I am passionate about the need to stop body shaming. I always have been but I feel like recently I have seen more body shaming than usual and much of this takes place online. This post has been one I’ve had in my drafts for months, but never quite managed to finish, leaving the introduction blank as I couldn’t quite translate my thoughts on the subject into a sentence with a beginning and an end. Body shaming doesn’t seem to be ending so it’s difficult to conclude a subject that so many people have an opinion about, but do very little to resolve. Keep reading if you’ve ever been body shamed, if you know someone who has suffered with body shaming, or if you’ve body shamed someone else.
Body shaming can occur through a variety of different reasons such as: relaying low self-confidence of yourself to someone else (by bringing them down, it could make you feel better… even though this is never true), letting others agree with your own insecurities, saying a negative comment out of jealousy and many more. It would be great to be body positive, and by no means am I (I know I’m a little too chunky in places and have one too many rolls when I sit down) but I wish more than anything bullying through body shaming would just stop.
I’m saying this from a place of heart. I had someone very close to me suffer with anorexia; said person was hospitalised for over 2 years at a young age after being body shamed and made to feel as though they were not good enough because of the way they looked. Body shaming can happen at school, in a family home, online, and well, pretty much anywhere else communication can manifest. To see someone I love go through this remains the hardest period of my life. Plus an eating disorder, or any other mental/physical illness that resinates from being body shamed, never leaves a person.
Just the other day, I was watching videos from two of my favourite YouTubers, Hello October (Suzie) and I Covet Thee (Alix), to see comments on both of their videos discussing the way they look in a negative way. Then I noticed other videos from other online influences had comments of the same nature: “Is it me, or does her face look rounder?”, “Why are you wearing that chocolate bar, you’re clearly putting on weight.”, “Contouring that face? You need a miracle love.”, “I’m sorry but your face is disguising.” “Those trousers look so horrible on you – you can’t wear them when you have thighs so thick.” – do I need to say anymore? Sure, the more followers you gain, the more likely you are to have online trolls attack the way you look/do things, but why is that okay? It’s not. I honestly don’t know how someone feels okay by writing something so negative to another person. You have no idea how that person will take the comment, you don’t know if you’re highlighted one of their insecurities? What if your comment is what tips them off the edge and let it effect them? I’m sure you’ve all watched Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why TV series and I think it does a brilliant job of highlighting how one action on your part can form a domino effect on someones life decisions.
I don’t think it’s the magazines and the medias negative portrayal of the body form that is to blame anymore. It is part of the reason we all desire to be skinnier ect, but the real issue is how it is SO easy to make a passing comment on social media/online to a person without any consequences. Everyone looks different. Everyone has a different body. Not everyone is going to be a size 6. That’s life. It’s not just people with huge following being effected, it’s everyone.
I, one person, can’t stop body shaming. Wherever we have communication platforms, body shaming will always exist. I ask, before you make a comment, or passing judgement, or even think negatively about someone else’s appearance – think. Think about how this may affect them. How that one comment can be taken to heart. How instead of saying negative, say something positive. Compliment them. Please.
I’d love to create more of a series about this issue, as I have a million-and-one things to say about how body shaming is ruining the confidence of thousands of girls and body across the world. If you have ever experienced this, or would like me to cover a particular issue surrounding the importance to stop body shaming, feel free to leave me a comment on this post or email me in confidence at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Together, lets start making a difference.