Advice for the Modern Age


Body shaming is a thing now. Having experienced it a few times myself, I can say it’s not new. For a long time now, the world has been mocking those who don’t have pear-shaped bodies.

One man has the best advice for those who shame other people. He lived well ahead of his time, hinging on the period he was born into, yet thriving even four hundred years later.

And how does he give us a his piece of mind? He shames his lover for a start.

“If hairs be wires, then black hairs grow on her head.”

That was, of course, in a time when blond curls ruled the day and any woman with straight hair was un-ladylike. Things have changed since, I know. Nowadays, people pay fortunes just to get their curly hair straightened. Nevertheless, body shaming hasn’t changed at all.

And then there’s this image of rosy cheeks and powder puff.

When I face my mirror, I know I have no rosy cheeks. There’s no chubbiness that every man’s supposed to like, there’s no colour, or flush, or blush. When I see myself in the mirror, I only see what shamers told me: A dull face, and cheeks too thin to be beautiful.

Shakespeare said it too:

“But no such roses see I in her cheeks.”

But here’s the question. Why would anyone expect a woman to look more like the sun and less like a woman? Why would anyone want a woman who resembles a child’s doll, when she’s stronger than that in real life?

Again, Shakespeare has the answer. And his answer — four centuries old though it is — is unmatched even in this age.

“And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare

As any she belied with false compare.”

To be or not to be a body shamer. That’s not the question anymore. No matter how much we compare a person, woman or man, to an image of perfection, it would be just that — an image. Pretty face and fair skinned, or spotted and dark skinned, there’s just a skull underneath.

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