Right at the heels of Aly Raisman speaking out against body shaming on Twitter, a new hashtag is encouraging people to share the first time they heard something negative about their bodies. Sally Bergesen, founder and CEO of a sportswear company called Oiselle, started the trend by sharing a story of her own using the hashtag #theysaid.
"Keep eating like that and you're going to be a butterball." My Dad when I was 12. Pls RT and share a body shaming comment. #TheySaid
— Sally Bergesen (@oiselle_sally) May 25, 2017
"'Keep eating like that and you're going to be a butterball.' My Dad when I was 12," she said. "Pls RT and share a body shaming comment."
Bergesen was hoping to start a conversation about how traumatizing and humiliating body shaming can be, but she had no idea how quickly the hashtag would take off.
Twitter users across the country began sharing their own #theysaid stories—opening up about the first time they were criticized for their size, shape, diet, lifestyle, and more.
— Coco Renato (@coco_renato) May 25, 2017
— Anna Casto (@RunPipetRepeat) May 25, 2017
— Jen Hawley Price (@PhilanthropyInk) May 25, 2017
— The Nashvillian (@TheNashvillian) May 25, 2017
Several people were grateful that the hashtag provided a platform to share these kinds of stories—letting them know that they're not alone.
Check out #TheySaid to realize 1)you're not alone; 2)body-shaming comments last forever; 3)why unhealthy food relationships are developed.
— Sarah Overpeck (@smoverpeck) May 25, 2017
— Kate Sheppard (@k8shep) May 25, 2017
— Krysta (@ktaninpdx) May 25, 2017
— Amelia Boone (@ameliaboone) May 25, 2017
Bergesen has since followed up on all the tweets, advising people on how to respond to these body-shaming comments. "What replies can we arm our girls with?" she wrote. "I'll start: 'Actually, all bodies are different and I'm just right for me,'" she tweeted. As an alternative, Bergesen suggested: "'Thanks for objectifying me, a–hole.'"