ICYDK, Body-Shaming Is an International Problem
A national Italian newspaper recently published a body-shaming article about fashion blogger Chiara Ferragni—the episode only highlights what a universal problem body-shaming really is.
It feels like inspiring body-positivity stories are everywhere these days (just look at this woman who took photos in her underwear to feel better about her loose skin and stretch marks). But there's still a long way to go. The latest sensational news? A national newspaper in Italy reportedly printed a story body-shaming fashion blogger Chiara Ferragni [pause for collective sigh], which shows that scrutinizing women's bodies is truly an international epidemic.
National Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reportedly made some totally uncalled-for comments about the Italian fashion blogger's bachelorette party in a recent article. The story apparently said that even though her friends "weren't skinny or in shape," they still all appeared to have fun, according to Yahoo. Seriously? The story also called out Ferragni's weight gain since giving birth four months ago. Okay, WTF?! (BTW, not that this even matters here, but it's perfectly normal to still look pregnant after giving birth.)
Ferragni called out the newspaper on Instagram, telling her 13.5 million followers, "I'm beyond shocked to read such a wrong message shared by such an important newspaper. Women have such a hard time feeling beautiful... Different is beautiful. Not perfect is beautiful. Happy is beautiful. Confident is beautiful. Don't let others bring you down or tell you who you are, ever," she wrote. (P.S. It's Okay Not to Love Your Body Sometimes, Even If You Support Body Positivity)
Body-shaming is an international issue.
A little Googling underscores just how common body-shaming is around the world, no matter someone's shape or size. And as Ferragni's experience points out, the shaming often isn't just the work of trolls on the internet, but also that of legitimate institutions with far-reaching influence.
Earlier this year, London's official transportation authority came under fire for a body-shaming sign. In response to rising summer temps, a "quote of the day" sign in one of the tube stations read, "During this heatwave, please dress for the body you have-not the body you want," reported The Independent. (Maybe the transit employee who wrote it could learn a thing or two from the two women who ran the London marathon in their underwear to prove there's no such thing as a "runner's body.")
What's more, The Independent also reported another issue of body-shaming when Miss Iceland dropped out of an international pageant after organizers allegedly told her she needed to slim down. In Canada, CBC reported a Toronto orchestra told its vocalists to refrain from wearing body-hugging dresses on stage unless they were "fit and slim."
What's being done about it?
While the widespread nature of body-shaming is quite discouraging, there are actually good things coming from all these instances-namely, creating a new army of body-positive activists like Ferragni and others who have spoken out after being body-shamed. (Related: Lili Reinhart Made an Important Point About Body Dysmorphia)
And while it's inspiring to see bloggers and celebrities clapping back at haters and shamers left and right, the international progress against body-shaming is even more inspiring: Late last year in Paris, mayor Anne Hidalgo hosted a conference on the impact of fat-shaming, complete with a fashion show featuring plus-size models, according to The Economist. Last month, Stockholm banned body-shaming sexist ads from public spaces, according to The Independent. And in India, a new movie dealing with the widespread cultural issues with body-shaming is generating tons of buzz and sparking important conversations, reports the United News of India.
Meanwhile, the body-positivity movement itself certainly isn't perfect. Model Kate Willcox, creator and author of Healthy Is the New Skinny, makes the case that women who fall somewhere between a size 0 and a size 14 still aren't being represented in the media, as we previously reported. "So many fashion brands are now expanding to include plus sizes, but they still aren't changing the models they use for their 'straight-sized' or 'sample-sized' clothing," Willcox told Shape. (Related: The First Plus-Size Supermodel Talks About the Evolution of the Body-Positive Movement)
The body-positivity movement still has a long way to go in the fight against body-shaming and making people of all shapes and sizes feel included, fairly represented, and-above all-beautiful. The good news: These conversations are happening on an international level, which means we're one step closer to living in a body-pos world. (Related: How Body-Shaming Someone Else Finally Taught Me to Stop Judging Women's Bodies)