A Filipino-American’s Essay On Body Shaming Sparks Important Dialogue

Erica Waters a Filipino-American writer and publisher of beauty and fashion blog, ERICA DAWN shared some insights on a major societal flaw women deal with in the Philippines: body shaming.

When discussing her visits to her country she recalls, “Every trip starts off the same way: After a 14+ hour flight, I am greeted by my cousins, aunts and uncles. Their first words to me are tumaba ka ‘you got fat’ as they simultaneously squeeze my “arm fat”. My excitement for coming home instantly fades, and I immediately want to hop on the next America-bound flight — I know that this is just the beginning of a summer filled with unsolicited commentary pertaining to my body.”

This cultural norm of commenting on other people’s physical appearance took a toll on her and her sister “to the point where we used to put our bodies through hellish and unhealthy diets to try and avoid unwanted remarks about ‘how fat we are’ during our next visit,” she says. Read the full essay here.

According to an article in ABS-CBN News, a study of Filipina migrants showed that “the main hindrances to changing women’s tendencies prioritizing physical beauty include society’s typical expectations for women and consumerist ideas around body presentation.” However, the article does say there is hope as “a number of participants endorsed a ‘natural’ look in old age (at least, after some point), implying an acceptance for wrinkles, grey hair, and changes in body shape and size.”

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