What is body shaming? How to fight?


body shameIn its most concise form, it can be defined as the act of criticizing a person’s appearance. This is a type of bullying that can lead to a loss of self-confidence and serious mental health problems. Fortunately, by learning more about this concept and working with it individually, you will be able to deal with your emotions and begin to form a positive image of yourself.

What is body shamingRead on to find out.

What is body shaming?

Most people today think that being thin is better and healthier than being big. However, when we look into the past, we see that this was not always the case. Consider, for example, paintings from the early 1800s! From the paintings and portraits of that period, one can understand that the fullness of the body was respected. Because in the past being big was a sign that a person was rich and had access to food. In the same way, weakness represented poverty…

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the first known use of the term bodyshaming was by journalist Philip Ellis*.

As we explained above, this concept refers to the act of speaking negative or cruel words about one’s appearance, such as body shape, weight, image. The purpose of this type of bullying is to humiliate someone who does not physically meet the public standards of beauty.

Body shame can target people of all ages and genders; also being overweight, thin, tall, skin problems, etc. are due to various reasons, including being bullied at home, at school, at work, and most often on the Internet. The places where we most often see body shaming are TV shows, movies, advertisements, magazines, billboards, etc. as you can imagine. such as mainstream media. Sometimes you may hear embarrassing comments from people close to you, such as your parents, siblings, friends, teachers, colleagues, and sometimes your inner critic.

body shame examples

What is body shamingwe have explained in detail. very common in our society. body shamecan show itself in the following examples:


You can see examples of body shaming publicly in print magazines and publications. Often these can be photos and comments that insult the celebrity for crying, not wearing make-up, dressing “nice” or gaining weight. The goal here is to embarrass the person by emphasizing how imperfect they seem to be and convey to the public that they shouldn’t be seen on the street like that.

Negative inner voice

Sometimes you might look at yourself in the mirror and think, “This outfit makes me look fat,” or you might make that comment about someone else. These are both examples of body shame. People who experience body shame often have low self-esteem, often criticize themselves and scrutinize others, and judge themselves.

reverse compliment

Let’s explain this with a real life example. Let’s say you posted a selfie on Instagram and a friend said to you, “You look great, do you exercise?” she comments. Or someone else says to you, “I hope I’ll be just like you when I’m your age.” While all of this may seem like a flattering statement, they have a critical tone about appearance and are certainly an example of body shaming.


The TV commercial for herbal tea that claims to lose weight quickly is a classic example of modern diet culture. Or a YouTube ad that directs you to a store full of anti-aging products. All this sends a signal that we should take care of our appearance and strive to look “better”. Otherwise, we will feel bad.

Why don’t we get into body shaming?

body shame can seriously harm an individual’s well-being by causing disturbing emotions, unhealthy attitudes, and inappropriate body image behaviors. It can also cause personal insecurities that can disrupt social functioning and interaction. As a result, many bodyshamed individuals are at risk of serious psychological/physical health problems.

In the long run, we can list what body shame can do as follows:

  • Causing self-doubt, low self-esteem and a desire to isolate; distorted perception of one’s own body.
  • Development of an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia.
  • Mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, or body dysmorphia.
  • Tendency to self-harm or suicidal behavior.
  • psychological and emotional disorders; feelings of shame, worthlessness, guilt, anger.
  • General dissatisfaction with their appearance and dissatisfaction with life.
  • Excessive attention to body image, which manifests itself in unhealthy behaviors such as strict diets, strict exercise plans to change or “improve” appearance.
  • Dangerous health consequences (including death) due to body image obsession due to malnutrition.

What causes body shame?

Our self-perception and body image are naturally influenced by many factors such as family, friends, peers, culture, social media, celebrities, and advertising. Today, unfortunately, we live in a society that is overly concerned with how we look and how we “should” look. Body image problems arise as normal conversations among friends, at the dinner table, or on the Internet. Of course, social media is also full of photos showing “perfect” bodies and filter-modified faces of celebrities…

But this endless obsession, combined with heavy exposure to unrealistic beauty standards, can distort our idea of ​​our bodies and undermine our self-confidence. So know that it’s not surprising if you don’t like yourself in the mirror because you think you have a bad body image. Because these powerful messages deeply affect our general feelings about our bodies.

As a result, many people feel pressure to look a certain way and conform to that “ideal” template. And, unfortunately, these social stereotypes become even more persistent when we internalize them as absolute truth and pass on the same erroneous beliefs to others.

Overcoming Body Shame

Now you know how body shaming can lead to results. So, how to overcome it?

Overcoming body shame is a journey that starts from within. Re-evaluating self-sabotaging thoughts, improving health, relying on self-compassion, and seeking positive support can reduce the damaging effects of body shaming.

  • Change your internal dialogue: What are the things you say to yourself? Write them down to identify your negative inner voice and try to replace them with positive affirmations.
  • Look beyond your appearance: Try to accept all your aspects, qualities, personality traits. What qualities do you love about yourself other than looks? Are you smart, honest, thoughtful, funny? What subjects are you good at?
  • Use your strengths: You may have strengths that you forgot or didn’t know about. What things energize you and make you feel better?
  • Support your overall health: Prioritize your personal care over things that protect your overall health, such as healthy eating, quality sleep, personal hygiene, practicing mindfulness, journaling, and hanging out with friends.
  • Challenge what you hear and see: When you see ads on TV or social media, ask yourself what ideals they are trying to promote and why. Is it realistic? This gives you the opportunity to question the content of these messages.
  • Surround yourself with people who inspire you: Look for friends and relatives who know about the shame of the body.
  • Learn about body shaming: Educate yourself in this. The ability to identify body shame can give you the self-awareness you need to act responsibly.
  • Develop compassion for yourself: Learning to be kind to yourself can also help you deal with bad feelings about it without judgment.

The last word

Body shaming or body shaming is a terrible act that no one will have to endure. However, remember that there are many ways that can help you heal your wounds.

If you think that you are in a bad mood for this or similar reasons and you cannot cope with it, do not hesitate to contact a specialist.

You may be interested in: Tips for those who want to love and accept their body as it is

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