This Viral Hashtag Is a Shocking Reality Check on How Early Body Shaming Starts for Young Women
Every Body celebrates inclusivity and the representation of human beings in every shape and form.
It’s encouraging to see pockets of culture slowly making strides toward being more body positive, but the sad reality is that a lot of us could still stand to see better representation of different kinds of bodies. It’s mega-frustrating — and super eye-opening — to regularly see young women (such as Ariel Winter) be scrutinized for their bodies and how they choose to dress. And now, a viral hashtag is pointing out that shaming young women for how they look often starts so early for so many.
#TheySaid first surfaced when Sally Bergesen, the founder of the women’s running apparel company Oiselle, asked for women to share their body-shaming stories. She shared her own too, admitting that when she was 12 — 12! — her dad said to her, “Keep eating like that and you’re going to be a butterball.” From there, many other women shared their similar experiences, often from when they were very young.
#theysaid "you're so fat" i was 10. "you're so tall, you could be a model if you lost some weight" i was 14.
— Julia Hall (@julia_ehall) June 2, 2017
That's too much food on your plate #TheySaid to me while my skinny brother walked by with a loaded plate.
— Sherilyn Reyes (@Lynnie_Popsicle) June 7, 2017
"If you're chubby all the boys are going to run away." An uncle told me that when I was 11 years of age. #TheySaid
— Alyssa Yeo (@AllyAshton) May 31, 2017
Big bro said "You should really dance again. You were skinny then." He was 12, I was 10. I danced when I was 5. #TheySaid
— ladeitche (@KathyDeitch) May 28, 2017
— Paige Gadsby (@PaigeGadsby) May 29, 2017
While a lot of the experiences shared on #TheySaid pertain to women being told they’re too heavy, the hashtag also highlights many instances of the opposite — women being told they’re too skinny. And some, too athletic. It underlines what many women feel about their appearance — that sometimes, there’s just no winning.
"I don't know what you're doing, but you look SO MUCH healthier now. Props for losing all that weight" #TheySaid after I developed anorexia
— Ashley Scarlett (@ashleyyscarlett) June 1, 2017
— kayla ☀️ (@xxckayla) June 3, 2017
#theysaid people body shame for having curves or having none. We'll never win listening to social cues. Just be and love yourselves❤️💖
— Why_do_we_Life (@caitlyncole0914) June 1, 2017
"Are you anorexic?"
"Do you ever eat?"
"You need a few extra cheeseburgers"
"I bet my leg weighs as much as you"#theysaid
— Smik (@SmikityMick) June 1, 2017
— Debra (@wannarunfast) May 28, 2017
Many users, if not adding their own experiences, have said that scrolling the hashtag is like deja vu. Another user even said that though they’d like to participate, it was too embarrassing and hurtful, and simply too hard to do. No kidding.
Scanning the #TheySaid hashtag can be difficult, but it’s also an important and eye-opening reality check. Too often (especially from family) we hear these comments and are expected to take them as a “joke,” but #TheySaid proves that they’re hurtful, damaging, and formative. With any luck, the #SheReplied response hashtag will help better equip women with constructive and healthy responses and, eventually, mindsets.
Do you have experiences with body shaming? Share them with us over @BritandCo.
(Photo via Getty; banner design by Marisa Kumtong/ Brit + Co)