By Leslie Cerpa
Recently, Pink was criticized on social media about her slight weight gain (she just had a baby!) when she attended a cancer benefit. She responded, “I feel beautiful…I am perfectly fine, perfectly happy…” It’s truly unfortunate that the media was more concerned about her weight than the fact that she was supporting her friend’s contributions to the eradication of cancer.
Another celebrity that continuously gets body shamed is Kelly Clarkson. Despite receiving so many insulting remarks, she chooses to have a positive outlook in saying “it’s more if I’m happy and I’m confident and feeling good…I don’t seek out any other acceptance.”
Body Shaming in the Media
There’s so much negative media shaming celebrities for weight gain, or not looking “good” in a dress on the red carpet, or repeating last year’s outfit. It’s hard to believe that even celebrities can’t escape the hurtful remarks of the media. You probably think, “Well, if they’re famous and still not perfect in the eyes of others, what does that make me?!” Like them, negative commentary about body image can make you stronger and more beautiful when you take it as an invitation to call attention to the issue.
The media exposes us to new artists. When they perform well or make it to the Top Hits list, they’re an instant sensation. When they gain weight, they’re done. Just as the media creates these artists as instant sensations, they are also quick to propagate their destruction by ridiculing their weight struggles and disgracing their shortcomings as though they weren’t human. The media, however, isn’t solely responsible. We also encourage body and self shaming every time we tell ourselves we aren’t “_____ enough.”
Possibility Models, Not Role Models
Possibility models are different from role models because they aren't perfect, but they can help show us what is possible when a person follow their dreams and makes the best of every situation. So, what makes artists like Pink and Kelly Clarkson incredibly powerful and beautiful possibility models? They take others’ opinions about them as a way to highlight their positive and healthy body image, and contest mainstream ideals of “perfection.” Others’ opinions about them make them powerful and beautiful beyond measure and comparison because they know better than to believe those hurtful comments. Honestly, who actually looks like the models in magazines? They don’t even look like that because Photoshop works wonders. Rather than praising the bodies of women we see on TV and in magazines and holding ourselves to those standards, we need to take Pink’s and Kelly’s examples of positive body image to learn the beauty of self-love and self-acceptance.
I recognize that in reality, not everyone can be confident. I’ve fluctuated in weight more than twice already since “recovering” from my eating disorder and I’ve definitely fallen short of self-love a few times. It’s taken me years to appreciate my strong body. Everyone who struggles with body image falls into these slumps. What matters is how quick you are to bounce back from those slumps and realize that worrying about your weight creates unnecessary stress and you are above that.
Here are some ways I’ve loved my body:
- Ditched the scale! Those numbers mean nothing when I feel good.
- Pamper myself – Those monthly pedicures make me feel good.
- Self-gratitude – Writing a list of things I appreciate about my body because this ONE body I have helps me do the things I LOVE to do.
- Be active – running and doing yoga make me feel good.
“You will always be too much of something for someone: too big, too loud, too soft, too edgy. If you round up your edges, you lose your edge.” – Danielle Laporte
“The words ‘I am’ are potent words; be careful what you hitch them to.” – A.L. Kitselman