She wrote a post explaining why her body and her dressing choices is nobody else's business but her own.
Beauty standards, are by far the most oppressive pieces of thought that exist in today's day. It permeates every socio-economic stratum and manages to make slaves of us all. You could be too fat, too thin, too pale, too dark, have too limp hair, too curly hair, chubby fingers, too thin fingers, even have ears that stick out too much. However, as each day passes, we also have people who are bada**, who fight these unsaid "rules" of "appropriate bodies" and how they "should be" dressed. Like this woman Shelley, who gave people a piece of her mind when she was teased for wearing what she wanted.
In a Facebook post, she spoke about an incident that happened to her at Mt. Maunganui Beach, Tauranga, New Zealand. She had decided to wear a bikini and just enjoy the beach. As per her post, some men teased for her. And in response to their actions, she refused to be shamed and instead, decided to write this kick-ass post about body positivity and tell them why her body or anybody else's was none of their goddamn business.
After the initial profanity-ridden two lines, Shelley calls out people who body shame and said, "It’s because of people like you that women especially don’t feel safe or confident or comfortable to go out in society in something like a bikini, or a crop top (they probably aren’t even called that anymore!) or a short dress, or with their midriff showing. It’s because of people like you that people starve themselves and make themselves sick in an attempt to maintain a ‘model-like figure’. It’s because of people like you that people wear long sleeves all-year-round because they are scared to show their arms. It’s because people like you that people become anorexic, obese, bulimic, self-harm, commit suicide..."
Shelley goes on to talk about how those who make fun of anyone who is outside of the "average-sized" human being range, on either side of the spectrum, need to be careful. There are many who live with self-loathing every single day and feel that they just aren't good enough for anyone. And that your unkind word could be the reason why they go off the edge put themselves in harm's way.
In the post, she adds, "So next time you see someone like me on the beach in a bikini or in a situation similar, before you laugh and point, take a moment to think about the damage you may just do, because not every person, young or old, male or female, will have learned to have the thick skin, or the resilience, or the self-confidence, that I do to brush it off. I won’t lie, there was a split second that I almost quickly covered up again, and then I reminded myself of all I have learned on this journey, and I held my head high and stuck my belly out and wore that bikini with pride."
Shelley's message was cheered by tons of people. Her post went viral on Facebook and has received 54K reactions, 9.9K comments, and 17K shares. She even goes on to tell parents to teach their children how to love their body.
"Parents, I urge you to teach your children that there is no one body shape, but instead that there is a rainbow of beautiful bodies. I urge you to teach them not to stare directly at a bigger stomach than they might be accustomed to seeing on TV or in society, but instead, to look at a persons face and into their eyes. I urge you to teach them to be kind to all types of people, regardless of their outer appearance. I urge you to teach your children to accept people for exactly who they are on the inside. And I urge you to teach your children to be role models to those around them who aren’t being taught this, and to be the positive change we need to see in the world, so that in 5 or 10 or 20 years time, no more people are pointed at and laughed at by the way they look when they wear a bikini on the beach."
A big part of the population is affected by body image issues. According to ThriveGlobal, 91 percent of women are unhappy with their bodies and resort to dieting. 81 percent of ten-year-olds (?!?!) are afraid of being fat. These ten-year-olds are more afraid of becoming fat than they are of cancer, war, or losing both of their parents. In a survey of girls aged nine and ten years old, 40 percent have tried to lose weight. At its core, this means that a lot of fourth and fifth graders are terrified of being a "wrong body type", of becoming heavy more than anything else in the world. According to a study, adolescents with negative body image concerns are more likely to be depressed, anxious, and suicidal than those without intense dissatisfaction over their appearance.
The thought that body image issues can lead to negative mental health and suicide is terrifying. Therefore, it is imperative to be kind to yourself and to others about this.