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Stop body shaming.

This week Tampa Bay Lightning ice hockey forward, Pat Maroon, was body shamed by the presenter Jack Edwards whilst on the ice. Jack Edwards made persistent jibes about Pat's weight and eating habits. It's an uncomfortable listen if you haven't already heard it.

Admittedly, I know very little about ice hockey. So I am not going to embarrass myself with any quickly Googled ice hockey sound bites or terminology.

But this is a topic I am incredibly passionate about. The misunderstanding and dangers of body shaming is infuriating.

Body shaming has always confused me. As someone who was bullied as a child, I am well aware of the damage words and throwaway comments can have on someone's mental health. Negative comments and criticisms will never have a positive impact.

As a society we're taught that having a thin body is the result of hard work and willpower. When in reality, this is utter nonsense. From genetics, socioeconomic background and food access, so many factors influence the size of someone's body. But this ingrained societal belief of slimness superiority gives those in smaller bodies bizarre permission to condemn those in larger bodies. It is mind-blowing.

Do those that fat shame believe it's coming from a place of kindness? Perhaps to "motivate" change? Or do they simply like to be mean to others? Who knows.

A paper in the Canadian Medical Association Journal explored the dangers of fat shaming and they found that exposure to weight bias triggers physiological and behavioural changes linked to poor metabolic health and increased weight (Vogel L, 2019).

So when research is showing that shaming causes a form of stress, it will lead to negative health behaviours and that it will have no positive impact, why is it still so widespread?

Celebrities have even started hitting back at body comments from the media. Jonah Hill and Lewis Capaldi are two that have recently made statements asking people to please stop commenting on their bodies.

After calling out the presenters words, Pat Maroon donated $2000 to a mental health charity in the presenters name dedicating it to those struggling with mental health, bullying and body image.

I'm aware that the majority of those who follow my content are likely to be kind and lovely people so this might already resonate, and perhaps feel obvious. But if reading this makes one person stop and question their words or actions... then I will consider my job done.


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