If it seems like body-shaming is a new phenomenon, it's really not.

We hear about it more and more these days in response to mind-numbingly ignorant marketing campaigns, laughably absurd celebrity criticism, and everyday people singled out by mean-spirited strangers.

The extra awareness is a good thing, but the truth is that this kind of weight- and beauty-based bullying has been happening to (mostly) women for as long as anyone cares to remember.


Twitter user Sally Bergesen recently called on women to share their own memories using the hashtag #TheySaid.

She recalled her dad warning her not to eat too much when she was only 12 years old. 12!

Though the comment was likely meant as a playful tease, it left a deep mark on Bergesen. And she's not alone.

An avalanche of responses followed, proving that our body-shaming problem is deep, rampant, and extremely damaging.

Fat or thin, young or old, it seems almost every woman who's ever lived has had to deal with other people's verbal opinions about her body.

As stories poured in, it became clear girls are being told from a frighteningly young age that their bodies aren't good enough.

Women shared horrible things their parents, friends, and siblings said to them when they were 8 years old, or even 5.

5-year-olds can barely make themselves a sandwich, but we expect them to reel in their calories in order to keep a flat tummy.

The stories also served as a powerful reminder that body-shaming can take a lot of different forms.

It's not always meant to hurt feelings. In fact, it's often disguised as concern or helpful advice. But its impact is almost always the same.

The stories women shared were enraging and heartbreaking.

As hard as the comments are to read, it's incredibly important we do so.

It sometimes feels like we've come a long way as a society in terms of accepting people of various body types as they are — and in a lot of ways, we have.

But you can't read through the thousands of responses to #TheySaid without realizing this remains a huge problem, particularly for women and girls. To move forward as a culture, we need to be brutally honest about how badly we've let many of our girls down, face the problem head on, and make a change.

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As you sit down to eat your breakfast in the morning or grab an afternoon snack, take a minute to consider your food, how it was made, and how it got to your plate.

The fruit on your plate were grown and picked on farms, then processed, packaged and sent to the grocery store where you bought them.

Sounds simple, right?

The truth is, that process is anything but simple and at every step in the journey to your plate, harm can be caused to the people who grow it, the communities that need it, and the planet we all call home.

For example, thousands of kids live in food deserts and areas where access to affordable and nutritious food is limited. Around the world, one in three children suffer from some form of malnutrition, and yet, up to 40% of food in the United States is never eaten.

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This week, viral photos from the first day of school in various Georgia counties showed students crowded together with few masks in sight. Schools in the same area had to shut down entire classrooms due to positive tests after the first day back, quarantining students and teachers for two weeks.

In these counties, students are "encouraged" to wear a mask at school, but they are not required. Mask-wearing is referred to as a "personal choice."

This week, a private Christian college in a town near where I live announced that is planning to resume in-person classes this fall. The school has decided that students will not be required to wear masks, despite the fact that the town itself has a mask mandate for all public spaces. "No riots. No masks. In person. This fall," the college wrote in a Facebook post advertising the school last month.

The supposed justification for not requiring students to wear masks is that it's a "personal choice," and that students have the freedom to choose whether to wear one or not.

That's a neat story. Except it is totally hypocritical coming from schools and school districts that have no problem placing limits on personal choice and freedom by mandating stringent dress codes for students.

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Photo from Dole
True

As you sit down to eat your breakfast in the morning or grab an afternoon snack, take a minute to consider your food, how it was made, and how it got to your plate.

The fruit on your plate were grown and picked on farms, then processed, packaged and sent to the grocery store where you bought them.

Sounds simple, right?

The truth is, that process is anything but simple and at every step in the journey to your plate, harm can be caused to the people who grow it, the communities that need it, and the planet we all call home.

For example, thousands of kids live in food deserts and areas where access to affordable and nutritious food is limited. Around the world, one in three children suffer from some form of malnutrition, and yet, up to 40% of food in the United States is never eaten.

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I saw this poster today and I was going to just let it go, but then I kept feeling tugged to say something.

Melanie Cholish/Facebook

While this poster is great to bring attention to the issue of child trafficking, it is a "shocking" picture of a young girl tied up. It has that dark gritty feeling. I picture her in a basement tied to a dripping pipe.

While that sounds awful, it's important to know that trafficking children in the US is not all of that. I can't say it never is—I don't know. What I do know is most young trafficked children aren't sitting in a basement tied up. They have families, and someone—usually in their family—is trafficking them.

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via The Hubble Telescope

Over the past few years, there has been a growing movement to fight back against some of the everyday racism that exists in America.

The Washington Redskins of the NFL have temporarily changed their name to the Washington Football Team until a more suitable, and less racist, name is determined.

The Dixie Chicks, a country band from Texas has decided to change their name to The Chicks to avoid any connotation with slavery, as has Lady Antebellum who now just go by Lady A.

(Although they stole the name form a Black woman who has been using it for over 20 years.)

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