I’ve always believed that everyone has at least one talent, and everyone is beautiful in some way. I’m not embarrassed to share that I believe this about myself, even after enduring my ordeal with online abuse.
Some days I feel better about the way I look, and some days a little less so. After all, I’m human, just like you. But, I’ve come to realize how fortunate I am that I don’t judge my worth based on my looks.
While I experienced fat shaming and ongoing attempts to publicly humiliate me by criticizing every part of my body, I was grateful the cruel online abuse didn’t impact how I actually felt about my looks. I knew I wasn’t any prettier or uglier, because someone was insulting me. I was disappointed that people chose to be witnesses and not upstanders, but my opinion of myself was unchanged.
In the last several years, there have been concerted efforts to help youth, especially girls, embrace positive and diverse body images — developing a love for their own appearance and an appreciation for a full spectrum of shapes, colors, and attributes. At the same time, these efforts encourage empathy, acceptance, and respect.
It’s time for some adults to catch up. It boggles my mind that some people think they can feel better by putting someone else down, shaming of any kind could make a positive difference, or online abuse is ever justified.
Online and off, exposure to fat shaming and degradation based on appearance is alarming and especially dangerous for youth. Judging someone solely based on looks limits one’s world. Focusing on people’s flaws doesn’t bring out anyone else’s beauty.
When we find beauty in everyone, our world is more beautiful.