One study found that 94 percent of all teenage girls and 64 percent of adolescent boys have undergone body shaming. Commenting on a person’s appearance can be seen as a common thing in everyday life.
We use to scroll through photos and comment on things about people’s appearance. It would be harmless fun for you and the people who read it, but the downside is that the person who receives such comments will be affected.
Whether you do body shaming yourself or others, there are ways to build body positivity, overcome the problem, and learn to look at yourself in a more realistic way.
What is body shaming? Why do we do it? Is it fun to do? What are the causes and effects? Read to know.
What is Body shaming?
Sometimes you are one such person who is also facing such an issue, or you might be one of the people who comment on other people about their appearance. If so, have you ever wondered how much it can affect the person?
Body shaming is the practice of criticizing someone based on their body shape or size. It is actually making inappropriate or negative comments about how they look. If you are overweight, you may hear negative comments, or even if you are underweight, you will hear body shaming.
Overweight characters are commonly portrayed as running jokes in shows resulting in fat jokes by the media. Therefore such jokes about people will never make them feel comfortable. Instead, they may feel unhappy with your weight or the way your body looks and judge themselves harshly.
The act of body shaming can be done by anyone else including siblings, friends, people, and others on social media, or even the ones who are not even close to you.
Body shaming includes doing it in a joking manner and remarking about what you eat and how much. Even if you advise someone about dieting and praise weight loss, it will also be considered body shaming. It can be either intentional or not.
Even if your friends and family members don’t want to hurt your feelings, their comments can still be of a critical nature. They may not realize the negative effect it can have.
Why body shaming is considered sensitive?
To everyone whether young or old, image and appearance are particularly sensitive subject matter. This is because it is the way we present ourselves and it has a direct connection to who we are. It refers to,
- Skin tone
- Clothing styles
Both the mental and physical aspects of a person’s life can be negatively affected by body shaming. If a person is going through body shaming, it would force them to reconsider how they present themselves. They will try to hide their imperfections due to insecurities, if they fail, then it will affect their mental health, social, and professional lives.
Body shaming occurs among both men and women of all different shapes and body sizes. It is done by picking on the flaws that are totally irrelevant. Even magazines, social media platforms, and advertisements contribute to body shaming, and they have started to normalize these damaging behaviors.
Even Tv shows and movies have come to a pattern where the fat character becomes the subject of criticism in the name of humor.
Body shaming on social media
In magazines, advertisements, TV shows, and other types of media, we are constantly exposed to images of glamorous celebrities also we are in the selfie culture that emphasizes outward beauty. Seeing people every day on Facebook, Tik Tok, and Instagram can make you feel jealous and focus on thinking about your physical appearance and other perceived flaws.
Celebrity trends based on diet, exercise, and fashion tend to pave the way for how a person should look, and that is considered to be cool and popular in demand. When people do not follow these trends, they are looked at as different and shamed for it.
As a result, you struggle to live up to the standards while experiencing negative feelings and judgments about yourself. This may diminish your self-worth and body image making it more destructive.
An obsessive feeling about how you look can make you have unrealistic expectations that can be impossible to achieve.
Body shaming on teens
It is common that teens are more conscious of how they look. And the attitudes and beliefs of a teen about body image and self-esteem are largely influenced by their family members, peers, and social media.
But it is them who are more at risk of body shaming. Your elder sister or elder brother can be your role model. But if your siblings constantly talk about their own shape or weight and complain about how you look and eat, it’s bound to have an impact on how you view yourself.
During adolescence, it is normal to be highly sensitive to comments about body shape, weight, and appearance. They can even go through weight-related bullying that contributes to negative body perceptions and preoccupations with specific body parts. And this can often lead to depression.
Although it seems that only teenage girls are the victims of body shaming, the truth is that boys can also be affected by it. The reason that they don’t seem to be a victim is that they are not particularly concerned about not being muscular enough in the relationship to the popular concept of masculinity.
Body shaming the elderly
Due to the constant access to social media and the internet, body shaming is considered to be something that primarily affects the younger generation. But the truth is that, in general, body shaming and bullying are not limited to age, instead it affects people of all ages, including the elderly population.
As younger generations do, body shaming and bullying are also experienced by elderly individuals going through the same emotions and experiencing additional points of insecurity.
As we age, all-natural changes will be experienced by humans. But that does not mean it is simple and easy to adjust to. The changing appearance and physical abilities of older individuals, develop their own personal insecurities. Their anxieties will get worsen when body-shamed for it, either by other elderly people, their children, or strangers.
They might get body shamed for,
- Tooth loss
- Hair loss
- Poor eyesight
- Lack of ability to walk
- Being underweight
- Being overweight
Body shaming in relationships
It is hard to accept but Body shaming can happen within any relationship no matter whether it is a romantic relationship or friendship.
Weight gain has become a source of tension for some couples. They often gain weight during their first few years together, and they find their partners have different bodies than they once did. And think that they’re no longer as attracted to their partner the way they were.
Body shaming in relationships can either be done by the male or female. Comparison is a common thing where your partner would praise some other person’s physical appearance while criticizing yours. They might even compare you with their ex. This includes how you dress and the way you wear your hair, and how you look.
They sometimes insult you by doing body shame in front of your friends and family which makes you feel awkward.
Effects of body shaming
Even celebrities and supermodels would have insecurities. But we still look at them as a representation of beauty. You feel unworthy and inadequate if you do not measure up to these standards. Experiencing body shaming by others and taking their negative comments to heart, can lead to unhealthy behaviors and mental health problems.
A negative body image can develop disordered eating or an eating disorder. In an attempt to change your body shape or size, you may start a diet that involves restrictive eating. But as a result, such dieting can turn into harmful behaviors like fasting, skipping meals, excessive exercising, and vomiting after eating.
Over time, you end up in lack of essential nutrients needed for your body and brain. More disordered eating habits can be triggered with words like “you closet weight” and “you look so much better’’ can make you maintain the weight.
One of the best things you can do for your health is to be physically active. But if you do it excessively, it can lead to injuries, fatigue, and susceptibility to illness or trigger anxiety, depression, or irritability.
Excessive exercising can progress into a syndrome called Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S). This occurs when your calorie intake is not sufficient for the amount of energy you are expending to maintain healthy functioning.
Depression and anxiety
Body shaming can trigger or worsen anxiety and depression. you may try to avoid going to school or other situations if you are body-shamed in public or on social media. You may withdraw from others and feel isolated and alone.
Critical comments about your appearance can also increase your insecurities. It can damage your self-esteem. You may engage in negative self-talk and feel worthless. This can create extreme loneliness, depression, anxiety, and poor body image.
How to overcome body shaming?
Body shaming can be overcome by creating body positivity. It can be done by accepting yourself and others. It takes patience and practice to learn self-compassion. You can’t control what others say or do, but you can change your all-or-nothing thinking and start to view yourself as a whole person.
To build body positivity, replace the negative self-talk, make friends with food, reach out to someone you trust, build self-love, and manage the time you spend on social media.
- We all have days when we don’t look or feel our best but that doesn’t mean that you should hide or isolate yourself from others and not let this destroy your self-esteem or sense of worth. Think about whether is it really an accurate representation of who you are. Say “no” to yourself when you’re looking in the mirror and feeling disgust for your face or your body.
- Experiencing body shaming can be extremely stressful, so you need to manage stress. There are relaxation techniques like exercise, deep breathing exercises, and meditation. This helps you to build resilience and prevent you from feeling overwhelmed by negative experiences.
- You would be your best friend if you treat yourself with kindness and understanding. It is not a selfish act, but it is important for your personal well-being. You need to eat healthy food, enjoy the company of people who care about you, and spend some time outdoors to refresh your body and mind.
- Hold the power of your body because it serves you well on a daily basis to function effectively and keeps you healthy. express gratitude for your body instead of being upset about your appearance. The most important thing you can do is strive for a healthy body, which is separate from your feelings about your weight and your desire for perfection.
- Shift your focus to the things that you like about yourself like your beautiful hair or eyes. The next time you look in the mirror, notice these positive attributes.
- As a human being, your value is worth much more than your physical body. You need to remember the positive qualities that you bring to the world. So be proud of your individuality which will be the foundation for your body acceptance.
- Stepping away from social media can give you an opportunity to connect in person and improve the quality of your social interactions. Communicating face-to-face can cure stress and can be a lot more rewarding than messaging and texting.
- Being active is important for your overall health and well-being. Moreover, it helps to increase your self-esteem, confidence, and sense of accomplishment. You can involve in physical activities like walking, running, swimming, dancing, and other sports
It is common that everyone has bad days and times when they feel they would like to change something about themselves. You need to try to accept who you are, and ignore all those who condemn you. Walk away and do something that makes you feel good about yourself instead of feeling about it.
You need to consider your worth and love yourself to be happy and healthy.
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