Shape, size, and value: the importance of being body positive
SCAN The Connector, April 2016
We are not our bodies and we are not our looks. To some degree, it’s true – the body is just a house for your consciousness. One thing we know is how you look doesn’t make you kind or cruel, smart or simple. Looking how you look doesn’t have to mean anything. However, despite this, we have trained ourselves to think of people in terms of fat and skinny, soft and hard, tall and small. As a result, many fall prey to the practice of body shaming.
To address this issue, The Connector talked to SCAD Atlanta’s CS3 intern, Peggy Des Jardines, to answer a few questions and find out a way we can be better to ourselves and others.
The Connector: What are some of the reasons that people feel the need to body shame themselves or others?
Peggy Des Jardines: Overall, people often feel the need to shame others because they feel ashamed themselves. Society inflicts oppressive, restrictive and arbitrary standards on everyone and shame is what happens when people fail to live up to them. The belief that you are not okay. Many of those standards govern how women (and men) should look, and are internalized until they’re accepted as fact. Body shame is just one of the negative effects of this.
The Connector: What are some of the reasons people develop negative images about their bodies, in your opinion?
Peggy Des Jardines: Because there is a very specific standard for how you are expected to look to be considered “beautiful.” People receive messages about this standard and how they are not living up to it from the media, families, friends even strangers.
The Connector: What is your advice for SCAD students on the subject of being body positive?
Peggy Des Jardines: Know that there are infinite ways to be beautiful; you are not wrong, the standard you’re held to is wrong. Internalize that.
The Connector: What are some of the things we can do to fight body shaming about ourselves and others?
Peggy Des Jardines: Love each other and yourselves.
So there you have it, pure and simple. Love makes it better. Better for yourselves, and better for a little community. So when it doubt, try a little tender loving care.