It Is Not Your Body. It Is The Clothes.
Have you ever listened to what you say about your own body or what you say to other people about their body, especially when trying on clothes? We have to learn to choose our words more wisely. And don't think that being wiser about our word choice means we have to lie or that we have to tell people something looks great when it really doesn’t. Being wiser means understanding how we have been taught to use words that put the blame on someone’s body instead of the clothes and how that can affect someone’s self-esteem and self-worth in the future.
I don’t think we really understand what we are saying, likely because people have said the very same things to us. I just know that for some reason we have been conditioned to believe it is our bodies that are the problem and then without even knowing it we take that and turn it on other people. Making them feel the same way, making them question their body, simply because we don’t know how to talk to ourselves or each other.
I volunteer for this amazing organization called Prom Project. It serves young women who might not otherwise be able to attend prom because of the financial burden of trying to buy a dress, shoes, jewelry, etc. The majority of the girls arrive in groups from local schools but a few arrive with family members or friends. As I sat in the dressing room helping the ladies shop I kept hearing things that made me cringe (and at times made me want to tell the person to shut up). Listening to some of the things friends or mothers of the girls said that evening reminded me how important our words are. How we can tear someone down simply with our words. How we can make someone feel self-conscious about their body simply by making harsh comments while they are trying something on. And how we have a choice each and every day with both ourselves and those around us; to tear down or to build up.
Have you ever said something like this to someone or had someone say something like this to you?
Your body isn’t made for an outfit like that
That phrase and all the other ones like it are complete and utter bullshit. And I get it, we have heard it our whole lives and sometimes we may even think words like that will make someone feel better (I don’t know why we think that…). But it is how we say those things that matter, it is where we put the blame that matters. The words above indicate that someone’s body is to blame. And from a young age females will look inward every time something isn’t what they expected, they will think they need to change their body, instead of understand they just simply need to change the clothes they are trying on. When we take blame off of the body and put it on the clothes we can change a whole mindset. Change the wording just a little and notice the difference:
Your body isn’t made for an outfit like that → We can do so much better, that outfit does nothing to accentuate how fabulous your body is.
Truth time: How we talk to others likely starts with how we talk to ourselves, which may have started with how our mother or other females spoke to us. If we aren’t careful it can be a vicious cycle. We have to STOP shaming the body for why an outfit doesn't work. We have to stop blaming the person instead of the garment. We have to stop convincing ourselves and other women that our bodies have failed us. Our body is not failing us, the clothes are. Or maybe even simpler than that, it just doesn’t work, so let’s try something else without inviting shame in. There are a million different kinds of clothes in this world and to expect that they are all meant to fit us is insane. We have to stop assuming that if we were a certain size, or had certain curves, or our body looked like someone else’s then we could wear whatever we want. We have to stop putting our shit on other people. And we have to start working on the person in the mirror. Deal with her, be kind to her, and you will learn how to be truthful but not harmful to others. The truth is sometimes an outfit just sucks, can we just leave it at that? It isn’t our body, it is the clothes.