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In a world that everyone wants to be portrayed as perfect on the outside, it has made us hateful and critical on the inside. Merriam-Webster defines body-shaming as the act or practice of subjecting someone to criticism or mockery for supposed bodily faults or imperfections. As social media has told us what we are supposed to look like, the more cutthroat words can be about a person’s appearance. But does this sometimes stop us from saying something?

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Dating apps are on the rise, especially with COVID-19, but even before this, we had an easier way to talk and meet someone new. It's all based on one thing, your photos. Your photos are literally worth a thousand words compared to your basic bio or catchphrase. Your photos tell your interests, style, social life, and so much more. Whether you are dabbling in the dating apps of Bumble, Hinge, or Tinder, you know how important a picture of yourself can be. 

I have a Tinder account and am rarely on it anymore after one circumstance I had. I matched with a guy, but the message was not a conversation starter in the slightest. He told me that I was thick and made comments based on my pictures, and he wanted to point out that I was a bigger individual. Was he right? Yes. Was it necessary? Absolutely not. Commenting on anyone’s weight, body type, or appearance in a negative way is just wrong. What people are not realizing about your comments is that it creates damage to the other person, it creates a world of hurt. By a stranger commenting on my weight, I was looking at myself in the mirror and thinking who else might be thinking this? Is this why I am not being asked out? Are people embarrassed to be in public with me? Your mind goes on this wild tangent of ‘why am I not perfect?’ But instead of questioning our body types, should we be asking the question of how we put body-shaming to rest?

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I read an article on Bumble that talked about how there's a ban on body-shaming in the app. Bumble explained how their mission was built on a platform rooted in respect and kindness. They updated their terms and conditions to explicitly ban unsolicited and derogatory comments made about someone else’s appearance, body shape, size, or health. They explained that body-shaming is not acceptable on or off the app and said that the term body-shaming meant “forcing an opinion of a ‘good body’ onto others.” Body-shaming goes further than just your body size or type, it includes fat shaming, health shaming, criticizing skin or hair, thin shaming, unsolicited opinions, and mocking someone’s physical features. Bumble also talks about how damaging this can be on a person’s mental and physical health which is so important for everyone to know. The best part about the feature on this app is that if you make a harmful comment like this, it will give you a warning, and if repeated, you will be banned. It just goes to show that even though dating has become a virtual scene, it does not mean you don’t pay a price for your actions. 

It is such a challenge to be a woman and to live up to the standards of what you ‘should’ look like in today’s society. What we should all come to realize is that we are all different. Body, mind, and soul, we are all unique individuals. Rather than tearing people down, we should build people up. We should make people see our greatest qualities that don't have anything to do with physical features. It is not about the photos, it is about the personality that shines out. Just because we don’t fit the mold of 'perfect' doesn’t mean we're meant to be judged by others. Think before you say those hurtful words.  It can truly change a person.

My name is Katelyn Richardson. I am 28 years old. I am currently attending Central Washington University studying for my Master's in food and sciences to become a nutritionist and later a diabetes educator for kids. I've been personally battling type 1 diabetes since I was six years old. I love being outside, vintage shopping, watching movies, and going to stock car races!
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