Mental Effects Of Body Shaming

When you’re slim, people ask ‘Are you okay? Are you sure you’re eating well and not starving yourself? Are you watching your weight?’ and when you do put on weight the response is ‘You have put on weight! You’re too fat! You’re not pretty anymore because of the fat!. These statement are not compliments, there’s always a better way to say all of these things without being unfeeling. In this article, we examine the mental effects of body shaming.
mental effects of body shaming
Photocredit: The KN Clan
There are so many people who have body issues. People for a long time have not been very confident about their bodies for reasons best known to them. It would be making matters worse if we then put them on the spot by making unnecessary comments about their weight or a lack of it. There’s no one size fits all as it concerns weight size as we all have different body types.

What is body shaming?

Body shaming is the act of humiliating or mocking another person because of their body type.

It’s negative effects range from reduction in self-esteem to issues such as eating disorders, anxiety, body image disturbance, body dysmorphic disorder and depression. There are different types of body shaming eg, fat shaming, pretty shaming, skinny shaming, body hair shaming etc.

Body shaming has become a problem as people take their own insecurities and aim them at other people to make themselves feel better. Body shaming, while common in both genders, is especially harmful to women. Comments like these are why both guys and girls have such low self-esteem. Body shaming is causing teenagers nowadays to be insecure.

Today’s generation does not see wrong in expressing their opinions which isn’t wrong in itself, but shutting out anyone with a different body type than them is not okay. This phenomenon has become so bad that young girls fear becoming fat and engage in dieting or binge eating. It also said that girls as young as five years old are worried about the way they look and their size. And one in four seven year old girls have tried to lose weight at least once. Also, one third of young boys aged 8-12 are dieting to lose weight. These statistics on both sexes indicate that body shaming has the power of negative effects on someone.

People with untoward intentions find it easy to say “her body is so flat,” and “He’s fat, that makes him so ugly,” and “you need to lose weight”. Nobody chooses the body they have. Everyone is born into that body without a choice. If someone is healthy then it should not matter what they look like to anyone but themselves.

What is a “perfect body” if we may ask? Magazines and social media put the spotlight on thin girls, and for the most part cancel out girls that are not a size 0. If a certain weight size makes me comfortable and happy then why not?

The picture of the “perfect body” is not realistic and its unhealthy. That’s why some people have resorted to plastic surgery. With each cut, they go back for more in other to attain a certain ideal that can never be. Society has created this image that the “perfect body” is a body someone must have or he/she is shut out. This means people see their body negatively. “If people learn that everybody is human, then they will realize that they are human on the outside and they will stop judging other people’s bodies.

We should not be body shaming. We should be motivating, supporting, and encouraging each other. Until everyone realizes that, body shaming will continue to be an issue. Body shaming is an issue that will not be solved unless everyone learns how to accept their own body.

Fat shaming is one of the least acceptable prejudices in public spaces. Fat people endure outright abuse, not-so-covert photography/filming, and assumptions about their intelligence and education. Although workplace equal opportunities policies technically outlaw discrimination based on difference, there are many ways to express prejudice other than abuse or obvious criticism.

Mental Effects of Body Shaming

There are numerous mental effects of body shaming. Some of them include:

1. Body loathing: Some people loathe their bodies as they consider themselves too fat or too thin. They even go to the extent of slashing their wrists in the hopes that the loss of blood would help them lose weight. The intense media pressure for women to have perfect bodies encourages a rampant plethora of eating disorders, exercise addiction, anxiety and depression.
2.  Binge eating: Eating too much food, snack and sweets within a short period of time: most of the time food is secretly eaten so other people do not notice. Is is done in the hope of gaining weight as these persons have been bullied for being to skinny or even thin.
3. Anorexia: With this condition, people eat little to nothing or only fruits and vegetables in the hopes of losing weight. The downsides is, in the bid to lose weight, valuable nutrients that would help the body grow and develop are not eaten hence the individual loses weight but is malnourished.
4. Low self esteem: Individuals who find it difficult to put on weight or lose weight as they wanted, end up suffering from low self esteem as they have attributed/tied their body size to their confidence level.
If we all could teach ourselves, like it’s being taught in several schools in america, the power of a positive body image, it would all be for the best. Lose weight if YOU think its needed, put on weight if YOU so wish but do it because you want to or because its a healthy choice and not because society assumes a certain body type is trendy.

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