The danger of using our bodies as a weapon
The term “revenge body” has been a hot topic in pop culture in the past few years. Big celebrity names like Jennifer Aniston and Katie Holmes have been associated with the term after ending a relationship with their significant other and hitting the gym hard.
Khloe Kardashian took it a step further when she launched a reality TV show that was literally called ‘“Revenge Body with Khloe Kardashian” after she ended her relationship with Lamar Odon. On the show, contestants come on to try to get the best body possible to get back at their ex.
If you are unfamiliar with the term “revenge body” it is normally summed up as follows:
A “revenge body” is an improved body (reduced fat and/or increased muscle) built in order to demonstrate to someone who hurt you how well you are doing without them. — The Conversation
So basically it’s a way to give the big middle finger to someone that hurt you.
Now, I am most certainly guilty of posting photos that make me look good after a breakup when I was hurt and wanted to get back at my ex.
Even though I told myself I was posting these photos because I felt empowered and sexy I was truly doing it to feel like I had control of the situation and to show that I wasn’t hurting…. even though I was.
Although I looked skinny and happy to the outside world, in reality, I was barely eating and engaging in harmful behaviors such as restrictive dieting and weight-loss pills that had an extremely negative effect on my body.
I wasn’t alone in this behavior either.
“Breakups or other traumatic experiences that people emerge from with “revenge bodies” are extremely stressful life events. Stress can make people lose weight in an unhealthy way and even signal the presence of a mental illness….” — The Insider
It can be easy to take it too far
A tragic story of the revenge body can be found in the story of Zyzz (real name Aziz Shavershian) who gained an online fanbase after he built up his body after being called skinny and scrawny.
Following his transformation, Zyzz shared his story of getting revenge on an ex-girlfriend that had said some of the hurtful comments.
“Needless to say when I saw her 2 years later and her jaw dropped, brushing her off at that moment was probably the best feeling I have experienced in my life.”
After getting his “revenge body” Zyzz used his newfound power to publicly reject women online.
However, his newfound body glory didn’t last for long. Just several years after achieving his goals Zyzz collapsed and died from a heart attack at the young age of 22 and it was linked to his steroid and fat burner use.
Where does our worth lie?
Buying into the story of a revenge body plays into the lie society has told us for our entire lives which is that our only worth is in our outward appearance.
Embracing this term implies that someone’s flaws were with their weight and by getting the look that they want, they are able to hurt the person that hurt them.
Another aspect that people need to realize is that if someone suddenly wants to get back with you because you have a “revenge” body”, they were obviously in the relationship for all of the wrong reasons.
We shouldn’t focus on the physical side of things
Having a healthy lifestyle and taking care of your physical body is extremely important. However, we need to stop making it our primary focus.
What we need to remember is that losing weight isn’t going to instantly make all of our worries disappear in a cloud of dust.
After all, how often do we give someone compliments based on their body?
We praise our friends for losing weight and although it can feel good to hear that, it also says that they needed to change something about themselves.
We need to change the narrative.
I don’t want to compliment people on their bodies.
I want to compliment them on their strength, empathy, kindness, and intelligence because we are so much more than just our physical appearance.