Women Share First Body Shaming Experiences With Viral Hashtag #TheySaid

by Sarah Hosseini
Originally Published: 

Sally Bergesen starts powerful Twitter hashtag #TheySaid to highlight body shaming

Do you remember the first time someone made a negative comment about your body? Maybe it was a parent, family member, or close friend. Perhaps it was a trusted doctor, coach, or significant other. Those hurtful words are unforgettable and as the hashtag #TheySaid painfully reminds us, they can be damaging for many years.

It’s time to stop the cycle. Which is exactly what Sally Bergesen, founder and CEO of Oiselle, an athletic wear company for women, is doing with the hashtag #TheySaid on Twitter.

By sharing her own painful body shaming experience at 12 years old, she’s changing the narrative for young girls and empowering women. Last week she tweeted, “‘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.”

The hashtag quickly gained momentum and hundreds of women shared their own stories of body shaming. They are relatable and heartbreaking. Especially the age.

Reading criticisms about weight, body shape, and even food choices is maddening. The body shaming comments also came from doctors and other health care professionals.

And as a reminder here, body shaming goes both ways. Women are criticized for being “too fat” and “too skinny.”

Athletic women are criticized.

New moms are hit hard too.

Women aren’t the only ones to deal with body shaming either. Men experience it as well.

We have a serious problem here and the numbers are stark reminders that we must stop with damaging diet culture, body shaming, and fatphobia. Thirty million Americans (20 million women and 10 million men) have dealt with an eating disorder at some point in their lives, according to National Eating Disorders Association.

Instead of fixating on the shape of our bodies and the numbers on a scale, how about not assigning a positive or negative emotion to our bodies? What about just honoring what they can do for us? What about honoring the fact that everyone has a unique body?

Which is exactly what Bergesen’s follow up hashtag #SheReplied highlights, the perfect response to body shaming comments. She started with, “What replies can we arm our girls with? I’ll start: ‘Actually, all bodies are different and I’m just right for me.’ #TheySaid”

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