goes to show you that body shaming is, well, everywhere, and that it takes a ton of confidence, self-love, and good energy to ignore it, move on, and still believe in your beauty at the end of the day. But the truth is instances of body shaming could happen to you, your BBF, or a family member, which makes it especially important to be able to recognize it from a mile away and know how to react to it, constructively.
Here are a few thing to keep in mind should you ever come face to face with a body shamer.
First things first. What is body shaming anyway?
Body shaming is the practice of making critical remarks about someone's appearance. The aim is to humiliate or demean someone based on their body's shape or size. Body shaming can come in many forms, too; it can show up as teasing (pangtutukso), name-calling, talking about someone behind their backs, criticizing someone in person, or in the age of Internet anonymity, leaving publicly viewable hurtful comments on people's social media pages.
There's a catch, however. So far, we've only talked about how body shaming is done by someone else, but did you know that you could be body shaming yourself, too? This happens when you're overly critical of your appearance or when you find yourself constantly comparing yourself to other women whose bodies you perceive as better built than yours.
Learn how to catch yourself when you're being too harsh on yourself because you could be doing exactly that without you realizing it.
Now that we got the basics covered, it's time to learn that body shaming can be done covertly. Ask yourself if you've ever felt about someone remarking on your weight but not understanding why exactly it upset you. After all, they didn't outright say you were fat but instead said that it looked like you lost weight, and you were looking much, much better.
That's your introduction to the concept of covert, or subtle, body shaming. We mostly assume that body shaming is always very "out there" making it easy to spot, but in reality, a big chunk of it can be passive-aggressive and mimic backhanded compliments and unsolicited advice.
Here are but a few examples of statements that signal covert body shaming:
"You're so brave for wearing that dress! I love the confidence."
"I wish I could eat as much as you without putting on any weight."
"She's super pretty even though she's curvy."
"You'll forever look young like a teenager with how skinny you are."
"All you have to do is lose weight, and you'll feel so much better."
"Have you thought about seeing a doctor? I'm just worried about. You seem to be too thin/heavy."
"Maybe it's time to stop with the second servings."
"Gym memberships aren't expensive."
Here's another important point to make in relation to covert body shaming—you might not realize it, but you might have body shamed someone in the past, however unintentional it was. You might've thought that you were simply coming from a place of concern ("Have you been too busy to feed yourself?") or treating it as a pabiro greeting ("Naparami yata ang kain natin, ah."), or even possibly making a neutral comment ("You're not fat, you're beautiful!"), but in reality, that's exactly what subtle body shaming looks like.
There's no need to beat yourself up about it if you're now getting flashbacks of all those times you said something wrong.
That's why we're here—to learn about the issue that's more complex than it looks and to learn together, not only to protect ourselves from the negative consequences of body shaming, but to make sure that we become part of the solution, not the problem.
The rules of thumb to follow when it comes to knowing what you should and shouldn't say is simple: don't comment on a person's weight if it isn't pertinent to the conversation, and especially if it's to remark on what their body lacks/has too much, or how it deviates from an "average" body. Don't use weight as a conversation starter, and don't talk about someone else' weight as material for lunch break gossip.
When you think about it, a lot of the do's and don't's of body shaming are closely related to being a nice and decent person!
Last, but certainly not least, is learning how to deal with body shaming. We of course hope that none of us ever become the targets of body-shamers, but in the event that we do cross paths with one (or two), it's important to know how to manage the situation without losing your poise. (Think of how Melissa, Angel, Michele, and Mariel did it!). Below are a handful of constructive anti-body shamer tips to remember, should the occasion ever call for it.
It's never about you
This is by far the most important thing to repeat to yourself, over and over. It's never about you; an attack to destroy your self-confidence (even indirectly as in covert body shaming) is almost always a reflection of the other person's insecurities, prejudices, and ill-conceived judgments. Overtly body shaming someone says more about them, than it does about your weight and you as a person.
Educate and inform
This is especially helpful for when you encounter a covert body shamer, as they might not know that they're being hurtful. If the time is right, take the opportunity to begin a conversation with them. You can start by saying, "Hey, remember what you said the other day? I thought about it and I wanted to let you know that..." By being cool-headed about it, chances are, the person will be apologetic and not at all defensive.
Practice gratitude exercises
There might be a day when a body shamer catches you off guard and succeeds at making you feel like cr*p about yourself. It happens. We're human that way. To be able to help pick yourself up, you can familiarize yourself with gratitude exercises. That is, for every one thing about yourself that you don't like at the moment, name one or two things you do love about yourself. You'll soon discover that there was no need to be affected by a body shamer as there are many, many things about yourself that make you awesome.
Be angry—then ignore
It's a superhuman ability to not feel enraged or sad when someone suggests that your body is less than appealing. Hence, suppressing the emotions you feel when you're been body shamed is counterproductive! It's okay to be angry—furious, even! However, the important part is to divert that anger elsewhere; do not engage with the body shamer directly as this will likely worse an already flammable situation. Instead, message or call a trusted person and vent. Release in that safe space. And when you've calmed down and your heart rate has returned to normal, the only thing left to do is ignore. This is especially helpful in instances of online body shaming; the not so secret formula is to ignore, block, and continue being your happy self.
Speaking of happiness...
Body shamers hate to see you happy, especially those whose goal is to intentionally wear you down with their constant stream of insults. It's only natural to want to get back at them—and you should. But maybe not in the way you have in mind. Let go of all the insults you want to throw back and instead, be happy. It'll be their ultimate frustration to see you not give a hoot about all their efforts to hurt you and live life as if they never existed.
Now go ahead.
If you're feeling cute today or want to dress up and share that OOTD on Instagram, do it! Body shamers, be gone!
Additional photos from Unplash and Pexels / Banner and thumbnail images from @mellyricks09 @therealangellocsin @gumabaomichele @marieltpadilla