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.
Body shaming is defined as inappropriate negative statements and attitudes toward another person’s weight or size. It can also reach into the discrimination against individuals who may be overweight. In particular, there are negative attitudes in the media and elsewhere about celebrities who are “too fat” or who have not gotten rid of “baby weight” in an appropriate amount of time. A backlash against body shaming has resulted in the coining of the term itself and attempts to bring a more positive attitude toward diverse body sizes and styles.
Body shaming is defined as inappropriate negative statements and attitudes toward another person’s weight or size. It can also reach into the discrimination against individuals who may be overweight. Children who are cyber bullied may be too embarrassed to tell their parents, and can be ridiculed in social networks. Body shaming, fat shaming, and other bullying can create negative self images, and if your kid turns out to be the bully you could end up on the wrong end of a lawsuit.
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.
In case you skipped something, you are perfect and beautiful JUST the way you are.
Identify who in your life is body-positive. Spending time with these people can be especially helpful while you are struggling with your own internalized body-shaming, and help you view yourself – and others – more positively.
We spend so much time witnessing advertisements about how to make our eyelashes millimeters longer and how to get whiter teeth that it’d be nice to counter some of that by celebrating what we do have. Maybe, despite your body image struggles, you love a new hairstyle you discovered. Maybe you’ve noticed how much stronger you feel with balanced eating. Find something physical or nonphysical that makes you YOU and celebrate it every day.
Written by Melody Jacobs
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