Body Shaming

Did you ever stop and think about how often we are told to change our appearance? Magazines constantly offer tips about how to lose weight “in days,” appear slimmer “instantly,” and hide our “imperfections”… without actually knowing anything about us, much less our appearance. This is one example of body-shaming, and it is everywhere. Sitcoms so frequently use overweight characters’ bodies as the basis of many of the show’s jokes. It has become the norm to criticize aspects of our bodies as some type of bonding experience with friends – if we all hate our bodies; it somehow makes us feel connected and united. Body-shaming, criticizing yourself or others because of some aspect of physical appearance, can lead to a vicious cycle of judgment and criticism. Messages from the media and from each other often imply that we should want to change, that we should care about looking slimmer, smaller, and tanner. And if we don’t, we worry that we are at risk of being the target of someone else’s body-shaming comments. It’s not what we think about ourselves, much less what we want to but instead what ‘they’ want us to think. That’s right, it’s what they want us to think not what we want to or intent to. Body shaming is ubiquitous. It’s in magazines, newspapers, television shows, movies, conversations between friends, on the Internet and social media sites. Comments can be nasty and sometimes used in poor-taste comedy. Nobody should have to live in a world where they’re made to feel bad about their bodies by other people, especially considering people are often critical enough of their own appearance. Some shocking examples of body shaming include a Fox News host saying that Kelly Clarkson should ‘stay off the deep-dish pizza for a while’. A cruel photo of a pregnant Kim Kardashian being likened to a whale went viral across social media sites. Body Shaming hasn’t even spared the celebrities, which then sometimes triggers certain eating disorders in an individual. Did you know that Body shaming has become such an issue that the mayor of London has prohibited to run any ads featuring unrealistic body images often of models in swimwear, on the tube, in bus shelters and on street signs which may cause body confidence issues. The consequences of body shaming are severe, whether you’re chastising yourself or someone else, and can contribute to mental health problems. We cannot control the actions and comments of others but we can stop ourselves from entering the vicious cycle of body shaming. Stop body shaming yourself, everyone has bad days and times when they feel they would like to change something about themselves. Try to accept who you are rather than condemning yourself for it. If you’re around people who are moaning about their appearance, rather than joining in, walk away and do something that makes you feel good about yourself. Don’t join in whenever you may encounter or have encountered body shaming regularly, and be guilty of joining in, possibly without even realising it. The best thing you can do is avoid making negative comments altogether. Because it’s high time that we start to refrain from posting hurtful comments onto a public forum, where even the person being discussed can see them, and end body shaming or joining in any kind of such and even prevent some in case we happen to encounter.