Ashley Graham’s New Instagram Video Shows She Loves Her ‘Body-Ody-Ody-Ody’

The model shows us how a diva takes care of business

The game is fierceness. Ashley Graham is here to PLAY, do you hear me? On Saturday, the supermodel and vlogger who is NOT HERE FOR YOUR MOM SHAMING took to Instagram to publish a new video of her in only gold jewelry, black underwear, and those amazing cheekbones.

Posing for the gods, Yahoo reports Graham set the mood with Kelly Rowland’s song “Crazy” playing in the background. Graham took the chance to celebrate her form in a proclamation of self-love and body positivity.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CKH3gL1lenu/

“I love me, not every day, but most!” she captioned the video, which revealed her torso cloned into three variations of herself with various filters. “Anyways … Body-ody-ody-ody-ody-ody-ody-ody-ody,” she said, in a shout-out to Megan Thee Stallion’s latest mega-hit, “Body.”

Graham is beloved by celebs and regular folks alike, mostly because she keeps it real. Like, real real. While also being incredibly beautiful, glamorous, and confident all at the same time.

Graham knows how to work her angles. In December, she posed in a faux fur jacket, with only a pair of pink Juicy underneath. “I keep it juicy, juicy I eat that lunch,” Graham captioned the photo, in reference to a Doja Cat song.

Back in October, Graham hopped out of the shower and snapped a nude selfie.

“Nakie big girl,” she captioned the picture, in which she posed with her arms around her chest.

Also in October, Miss Ashley served us all glamour with a capital G when she posed in underwear and boots in front of her closet.

“Looks like the spaghetti went to my butt,” she captioned the snap.

Graham divided the internet in February 2020, when she took a picture of her changing her baby’s diaper in the pen aisle at Staples. Some thought it was gross that she changed a poopy diaper in public. Other’s praised her for showing what mama life is really like.

Graham is the body positivity best friend in all of our heads. Back in 2018, when a commenter complimented her as a “real woman,” Graham was swift to answer that saying who is and is not a “real woman” pits women against each other.

“We are all real women,” she wrote on Instagram at the time. “I can’t stand it when I read comments that say, ‘Finally, a real woman.’ No matter your size/shape/amount of cellulite — we are in this together.”

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Girls Aren’t The Only Ones Who Worry About Their Body Image

Diet culture, disordered eating, excessive exercise, beauty, ideal body types, and socially accepted physical features are viewed through lenses that often have women as the focus. Not only does society pressure girls and women to look a certain way, but many women are working hard to undo the harmful messages they have internalized for years. Feeling good about your body doesn’t come by just saying all body shapes are beautiful; there are layers that need to be pulled away before real peace can come. And parents like myself are working to block the messages before our daughters see them. We reinforce body positivity and by example show them the physical and mental health benefits of food and exercise. But we can’t forget to focus on and worry about our sons and masculine-presenting children too.

My son, my sweet sensitive boy, isn’t afraid to cry or talk about his emotions. He’s observant and a helper. He’s also painfully insecure about his looks. The things he has said about himself break my heart, and the last thing he wants is for anyone to notice anything about his physical features. He is currently in a phase where he doesn’t want to get his hair cut because he doesn’t want anyone to say anything to him about it. He doesn’t want or like any attention that has to do with his body.

Even though I talk to him about his body in the same ways I do with his sisters, I need to do it more often and with more intention. We talk about how the food we eat helps us stay strong and have energy for things we need and love to do. We talk about moving our bodies because it’s fun and makes our brains feel good. We talk about clothes as tools that keep us warm and help express ourselves; we work to find ones that work for us and don’t change our bodies so that they work in any specific size or style. And when it comes to muscles, or lack thereof, we talk about how it’s more important to be kind, grateful, and educated — not in terms of school, but in their wide view of the world and other people. Biceps are fun, but critical thinkers are super fun.

I worry about my son’s positive body image as much as my daughters’. One in three people who struggle with an eating disorder are male, and they are just as likely to binge, purge, or fast as women. Men and boys aren’t nearly as confident with their bodies as we would like to believe either. One study reported that 90% of the male participants expressed dissatisfaction with their bodies and another showed that 25% of “normal” weight males thought they were underweight and 90% of teens exercised to bulk up. Men, boys, and masculine presenting people are just as vulnerable to media images and sexual objectification as women. Yet men and boys are less likely to talk about body image and their insecurities because it is seen as a “female” problem, and our society has done a good job at convincing men and boys that the last thing they want to be is a girl, or worse: gay.

If your son is gay or bisexual, he has a higher risk of developing an eating disorder than a heterosexual male. Or perhaps your son may be nonbinary or a trans girl, who will be under even more scrutiny to look a certain way based on the constructs of gender and gender expression. Maybe you have a kid like I was, one who was assigned female at birth but who wants to look male, or whatever the going version of maleness is. I didn’t care about being thin or having specific measurements. I wanted muscles. I wanted my breasts to disappear. I wanted to appear more masculine according to what I was shown on TV. Yet I knew wanting those things were also “wrong” according to my female gender. I was supposed to desire boobs and an hourglass figure like the other girls were conditioned to believe. And I was supposed to look good for the benefit of a boy.

I’m a nonbinary transgender person and have struggled with my body and feeling comfortable in my skin for a long time. I have socially and physically transitioned parts of myself to make my body a home I want to live in, but I may always be in some stage of mental or physical transition. I am very aware of balancing what I want for myself versus being in a constant state of comparison. To not be seen as female means I need to be seen as male and that comes with a narrow standard of acceptance. Yet, there is toxicity in that too, and I’m trying to find balance.

I love to exercise and challenge my body. I also love the science of being able to tinker with movement and food to get results I want in my body and in my workouts. I recognize the slippery slope in taking a passion to an obsession and am always evaluating my motivation. Looking up workout videos and researching ways to get the most out of my body in healthy ways means looking at men who have muscles on top of muscles, narrow hips, and fans who follow them just to drool over them. It means revisiting images I crave for myself at times, but knowing what I crave more is a sense of inner peace. I know I don’t need to look a certain way to feel good about my body, but that doesn’t mean I’m not receiving mixed messages.

A male friend recently mentioned that his wife got upset when he said Gal Gadot was hot, but that he wasn’t allowed to get upset when she said Chris Hemsworth is hot. He recognizes that hotness comes in many packages, but he was frustrated by the double standard and hated that he couldn’t point out that her comments hit on the same insecurities for him as his did for her. If it’s never okay to comment on a woman’s looks, should the same be true for a man’s? Or for a nonbinary person? We all have bodies, and for us to feel at home in our own skin, we need to remove gender from the equation when it comes to talking about self-love and body confidence. Women don’t hold the exclusive rights to body insecurity.

I’m not saying that sexism, misogyny, and arrogance aren’t gross contributing factors when it comes to how women see themselves and how they feel about their bodies. Cisgender men and our patriarchal society have a lot of wrongs to make right. However, we can’t demand our boys grow to be better men if we don’t address issues like body positivity — for themselves and others — in the same way we do for girls and those assigned female at birth.

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Ask Scary Mommy: My Husband Suggested I Get Liposuction

Ask Scary Mommy is Scary Mommy’s advice column, where our team of “experts” answers all the questions you have about life, love, body image, friends, parenting, and anything else that’s confusing you.

This week: What do you do when your spouse suggests plastic surgery for a “problem area” that isn’t a problem? Have your own question? Email advice@scarymommy.com 

Hi Scary Mommy,

I’m eight months postpartum with my third baby. I have had two C-sections and we are done having babies now. Recently, my husband brought up to me that I should now consider getting a “mommy makeover” to get rid of my post C-section FUPA. I was taken aback and offended by this suggestion because I’ve never mentioned wanting plastic surgery to “fix” myself. He said he just assumed I wanted my pre-baby body back, and that he was willing to help me get it. I asked him if HE wanted me to pursue the surgery and he said “well, yeah” but he also said that it’s up to me and that he will be fine with it either way. You can imagine what this has done to my self-esteem. I was just under the impression that a FUPA is normal and fine, and I wasn’t hung up on it. Until now. What do I say to him? How do I get back to loving my body after this low blow? I feel so upset and hurt.

 

Wait.

What?

And by “what,” I mean what the ever-loving fuck?

Where do men store this endless well of audacity? I swear to God.

Are we entertaining the opinion of the guy who thinks it’s even remotely close to acceptable to tell his wife and the mother of his three children that she should have part of her tummy lobbed off? UNPROMPTED.

No. No, we are not.

You literally never mentioned this to him ever, and he thought this conversation was going to go well? Has your husband ever met a woman?

Poor thing. Did you suggest that he have his head surgically removed from his ass? Because that’s where he’s clearly shoved it.

You are one hundred zillion percent correct in your impression that having a FUPA is normal and fine. Any form that your body naturally takes after giving life to three human beings is not only “normal and fine,” but beautiful and miraculous. Not only did you create people in your body, you had two surgical births. That’s some badass womanhood. Your body is a walking testament to the power of a woman.

If this surgical makeover was your idea, I’d be in your corner. You don’t need a mommy makeover, and your body is amazing as-is. But if you had talked it over with a qualified board-certified plastic surgeon decided on your own you wanted to move forward; I’d say go for it. You’re already perfect, but I totally support your choice do what makes you happiest with YOUR body.

But your husband is a dude. What the hell does he know about how it feels to live in a post-baby body?

I’m like, really pissed that your husband’s boneheaded decision to bring this up has affected how you see your body. The petty side of me wants you to make a list of all the ways he could surgically alter his own body for your viewing pleasure, starting at the top and working your way down to the toes. Doctors are doing some amazing enhancements on pretty much every single body part these days.

But the adult side of me says that he deserves to face the music for his outrageously insensitive and stupid decision. Tell him clearly that his suggestion was immature and hurtful. You had no problem with your body before he made you feel self-conscious. You’re going to be loving it again, exactly like it is. If he doesn’t like your FUPA or any other piece of you, that’s something he needs to work out on his own. You carried children so he could be a father, and if he thought that your body would look exactly the same after carrying three babies and having two C-sections, well, he’s an idiot, and that’s not your problem.

Then you rock that FUPA without a single fuck, and let him feel stupid for a while. I bet he’s a decent enough guy, but he screwed this one up, and he needs to marinate in that for a while.

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When Weight Loss Isn’t Healthy

Trigger warning: Eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder

Compliments. I’ve never been very good about hearing or receiving compliments. And while I don’t know why — the cause of my discomfort is, more likely than not, an issue for my therapist (or the basis for another article) — a recent compliment really threw me for a loop. Four words shook me to my core. Why? Because they were inaccurate and misleading. They simply weren’t true.  

So what was the compliment? What were the words which altered the course of my day and, in many ways, my life? A friend, whom I hadn’t seen in months, said “Wow! You look great.” Yes, that’s it. Game. Set. Match. Checkmate.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: How basic. How simplistic and innocuous. How pointedly harmless and innocent. But knowing this individual (really knowing them), I knew what they meant. Physically, I looked good. Since March, I’ve lost weight, and being complimented on my appearance bothered me — a lot — because I’m not healthy.

I’m not well.

You see, my weight loss has been fueled by anger, depression, and grief. My mother died in June, in a sudden and traumatic way. In July, I told my husband I was gay. And, like millions of others, the pandemic has taken a mental toll. I’ve been feeling hopeless and helpless, lost and trapped. But my habits have also changed. Old ways of thinking have returned, and old patterns of eating — or not eating — have (re)appeared. 

A long-dormant eating disorder has returned.

I start my day with a cup of iced coffee. Black. I guzzle 20 ounces of water to curb my appetite. To keep the pangs of hunger at bay. I count the hours between meals just as I count calories. Intermittent fasting, it’s called. I don’t eat during certain times of the day. I opt for low or no fat foods, and I measure everything I consume. Ten pretzels. Five strawberries. Three olives. A half cup of yogurt or cottage cheese. And if I eat breakfast, I don’t allow myself the privilege of lunch. I never finish dinner. I also work out constantly. Obsessively.

It’s easy for me to log 50-plus miles a week.

And while I say it’s for my mental health (and, in a sense, it is), it’s also because I’m obsessed with my weight. I struggle with the size of my stomach and backside. I hate the thickness of my thighs. And being thin dictates my life. 

I’ve wasted years pursuing “perfection.”

Of course, there is a name for my condition. Body dysmorphic disorder, or BDD, is a mental health disorder characterized by obsessive, self-deprecating thoughts particularly over or about one’s physical appearance.

“Body dysmorphic disorder is a body image, mental health disorder in which someone has persistent negative thoughts about his or her flaws and/or imperfections, whether they are real or perceived, in a way that interferes with their daily lives,” Kathryn Lee — a therapist in New York City — tells Scary Mommy. And that is the case with me.

My day is structured around workouts and food. I’ve missed out on family moments because I’ve been too busy hitting the pavement or lifting weights. Before the pandemic, I would avoid cocktail hours and happy hours. Events which focused around food. And I sleep a lot because I lack the energy to do anything further. I lack the energy to exist. But that’s not all. I read nutrition labels obsessively. I run through pain. Because my thinking isn’t just disordered and distorted, it’s addictive. I’m addicted to feeling. To “power.” To the pursuit of perfection and control.

I’m not alone. Lee tells Scary Mommy addictive behaviors are common amongst those with disordered eating. “You can be addicted to exercise, eating, and/or not eating,” Lee explains. “And since addictions alter pleasure pathways in the brain, such as the levels of serotonin and dopamine, things like exercise, eating, and/or not eating, can fool our bodies to believe that these activities are good for us. However, as with drugs, the addiction occurs when these activities become abused. If an individual is so fixated his or habits that it interferes with his or her daily functioning, a problem may be developing.”

So, what can you do? What should you do? Well, according to Lee, if these issues persist, you can and should get help: “Individuals should reach out to friends, family, and/or a mental health professional to keep them accountable.” And she’s right. Lee’s advice is the advice I need to take because, from the outside looking in, you wouldn’t know I was sick. Hell, no one knows it … not my husband, my best friend, my girlfriends, or my psychologist. I’ve kept my struggles a secret — at least until now. Until earlier this week. But it’s time I get my shit together. I deserve happiness and health.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder and/or disordered behaviors, text or call the National Eating Disorder Association’s helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

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I Learned What True Self-Care Looks Like — And It’s Not Weight Loss

Last year, I started a journey to take better care of myself.

A few months had passed after my second baby was born, and I was feeling really run down. I found an online exercise subscription which included a virtual catalogue of hundreds of workout videos promising results of a new, strong, happy, healthy you! Excited for a change, I thought this would be the perfect resource to help prioritize postpartum self-care.

I believed I needed to lose so many pounds to be healthy and that this physical change would help me find my spark. My plan was to wake up before my boys and do one of the short but intense exercise videos. I hoped that with this new routine, my life would start becoming more manageable.

This plan seemed reasonable to me, and I was being extra cautious because years before in college, I had struggled with eating disorder behaviors.

I ate healthy — too “healthy.” I was constantly dieting, restricting. and skipping meals when I could. Typically spending hours at the gym daily, I would become overwhelmed if my exercise or my diet didn’t match my high expectations.

I thought this was being healthy until my life started collapsing. I was a constant mess of anxiety. Feeling intensely hungry or deprived, I would binge uncontrollably when I was around food. This would lead to feelings of desperation and shame.

Courtesy of Kamie Maddocks

Fluctuating between feeling numb and then overcome with emotion, I couldn’t make simple decisions. One moment I would feel empty and blank, and the next I would be screaming at the people who mattered most to me. I was out of control. So, I started going to counseling.

During counseling for disordered eating (round one), I learned that people do not need to diet. This idea was so shocking and freeing for me that it radically changed my life. No more counting calories, skipping meals, or “replacement” meals of only a smoothie.

Instead, I could listen to my body and eat when I was hungry and stop when I was full.

I learned this primarily from a book called Intuitive Eating by Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole which presents research upon research about why dieting is harmful. While this change was gradual and was uncomfortable at times, I was able to free myself of the dangerous cycle of dieting, bingeing and overall feeling terrible.

While my longing to be smaller didn’t disappear, it did get put in check. My desire to be thin was no longer the most important thing in my life. After counseling, I could embrace my life again.

As the years passed, I married my amazing husband, worked a challenging job as a nurse, and then became a mom to two unique little boys. My experience of motherhood, while wonderful, has also been difficult and stressful.

After my second baby, I was feeling increasingly low and wanted to feel better. I was determined to figure out what healthy looked like in this new phase of life. The online exercise subscription seemed like a great starting place. The virtual coaches all encourage that following a program consistently will help you feel better and get “results.”

Months went by and I did not get results. I did not lose weight, and I did not feel better.

Exercising in the morning before the boys were awake was difficult. When I did find the time and energy, the videos would make me feel worse. I felt judged and angry at all those skinny trainers. I did not feel happy or healthy. I felt tired, overwhelmed, and like a complete failure.

My attempt at self-care had backfired. I needed real help.

So, counseling for disordered eating (round two) started up. While I was no longer doing eating disorder behaviors (excessive exercise, restricting, or binging), I was surprised to learn I was still believing eating disorder lies. Such as “Everything will be better when you lose weight.” “If you were just smaller, you would feel so much better.” “If you just try hard enough, you can be perfect.” And this last one had crept into each aspect of my life.

Not only did I need to be the perfect size, but be the perfect mom, wife, friend, and daughter. And if I wasn’t perfect, I must be a failure. Looking back now, it’s obvious why I was miserable. I was being suffocated by the pressure I had placed upon myself.

Author, social worker, and shame researcher, Brene Brown says in her book Daring Greatly, “If we want children who love and accept who they are, our job is to love and accept who we are.” Reading this helped me realize something needed to change — and it was not my weight.

So now, I am in the process of loving and accepting myself. I continue to do the hard work of seeing my counselor and learning about embodiment, mindfulness, and body image so I can confront the lies that this culture and my eating disorder have taught me.

I do not need to be skinny to enjoy my life. I do not need to be perfect to love and accept myself. Self-care is not weight loss. In fact, trying to lose weight was harmful to my health and wellbeing.

I now prioritize caring for my body; not to make it look a certain way, but because I respect it. I have started taking time to do the things I enjoy like hiking, yoga, and kickboxing. My postpartum body is so strong and amazing. I am able to play on the floor with my boys and to climb beautiful mountains. All this is now how I practice true self-care.

Yesterday, I cancelled my online subscription.

My year-long journey of self-care did not go as I’d planned. I did not lose weight. I did, however, discover a beautiful, capable body.

A year later and I am a new, strong, happy, healthy, me.

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I Don’t Want My Daughter To Be Like Me

I have horrible body image issues. It started in gym class when I was 12 — I was more developed than almost everyone in my class and became the butt of cruel jokes. One in particular put me into a downward spiral that I have never recovered from. My turn at kickball and a boy yelled, “Don’t make her run or she’ll get two black eyes.” Everyone laughed and my spirit died that day.

I have had every form of eating disorder you can imagine. Vomiting? Check. Restrictive eating? Yep. Excessive exercise? Uh-huh. Every diet pill or miracle drug? Absolutely. They have all given results, albeit temporary, but nothing has made it better. Nothing has taken away the pain that I have endured for nearly 30 years.

My eating and body issues have caused strain on every relationship I’ve ever had. No one could ever understand it or they didn’t want to deal with it. It’s not normal. Everyone has their own baggage, they don’t need to carry mine. My husband can’t fix me. Neither can my mother. Even counseling hasn’t given me a breakthrough. My body issues are still there every single day.

Things became extremely complicated when I gave birth to my daughter five years ago. She is my only girl, after three boys. I suddenly had a huge responsibility. I was taxed with raising a strong, independent, self-loving woman. Please don’t misunderstand, I was raised to be strong and independent and hard working. I am all of those things. I just have never mastered that confidence part. I’m wired to believe something else. That’s no one’s fault.

Still, I can’t let my daughter turn out like me. But how do I hide it? It consumes me. Every day I look in the mirror and hate what I see. My hair, my face, my body, the whole thing. But when I look at her, all I see is beauty.

She has the darkest, roundest, biggest brown eyes you’ve ever seen. Her cheeks are plump like apples and her lips are a perfect rosey pink. I keep her hair in a short bob with giant bows and people often remark at how darling she is. My heart could burst. And she is darling. She is perfect. She is confident. And with all that is in me, I want to make sure she stays that way.

So what do I do? How do I turn it off? That’s my biggest challenge. I have no idea. But I have to. I have to learn to keep it quiet. Particularly in front of her.

She’s my biggest challenge. I want her to respect her body and the changes that will happen one day. I want her to disregard the teasing and the mean kids in class. I want her to walk away with her head held high and know that she is unique and she is designed exactly as was intended. And hopefully, one day, through her confidence, she’ll teach me to do the same.

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My Body Isn’t An Ornament — It’s An Instrument

Stretch marks, loose skin, fat, saggy breasts. That may be all you see. But I see so much more.

My body has grown and birthed my three precious children, my body has cared for them every single day of their lives, my body has endured the devastating grief of child loss, my body has experienced immense physical trauma. My body has overcome.

When I look at my body, I see the love of a mother, incredible strength and sheer determination.

My Body Isn't An Ornament — It's An Instrument
Courtesy of Zia Robinson

Before I had my first child, I struggled with body dysmorphia and disordered eating that started when I was a young teenager.

I still remember the overwhelming feeling of love and pride the day my son Mikey was born. As I laid my tired eyes on his sweet face, I realized that not only was my child just born, but I was too.

He was now my everything, my purpose, the love of my life … and MY body brought him earthside.

The way I saw myself completely changed. I realized that my body isn’t an ornament, it is an instrument. That might sound like a silly realization but after being conditioned by society for so long, I truly did not know my body was that powerful.

My body did everything it was designed to do to bring my child into this world. My body that I had tried to shrink and punish for years to conform to society’s standard of beauty was made for so much more than I could have ever fathomed. My body now told the story of the best thing that ever happened to me.

My Body Isn't An Ornament — It's An Instrument
Courtesy of Zia Robinson

My kids are now 3 and 1. When we’re at home I’m usually in my underwear. There’s nothing for me to be ashamed of. I’m happy to say that they have never heard me say a single negative word about my body or anyone else’s.

It’s so important to me that my kids see me accept and love myself exactly as I am, because in doing so, I give them the permission to do the same for themselves.

And the beautiful reality is; my kids don’t care about my rolls, stretchmarks and loose skin. They care about whether I’m jumping in the water with them at the beach, cuddling them before they fall asleep, remembering their favorite juice at the grocery store and letting them mix the pancake batter. They just want to be with me.

My body nurtures them, nourishes them, bathes them, wipes their tears and snot, lifts them into the air like superheroes, and shows them all the love I have for them in my heart and soul.

My body is their home. It’s my home.

 

We are Scary Mommies, millions of unique women, united by motherhood. We are scary, and we are proud. But Scary Mommies are more than “just” mothers; we are partners (and ex-partners), daughters, sisters, friends… and we need a space to talk about things other than the kids. So check out our Scary Mommy It’s Personal Facebook page. And if your kids are out of diapers and daycare, our Scary Mommy Tweens & Teens Facebook page is here to help parents survive the tween and teen years (aka, the scariest of them all).

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When You Say Rude Sh*t About Celebrities, You Hurt Regular People

When you say rude shit about celebrities, you hurt regular people in your actual life.

“God-willing, COVID will kill them both. Chris Christie is a fat ass and the president is morbidly obese, too.”

“In last night’s debate, Sleepy Joe [Biden] proved once again that he’s losing his mind. Mush mouth.”

“I’m glad [Chrissy Teigen’s] baby died because she’s a pedophile who didn’t deserve him. I feel bad for the ones who lived.”

“Oh my god. So that’s why [Billie Eilish] always wears those baggy clothes! To cover her saggy tits!”

“[Chrissy Metz] has a new boyfriend? He’s either with her for the money or has a fat fetish. There is no way he actually loves her.”

What. The. Actual. Fuck.

What is wrong with some of you?

I took every single one of these comments from various social media posts from the last few weeks. (I didn’t screenshot to protect the not-so-innocent. You’re welcome, perpetrators.)

Whether we are discussing huge national news stories like Trump’s COVID diagnosis or small pop culture blurbs like Billie Eilish’s tank top, the internet has been ablaze with a billion opinions, as it always is.

Maybe 2020 has just depleted my patience for hateful, hideous bullshit. I am not sure why I can’t scroll by without getting all prickly and angry, but I can’t anymore. I have lost my ability to keep my mouth shut when I see people choosing to be the absolute worst.

Did none of you people attend an elementary school guidance class? Didn’t an earnest, soft-spoken woman in a sensible sweater ever sit in a chair while you sat on a carpet square on the floor and explain that when you have a disagreement you should “attack the problem, not the person?”

I understand that the internet feels like a safe place to be an asshole without actually directly insulting the public figure you’re choosing to denigrate that day, but it’s really, really not.

Because maybe you’re not going to hurt Chris Christie or Donald Trump when you rip them to shreds for being fat.

But you know who you might hurt?

Me. Or fat people like me.

I have no love for our President or his associates, but the size of their bodies is not what makes them despicable. There are plenty of legitimate things about Trump’s choices that make him a fair target for scrutiny and distaste. His weight isn’t one of them.

When you say cruel things about prominent fat people you don’t like and assert that they deserve to die, try to remember that the rest of us fat people can see you. God forbid the fat people you know get this virus — your words will be bouncing around in our brains, too, knowing that you won’t think it’s a tragedy if it kills us. That sucks.

I am also getting really mother effing tired of people talking about the way Joe Biden speaks. At this point, everyone knows that his manner of speaking is the result of overcoming a stutter. A speech fluency disorder. You’re literally choosing to degrade a person for overcoming.

You know who else speaks slowly because he’s working to overcome a speech disorder?

My son. He might always speak at a slow pace with an unusual tone. If he goes on to run for President, would you call him names and discredit him, ignoring the lifetime of hard work he has put in to make that possible?

Because moms like me see you making fun of Joe Biden when his words run together a bit, or when he pauses to choose a different word. We see you laughing, mocking him, calling his mind into question simply on the basis of his manner of speaking.

Then we look at our hard-working babies who speak a little differently than most people, and we know that you’d think and say the exact same things about them. And it hurts real people.

The older adults in your life see you, too — and in case you were wondering, ageism isn’t a good look.

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We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we’ve never felt before. We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn’t enough. . . We never decide on our babies’ names until the last possible moment after they’re born, just before we leave the hospital.  But we, for some reason, had started to call this little guy in my belly Jack.  So he will always be Jack to us.  Jack worked so hard to be a part of our little family, and he will be, forever. . . To our Jack – I’m so sorry that the first few moments of your life were met with so many complications, that we couldn’t give you the home you needed to survive.  We will always love you. . . Thank you to everyone who has been sending us positive energy, thoughts and prayers.  We feel all of your love and truly appreciate you. . . We are so grateful for the life we have, for our wonderful babies Luna and Miles, for all the amazing things we’ve been able to experience.  But everyday can’t be full of sunshine.  On this darkest of days, we will grieve, we will cry our eyes out. But we will hug and love each other harder and get through it.

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It’s not just politicians.

When you say Chrissy Teigen and John Legend deserved to lose their baby because you’ve bought into some kind of coo-coo bananas conspiracy theory, other parents of lost children can see you reveling in their deepest pain.

When you say rude things about Billie Eilish’s body…well, first of all, you look like a damn creep. She’s been 18 for like 15 minutes. Can you let her walk through the door of adulthood before you start deciding that her body isn’t good enough? But secondly, all you are really doing is making a young woman in your life look at her totally acceptable, typical, beautiful body and wonder if you’re judging her, too.

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say it twice

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When you call Chrissy Metz’s relationship into question because of her dress size, you hurt fat people like me whose spouses are thin.

I could go on all day. All fucking day. People do this constantly. There is an unending supply of nasty comments online, and nobody is safe.

When you say rude, ugly shit about celebrities, you almost certainly won’t hurt the celebrity.

(Although, it should be noted that celebrites are REAL PEOPLE, so your desire to be unrelentingly cruel to them is bizarre and says a shit-ton about your character or lack thereof…)

I highly doubt Donald Trump or Chrissy Teigen or Billie Eilish or anyone else of note is checking Facebook to see what Jenn from Cincinnati or Josh from Kansas City thinks about their bodies or their lives.

But all the regular people you know are looking. Your words matter, and when you choose to be the literal worst, you hurt people. That’s a fact. There’s no reason to argue about it or defend your “right” to be gross.

Sure, you CAN do it, but why the fuck would you want to? That’s the free speech wagon you want to hitch your horse to? Don’t you want to be better and hurt fewer people?

Saying less rude, obnoxious shit out loud or online is one really simple place to start.

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How The Pandemic Is Increasing The Risk Of Adolescent Eating Disorders

Since March, my children have gone through a number of different emotional states. There was excitement that school was closed, and then there was boredom once they discovered what that actually looked like. Then they went through these horrible spells of loneliness, and finally, they all seem to have kind of accepted their new normal. Or at least, I think they have.

It’s difficult to tell exactly how 2020 will impact my kids long term. It has been a year unlike any other, and every time I think it’s getting better, some other bonkers thing comes rolling along. But one thing I know for sure — all of this, the schools closed, the pandemic, racial and political tensions — have caused my 13-year-old son to eat more. Like a lot more. Like, it feels like he eats 800 meals a day, and it’s destroying our food budget, and has me worried about how much of this is hunger, and how much of it is just him trying to gain control of what feels like an out of control life.

As it turns out, I am not the only parent with this concern. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published a study earlier this year showing the impacts of COVID-19 on people’s mental and behavioral health. Their study was focused on young children, but they saw a pattern among adolescents. Additional research showed that teenagers reported an increase in post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety, all associated with eating disorders.

Board-certified adolescent medicine specialist Hina J. Talib, M.D., told The Science Times that teenagers are experiencing a flare of previously known mental health issues, but also new ones. She described the phenomenon as the second-wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and said that the reasons include loneliness and isolation as a result of quarantine measures. Talib added that this back-to-school season created anticipatory anxiety among teenagers and families, which could lead to eating disorders, and frankly, parents should be on the lookout for signs.

With the case of my son, I’ve noticed that he’s eating a lot. Way more than he did pre-pandemic. It could be a simple growth spurt, or it could be his mental health, and figuring that out can be difficult. If your child is suddenly, eating way more, or way less than they used to during the pandemic, there are a few things to look out for.

Anna M. Lutz, MPH, RD, LDN, says that eating disorders are often triggered in an attempt to gain control of a situation. And right now everything seems out of control. According to Lutz, some behaviors to keep an eye on are eating in secret, eating separately from the rest of the family, becoming fixated on exercise and refusing to stop even after being injured, leaving large amounts of food uneaten, self-isolating, and dramatic weight loss or gain.

Dr. Talib mentioned that parents should take notice if their teens say things like, “I am so fat,” “If I gain weight, I will be disgusting,” or “My stomach is huge.” All of those statements should be red flags to parents, and that parents should talk to the child first, explaining that there have been noticing behavioral changes and it’s concerning.

I know, chatting with a teenager about really anything can be dangerous territory; there are times that I’m nervous to tell my son “good morning.” But the goal here is to be a support to your children. It’s important to listen, and observe, so that you can offer parental help, along with professional help if needed. One of the best things any parent can do when it comes to the mental health of their children is to find a way to help early, particularly now.

Most therapists are still meeting with clients online, and most insurance agencies are supportive of online meetings.  And I don’t want to state the obvious, but each month of 2020 something crazy has happened. It’s been difficult to predict, and it’s hard to know what’s going to happen next. Helping your teen find a way to handle that uncertainty in a healthy way might be one of the most important things you can do right now.

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GTFO With Your Fat-Shaming Bullsh*t

I’ll be 36 years old next month, and I am done taking shit. Effective immediately, I am no longer making time for people who are committed to fat-shaming. Do you default to fat jokes when you want to playfully rib your friends? You’re not for me. Maybe you make disparaging remarks about fat people in general, but never to any specific person’s face. You’re out.

Do you act like being fat would be a fate worse than death, even though a fat person is sitting right near you? You are the weakest link. Goodbye! (I know you just read that in Anne Robinson’s British accent…)

All of these behaviors suck.

For my own peace, I’m instituting a zero tolerance policy for fat-shaming bullshit in my life.

I have cut people off for being ableist pieces of shit about my son’s autism.

I don’t make space or time for people who don’t support my father in his marriage to his husband.

When the police murdered George Floyd, I ended several casual relationships with people who showed their true, racist colors.

If I can draw hard lines about ableism, racism, and homophobia, I can do the same thing for fat-shaming.

By now, I am sure you’ve gathered that I am a plus-size woman. I always have been. I’m not the type of plus-size you can hide with a baggy sweater. I’m fat. The kind nobody puts on a pedestal. I’ve made peace with my body, and I don’t let it hold me back.

I am fat, and that’s just something you need to know moving forward.

Last fall, I was incredibly pregnant with our third child. My husband and I were attending an engagement party for someone he works with. We were standing in the kitchen, sipping on iced tea, attempting to make conversation, when one of my husband’s co-workers struck up a conversation about some food I had made for their last potluck. I thought he was going to say something nice (since, ya know, he brought it up out of nowhere.) Instead he loudly declared that he was going to ban me from sending food to the office because “you’re going to make everyone fat.” He chuckled, and added some kind of joke about how fat he’d be if he lived at our house.

Here’s where some people will try to say he wasn’t fat-shaming, and explain that what he was trying to say is that the food I prepared was so delicious, nobody can control their portions when I bring it in. He was demonstrating his own lack of self-control around yummy foods.

Yeah. No kidding. Got it. I’m fat, not stupid.

What he actually said out loud with his adult mouth was, “You’re going to make everyone fat.” To a fat person. In front of twenty-five other people.

The joke was only “funny” because it reinforced the point that fat is not something anyone should want to be.

Don’t even get me started about how it reduced body size to diet without considering any other factors.

Normally, I would have calmly asked him to reconsider making jokes like that to fat people in the future. But this man is senior to my husband, and we were in a room full of his colleagues, so I bit my tongue.

The whole thing annoyed the shit out of me, but I dismissed it as a one-off. Maybe he was so tickled by his weird attempt at a compliment that he really didn’t see how inappropriate it was. I’m willing to give just about anyone a second chance.

Fast forward to just a couple months ago. My husband—who is not fat and never has been fat—is a little thicker through the midsection than he usually is. COVID has made going to a gym a bad choice, so he hasn’t been as active. The result is that he weighs a little more than he did before.

This same damn clueless-ass co-worker made a “joke” about my husband’s “gut” in front of a crowd during a game of cornhole at a company picnic.

Really, dude? Another unfunny, not clever fat-shaming joke that we all have to uncomfortably laugh off? Get some new material. God.

That’s when I knew he has exhausted all the chances I’m willing to give him.

Not only did he embarrass me, but he made fun of my husband for putting on a few pounds while the gym was closed for a fucking pandemic.

I will never be in the same room as this man socially ever again. I don’t care what the occasion is.

This human has made it abundantly clear that he thinks fat jokes are fair punchlines. I don’t care if he would never come right out and say something intentionally cruel to me. Acting like fat is the worst thing someone can be is enough. If you’re terrified of ever being in a fat body, you make fat jokes at work, or you generally just feel that fatness as a concept is acceptable fodder for your playful insults, it’s hard for me to believe you aren’t judging me for just existing in the body I have.

I have enough shit to worry about. I’m not wasting a minute of my life spending time with someone who dabbles in a little light fat-shaming for fun.

Hard pass.

For a long time, I let myself believe that even someone who said ugly things about fat people in general might actually still respect me.

Maybe if I was pleasant enough, friendly enough, or proved that I was valuable enough.

I told myself that if I was good enough, people might like me even though I’m fat.

Well, I’m older now, wiser, and I realize that being the exception to someone’s shitty rule is not a compliment. I’m not willing to be someone’s token fatty.

If you can’t respect fat people when we aren’t around to hear it, you don’t deserve to have us in your life.

I’m done spending time with people who out themselves as fatphobic. Being nice to my face isn’t enough. If you think I’m inherently unhealthy, unattractive, or “less than,” and I find out about it, I’m not making room for you ever again.

I have no obligation to spend my time with people that make me feel like shit.

It is possible for people of all shapes, sizes, and walks of life to be respectful about other people’s bodies.

Some of our closest friends might as well live in the gym. This couple looks like a walking advertisement for a fitness brand. Looking at them, you might think they are judging people in bodies like mine, and terrified of gaining weight.

But they’re not. They just love being on the move.

I have never heard either of them say anything ugly about anyone’s body. Ever. They have friends of all shapes and sizes. They value my advice, appreciate my strengths, and express my value in their lives. When I’m around them, I never feel judged for living in my body. They’re my people.

I don’t only want to be around fat people or even people who create an echo chamber of fat positivity for me. We don’t have to agree about all the complicated facets and politics of fatness.

But we do have to agree that people of every size are valid and acceptable, and nobody’s body deserves to be a punchline. As soon as you start fat-shaming or make it clear that my body is a joke to you, I’ll do you the favor of removing myself from your orbit. I’ve got one life to live, and no time to waste on people who don’t have the courtesy to speak kindly about bodies like mine — or at least keep their mouths shut.

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