While her character Alison DiLaurentis is busy on screen standing up to A alongside the other Pretty Little Liars, actress Sasha Pieterse is standing up to body shamers.
Sasha recently delivered a powerful message on Twitter, documenting her journey to self love after a hormone imbalance caused her to gain weight. Not only does Sasha talk about her own struggles, but she calls out the societal expectations that have made her weight gain a particular struggle for her.
“I think truly loving yourself is one of the hardest things we as humans can do,” she wrote. “We live in a society that literally profits from our self doubt and insecurities. Woman (sic) in particular are judged by their looks wether (sic) they are in the spotlight or not. We’ve subconsciously been shaped by the notion that we can only base our self worth on how people positively or negatively decide to see us.”
Sasha goes on to talk about how she learned at an early age to protect herself from the harsh and ridiculous criticism that comes with not only being in the spotlight, but being a woman. She said she knew she had to develop a thick skin not just to be a star, but to keep her soul happy. Her journey started early in her teen years, Sasha wrote, when she started making healthier choices. When she did gain weight, people were very quick to comment on it.
“There was major backlash on social media,” she said. “People were actually angry that I had gained weight, I was being (and still am) called names, made fun of, the (unfortunate) usual but it wasn’t until people started asking and assuming I was pregnant that I decided to say something.”
It’s so sad that Sasha not only had to go through that kind of bullying, but had come to expect it. People gain weight for all kinds of reasons, and sometimes for no reason at all. No matter what, it’s no one’s right to comment, judge, or make fun of it.
Instead of tearing each other down, Sasha encouraged us to focus on learning to love ourselves. “We’ve all heard our parents tell us to treat people the way you want to be treated, but I think often we don’t treat ourselves the way we should be treated,” she wrote. “I decided at that point to love myself the way I am right now. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to improve myself, it means that I am making a point to love myself at every stage and chapter of my life.”
“Do not lower yourself to people who refuse to grow higher,” Sasha continued. “If you don’t love yourself, you’ll continue to chase people who don’t love you either.”
Here’s Sasha’s entire statement:
Related: Ariel Winter on Constant Body Shaming, Cyberbullying
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