Banning Body-Snarking

Be honest. When is the last time you stood in front of the mirror and raved –seriously raved — about your appearance?

For me, it was my wedding day two years ago.

I’d never felt so beautiful in my waist-accentuated, fitted gown, all dolled up and ready to walk down the aisle to begin a future with the man I love …

And, feeling so beatiful, I radiated all day.

I don’t think I’m an exception here; it’s my hope that every bride feels gorgeous on her wedding day.

But aside from special occasions like that, if you’re like many women who suffer from body dysmorphia or negative body image, you probably don’t spend a lot of time preening at your own reflection.

It’s bad enough when we bash our own bodies, but now more than ever — especially thanks to the proliferation of celebrity-focused magazines and gossip blogs on the Web — women are bashing other women, too. It’s called “body snarking” and it’s getting ugly.

In fact, Glamour’s October editorial highlighted this sad trend we’re seeing in America, which basically describes the public equivalent of what women have been doing since the beginning of time in secret: body-bashing other women.

So-and-so still hasn’t lost her baby weight.

Did so-and-so eat a burrito or is she pregnant?

Boy, looks like so-and-so should put that Frappucino down.

I think so-and-so has gone all “ano” on us!

Look at so-and-so’s muffin top in those jeans!

It’s mean, it’s gossipy, it’s snarky, and it does absolutely nothing to help women struggling with body image everywhere.

Why are we so judgmental as a sex? Especially to our own kind?

So today, I’d like to offer us all a challenge. Instead of looking at a woman (at your local coffee joint, in the office, on the street) and passing some kind of judgment, let’s call out a positive attribute of hers and announce it here.

Let’s add some positive energy to the blogosphere, and sing our own praises and the praises of other women. Let’s get this week off to a good start.

I’ll start. I’m at a conference in Detroit and one of my good friends from college is here. She is several months pregnant, and she’s literally glowing. She’s always been beautiful, but there’s a definite glow, for sure! And seeing her so happy made me happy.

How about you? Have you engaged in body snarking? How can we stop it? And give a shout-out to a woman you admire today.

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15 thoughts on “Banning Body-Snarking

  1. I try to avoid body snarking… at all costs. Honestly, I often find myself appreciating other women. The girl at the club that is probably overweight, but looks fabulous and so confident in her looks? I want to be her. I want to have that smile that radiates and that confidence that just screams, “I know I look good right now.”

  2. Oh my gosh, body snarking, it’s literally everywhere. I’ve been really trying to avoid it, not only is it not my place or desire to put other women down because of the way they look but by being so critical about them I, in turn, become even more critical on myself. Nobody deserves to have their body under a microscope! As long as we eat well and exercise and we are fully functioning and healthy than I try not to think about it, or at least not say anything in hopes that the thoughts will eventually disappear. My best friend is no super model but she is definitely one of the most beautiful people I know, inside and out! I hope to one day radiate the same :).

  3. My body snarking is constant… while I see the changes I’ve made, I still am always down on myself because I’m not “there” yet. The comments are everywhere… and I really need to work on not taking them on.

  4. I think so many times we’re taught (as women) to use body image related remarks to cut down others…..it’s that classic scene from a movie (that we’ve all seen 100 times) where the “skinny” girl calls another girl fat, or tells her she has a big butt, or some cutting remark to degrade her body. It’s kind of sad that probably a lot of women would rather be called anything but the “f” word.

    Because I still suffer from body dysmorphia, I am very conscious of what I say to women about their bodies. But to be honest, if I’m talking to someone about a girl who has upset me, I might through in a “diss” about her body. I hate to even admit that.

    One thing I can do is focus on the positives….I do try already, but today I am going to take your challenge and compliment someone on a positive attribute – other than their weight/size. I guess we all need to learn to look past the surface…even if our society tells us otherwise. πŸ™‚

  5. I am similar to Less Than Three. I am often in awe of other women and sometimes even tell them so. I hate for them to think I’m weird though. πŸ™‚

    I haven’t raved seeing myself since looking at some pregnancy photos of myself. My stomach was freaking hard as a rock and it was beautiful. I did not feel that way about the rest of me, though. Never have.

    Today, I say, Melissa, you are a beautiful woman. You have beautiful red hair, an infectious smile and wisdom beyond your years.

  6. I really struggle with judging other people. I always do it and get really annoyed with myself. But it all comes back to my own body issues – I judge other women while comparing myself to them. For example I might think “Geez, that girl’s bigger than me and there’s no way in hell I’d wear that, what is she thinking? Does she own a mirror?” but I think that really means “Geez I wish I could be as confident with myself as she seems to be”.

    I am consciously trying to stop this. I’m pretty sure karma is taking note every time I do it :\

  7. Hi ladies!! Late to respond today since I’m out of town and not at my computer all day — but I am glad to get this ugly topic out into the open.

    And Staci — you’re too sweet; thank you! πŸ™‚ Hope you got my email πŸ™‚

  8. Wow…this is a very powerful post. I just came across your blog, but I am instantly captivated. This, what you are describing here, is what I want to devote my life to. I think it is my calling!
    I have heard so many people call false pregnancies (in hollywood) Food Babies. these are terms the editors have created and now they are spreading around and intoxicating OUR vocab. We MUST put an end to hollywood’s negative message. I am very passionate about this. I recently wrote an article for my school newspaper, please take the time and read it, i can definitely relate.

    http://media.www.sjuhawknews.com/media/storage/paper763/news/2008/09/25/Opinion/Medias.Obsession.With.Weight.Negatively.Impacts.Youth-3447456.shtml

  9. I always compare myself to others as well… and I always end up the big loser in the comparison. :/

    Having body image issues, I sometimes ask my bf if I have a body like this or this girl to help figure out what I look like. And the answer is always a big surprise to me, as I realize that I don’t see myself like I am in reality.

    For the other people, I never say something about their physical appearance or their weight, because people are not just about weight and size. And I don’t understand how I can find a girl pretty, even if she is a few pounds overweight, and can’t like myself while I have a pretty healthy weight… :/

  10. Thanks so much, SeeLeeLive! So true that we need to change these perceptions about women.

    Nikita, I think many of us suffer from body dysmorphia. Like I know I get really bummed if I don’t feel good about my body but my husband adores me as I am — and as I was. I don’t always see myself as beautiful or muscular or thin. It’s hard to change that view of ourselves, but we can try!

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