Body Shaming: Should You Be A Body Shamer?

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When I was thin and pretty looking everyone pretty-shamed me, when I got pregnant and got a big belly, everyone body-shamed me. Frustrated inner me asked, is there a standard measuring scale for sizes, shapes, beauty, and hair?

Well, when I looked outside, I found that body shaming is not only limited to different sizes, shapes, or skin color but it is also around someone’s age, clothing style, personality, food choices, attractiveness, body hair, and whatnot! I asked myself again, what is body shaming exactly, why do people body shame, or should we body shame others? 

To put it in a nutshell, body shaming is the act of commenting or saying negatively about someone’s appearance, body, or body shape. Body shaming is not only about saying negative things to others but also to yourself.

Everyone reading this post right now has surely body-shamed themselves in life. Right? Is that the right thing to do? Do you know how badly your self-esteem impacts every time you body shame yourself? In this blog, let us find out what is body shaming and how we can stop it. So, let’s get started! 

What is Body Shaming?

In our society, body shaming is inherently injected into almost everyone. People who have healthier and better bodies are pretty shamed meanwhile people with larger bodies are body shamed. Prior, being fat used to be considered a sign of wealth meanwhile thinness represented poverty. The major focus on diet, getting slim, and looking plump and beautiful with fillers is more centered around females.

Body shaming generally involves humiliating yourself or others by making inappropriate comments on body size or shape. When you are unhappy with the way you look and judge yourself harshly, you start indulging yourself in negative comments.

It’s a fact that no one is immune to societal pressures and we must avoid passing unnecessary comments in any context. If you’re body-shamed, you can overcome this by building body positivity and compassion. Some of the common types of body shaming are: 

Fat shaming 
Pretty shaming 
Body hair shaming 
Gender shaming 
Skinny shaming 

What Does Body Shaming Look Like? 

Generally, you can see people body shaming others about their size, shape, weight, hair length, attractiveness, and more. The fact about body shaming is that the moment someone does something, you don’t realize they body shamed you, until and unless you get back home and start looking at yourself in the mirror again! Here’s what body shaming looks like in general. 

1. Age

Shaming associated with age is known as age-shaming or ageism. Sadly, people have not decided what’s the right age for everything. If you’re 40 and you look flawless, you’ll be body-shamed, if you’re 16 and you have started looking more mature, you’ll still be body-shamed. In general, age-shaming look like: 

Aren’t you too old to wear this much makeup? 
Have you covered wrinkles or dark eyes with makeup?
Why do you look so mature this early?

2. Attractiveness or Pretty Shaming

I might sound a little harsh here, but the fact is pretty shaming is a type of discrimination or bullying. According to societal norms, being pretty is also a fault! Being bullied for bad looks is known as lookism. In general, pretty shaming and lookism look like: 

Sorry, we can’t hire you, you look way too pretty for this job. 
Sorry, we can’t hire you, you probably don’t meet the beauty standards. 
OMG, why are you looking so pretty, I am so jealous of you. 
OMG, why are you looking so ugly, you don’t even need a protector. 

3. Body Hair

To have body hair is common, it really does not matter if your hair grows more on the underarms, chest, legs, arms, or private areas. The idea of removing all body hair to look likable or “ladylike” needs to be removed. In general, body hair-related shaming looks like this: 

Why do you have so much hair on your armpits, God you look so beastly! 
Why have you removed your chest hair, real men don’t shave their chest hair. 

4. Body Shape

Well, there’s no standard for body shape yet. It’s a universal fact that people have different personalities, mindsets, and viewpoints so do their body shapes! Maybe someone has a good height, maybe someone looks too short, maybe someone has a pretty figure, maybe someone got a heavy body, and so on! There’s no standard measuring scale to fit according to societal norms. Body shape shaming looks like this: 

You look so tall like a giraffe. 
You look so bellied; how do you manage such bulginess? 
You are so short that even my dog looks smart in front of you! 

5. Clothing

We’re supposed to wear clothes according to our body shape… right? No, this is what clothing-shaming looks like. Sadly, clothing brands do not make clothes accurately for people of big sizes and the idea of correct body shape was only marketed by such agencies. In general, clothing-shaming look like: 

You are not supposed to wear that, it does not suit your body shape.
You don’t get clothes off your body shape easily… right? 

6. Food choices

Food shaming is generally done when someone eats more or less than expected. For example, you’re at a party and you find someone eating more than regular, and your inner body-shamer suddenly comments, “You don’t have to eat that much.” In general, food-shaming looks like: 

Recently, I have gained weight. I should not eat this piece of cake or pizza. 
I am feeling so hungry these days, what will others say if I eat too much? 

7. Hair

Again, there’s no standard for good hair, some got wavy, some got curly, some got kinks, and some got straight hair. I believe everyone’s hair is gifted and we must not change our looks according to societal norms. If it’s curly, show your curls, if it’s straight, make a sleek ponytail. Embrace the natural beauty! Hair shaming generally looks like this: 

Ew, your hair looks like noodles! 
Why don’t you comb your hair regularly, you’ll get rid of wavy hair. 
You have such shiny hair, why don’t you share some secrets with us? 

8. Weight

Body weight is one of the common reasons behind body shaming. It really does not matter if you’re too big or too thin people will always find something to comment on. Body shaming related to weight is referred to as fat shaming. In general, fat shaming looks like this: 

I think you’d become more pretty if you’ll lose some weight. 
I think you must gain some weight otherwise you’ll catch some chronic illness. 
Why do you look like you never eat? 
Are you struggling with an eating disorder?

Effects of Body Shaming on Wellbeing 

It’s a fact that we all are somewhere a part of body shaming, be it pretty shaming, slut shaming, clothing shaming, or fat shaming. Knowingly or unknowingly, we sometimes hurt others which affects their well-being negatively.

If you’re body-shamed by someone, you might understand how it feels when someone passes negative comments on the way you look, eat, or style yourself. Let’s get back to the question, should you be a body shamer? 

No, we must not body shame ourselves or others intentionally or unintentionally, it can negatively impact mental health, here’s how: 

1. Anxiety and depression 

Body shaming triggers symptoms of anxiety, stress, depression, and other common mental health issues which results in self-isolation or social withdrawal. When you constantly hear bad comments about your appearance, it can heighten your insecurities, damage your self-esteem, and increase the risk of mental health issues. 

2. Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD)

Experiencing body shaming can escalate into body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). BDD develops when someone excessively becomes obsessed with an appearance and they repeatedly engage in avoidance behaviors. If you’re constantly body-shamed, you might develop a fear of being judged by others. Some of the common symptoms of BDD are self-harm, depression, and constant level of distress. 

3. Eating disorders

Research shows that people who negatively talk about body image, and body shame themselves or others are at an increased risk of developing eating disorders such as bulimia, anorexia, or binge eating disorder. When someone constantly hears negative comments about their body image, they might restrict themselves from eating and this might result in a deprived brain and body due to a lack of essential nutrients. 

4. Excessive exercising 

Excessive exercising becomes an addiction when you’re constantly judged by others. It can result in anxiety, chronic depression, irritability, persistent fatigue, and social withdrawal. 

Why do we Need to Stop Body Shaming? 

After reading the effects of body shaming on mental health and well-being, we can conclude that body shaming provides negative consequences and we really need to stop body shaming now, because: 

Elevated risk of depression, eating disorders, stress, and other mental health issues 
Lead to binge eating 
Cause low self-esteem  

Other mental health conditions caused by body shaming are: 

Anxiety 
Body dysmorphic disorder
Psychological distress  
Self-harm or suicide 
Reduce quality of life 

How to Stop Body Shaming?

Making a quick judgment on someone’s appearance, body style, or body size clearly looks mean and we must not be involved in such judgmental activities. Body shaming is a toxic practice and we must all work on being more kind towards ourselves and others.

To avoid body shaming, it’s always helpful to encourage people, promote acceptance, and celebrate diversity. Instead of body shaming, we must focus on health and appreciate everyone. Here’s how you can avoid body shaming and promote more body inclusivity: 

1. Avoid side-eye, evade judgmental thinking, and stop talking about others appearance

If you want to become a socially acceptable personality, stop giving side-eye looks, stop promoting judgmental thinking, and stop talking about others appearance. Apart from this, stop engaging in others’ judgments or tolerate body shaming comments passed on to others.

Every time, you see someone engaging in body shaming, try to say or think something nice about them. Be kind to yourself and everyone around you. Promote positive attributes and be intentional while making an effort to appreciate someone. This will help you develop empathy, deepen respect and care, and practice compassion for others and yourself. 

2. Promote body neutrality or body inclusivity

Body positivity, body neutrality, or body inclusivity come with lots of mental health benefits. Such practices put us on the road of self-acceptance, self-healing, and self-help. Body neutrality helps us in focusing on the positive side instead of engaging in the negative side. Additionally, it helps in boosting your self-esteem and promotes kindness. 

3. Avoid negative self-talk and focus on your wellbeing

How many times do you indulge in negative self-talk and criticize your body for not looking according to the social media trends? A hundred times right…why do we always focus on the wrongs, why don’t we focus on the positives and improve ourselves in the area wherein we actually feel positive about our bodies?

Practicing positive self-talk about our bodies can help in express our feelings and will be less harmful to others as well. Instead of body shaming yourself or others, be open and communicate their struggles, so that you can create more trust and empower each other. 

4. Speak up and work on your self-esteem

Next time, whenever you see someone, body shaming you or others, take a step ahead, and speak up for yourself without causing anyone harm. Maintain your emotional and physical safety and improve your self-esteem so that people can understand how badly someone’s mental health impacts every time they body shame and promote body neutrality together. Generally, let people know that it’s unkind to body shame people and how to stop perpetuating it. 

5. Cultivate self-love

Do you know how to improve self-esteem? Well, self-esteem does not automatically but it is cultivated with a healthy and positive mindset. Sometimes, you have to work on your mental health and body image all together to not only love your flaws but also to empower other people who are struggling with their own flaws. In order to cultivate self-love, you can try: 

Communicating with a loved one, friend, or a mental health provider
Opt for social media detox 
Practice mindfulness to promote body positivity 
Join a support group  
Choosing personality, kindness, and respect over commenting on body shape or appearance 

6. Avoid the trends of social media

One of the best ways to avoid body shaming and promote body neutrality is to avoid social media trends that promote toxicity, plasticity, fillers, and botox! Instead, embrace your skin, reality, and naturally gifted hair. Remind yourself to flaunt reality instead of fillers! 

7. Treat yourself with kindness

During the process, treat yourself and others with kindness so that you can cultivate respect, care, empathy, and compassion. Bust the myths, and conceptions, and do what empowers you! Directly or indirectly, you will be empowering others as well, always remember, throw kindness like confetti! 

7. Embrace your strengths and take a road to self-acceptance

It’s a lie that you’re full of flaws, the fact is nobody is perfect and we must all learn the technique of embracing our imperfections perfectly. Remember, self-acceptance is all about falling in love with your flaws.  Till now, you have observed your flaws from other’s lenses, now take the lead, look from the positive side, and embrace the power of self-acceptance

8. Reach out for support

You might be feeling embarrassed right now, and you might want to confide in yourself to avoid body shaming in the future, but do you know what’s the best way to stop body shaming? Well, reaching out to others for support or guidance is definitely not a sign of weakness but a step towards self-healing.

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Key Takeaway: Promoting Body Positivity! 

Here’s how you can work on stopping body shaming and promoting body positivity: 

Replace negative self-talk with positive ones. 
Practicing social media detox
Avoiding self-isolation and seeking support from a loved one 
Managing stress with self-relaxation techniques  
Embracing the power of your body 
Practicing self-affirmations 
Practicing mindfulness 

I hope this blog helps you understand how to stop body shaming. Comment down and share your views on the same. For more such content, connect with us through all social media platforms. 

Thanks for reading! 

The post Body Shaming: Should You Be A Body Shamer? appeared first on Calm Sage – Your Guide to Mental and Emotional Well-being.

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