We’ve heard it all – skinny shaming, fat shaming, body shaming, and even period shaming. If you are one of the few who has not heard about this phenomenon, “(insert adjective here) shaming” is essentially making another person feel bad about their own image, personality, or sometimes even something they cannot control.
Thinking about this phenomenon, I have created a term that I believe encapsulates all forms of shaming – girl shaming.
Why do I put the word “girl” in front of it? Because whether we would like to admit it or not, the shaming thing is largely a women’s problem. I am not saying that men do not throw shade at each-other or that women can’t shame men and vice-versa. However, from my personal experience, this is something that women have a tendency of doing fairly often.
We have reached a point where we will shame a girl for just about anything. I know I’ve been guilty of it. This stems from the underlying feelings that we, as women, have that say we have to be all things we are expected to be. I know that this is silly, and I don’t actually believe this, but because of society’s messages to young women I am still very much aware. When we see that a woman is or has something viewed positively that we do not, instead of praising her, we break her down.
Girls are easily grouped by silly things like: tom-boys, preppy girls, girly-girls, sorority girls, gym gals, rich girls, popular girls, nerdy girls, the list goes on. Growing up, I never felt like I really belonged in any category but I could’ve very well fit in a few. As I got older, it became aware that if you weren’t in one of these specific groups, it was okay to talk trash on them because they weren’t like you and they just didn’t understand.
“Ugh she can’t play sports. Why is she so girly? Those sandals are hideous. She is such a teacher’s pet. She’s gained some serious weight. Why is she so skinny? What a goody-good. Who needs to wear that much make-up? I can’t believe she is wearing heels to class. I bet she got a boob job.” – I have said it all, and so have you.
It is so easy to project negative thoughts on women who are not like us. Whether that be in appearance, behavior, personality, or even lifestyles. I think that is has been so deeply ingrained in our minds that we don’t even realize how often we do it. I’m not saying that I will never do this again. I’m not even saying that you should praise every single woman you come in contact with because you’re not going to like or relate to every single woman you come in contact with. However, be aware of what you’re saying, who you’re saying it to, and why you feel that way.
This sounds so goofy, but I’ve started to “like” more girls’ selfies on social media. If you’re a selfie-taker, you know the many steps it takes to get that perfect picture. Then you vulnerably post it out in the world for everyone to see. My double-tap on your photo is my small way of saying, “YAAAS girl. You rock that selfie.”
Talking bad about people all of the time only puts you in a negative light. I’ve learned this the hard way.
That’s what’s in my jar.