Letter to the Editor in response to “A Short Statement on Summer Shorts”
In your recently published article entitled “A Short Statement on Summer Shorts”, Nancy Rubenstein’s message is that the only people who have “buff bods, nice legs, and upper arms that neither sag nor sway” and are “tan” have a right to wear shorts, t-shirts and other clothes that expose parts of their bodies. She describes anyone else who dares to wear these clothes as “repulsive”.
Sadly, Ms. Rubenstein’s need to body shame stems from her own feelings of insecurity and her lack of self-worth. She explains that she has sentenced her own self to wearing only “long sleeves even when it’s hot outdoors” because she has “acknowledged [her] appearance.” She even carries a photo taken of herself “several sizes ago” in a dress that no longer fits to serve as a tortuous visual of a time when she felt worthy of wearing what she wanted.
Ms Rubenstein’s extreme body shaming statements highlight the underlying message that plagues our culture: That we are not enough until we attain an impossible level of physical perfection that we only see in media doctored by photoshop. Women…and men…are spending billions of dollars a year on beauty products, diets, workouts and plastic surgery, mistakenly feeling that they will only be enough when they reach a certain weight, erase every wrinkle and reach thousands of steps on their fitbit.
When people like Ms. Rubenstein attach their feelings of worthiness to physical appearance they set themselves up to fail. This is what has led to our current epidemic of eating disorders, disordered eating, and negative body image. The scariest part is that with today’s technology even toddlers are being exposed to these deadly messages.
We must put an end to this vicious cycle. The truth is that our worthiness has absolutely nothing to do with physical appearance and has everything to do with our inner qualities. If we begin to shift our focus to the important qualities in a person and the impact they have on the world rather than what they look like, we can change our culture. Let us pave the way for next generation to be able to put on a pair of shorts without giving it a second thought.
Jen Kraft & Melanie Struble