I just read a very interesting and in my opinion somewhat sad article titled “Americans Can’t Escape Long-Disproven Body Stereotypes”
The article highlighted one of the first researchers of this topic, William Sheldon, who established the somatotypes, which are three generalized body shapes that he theorized could be linked biogenetically to personality: ectomorphs, mesomorphs, and endomorphs. Ectomorphs are people who are tall and thin, and Sheldon expected them to be shy and anxious. Mesomorphs are muscular and broad, and they’re expected to be domineering and competitive. Endomorphs are soft and round, and they’re assumed to be lazy and affection-seeking.
Since 1940, the somatotypes’ links to personality have been broadly debunked on a scientific level, with everything from Sheldon’s study methods to his assumptions about personality being called into question, but the problem is even though scientifically Sheldon’s findings were not at all accurate, the assumption of personality from different body types are still very much judged today.
Unfortunately this article was not shocking to read because in the fitness industry, physical judgment happens all the time. I want to be one of many who are in this industry who want to stop this thinking. I have had my own experience with judgment because of my physic. I have been called a “man” or told, “you have too much muscle, I would never want to look like that.” Statements like these used to hurt my feelings and I immediately felt self conscious, but then I remembered that I am strong and healthy and that’s what matters most to me and why I continue to train.
Why is it that when we see the way someone looks, specifically the shape of their body we assume we know who they are and what they are like? I have friends and family that are all shapes and sizes and to me they are all beautiful! It is time that we all try to stop this way of thinking and learn to be kind and respectful to everyone.
“If you judge people you have no time to love them.” – Mother Teresa