Body Shaming: How to Avoid It

One of the things I hate the most in our society today is body shaming. In today’s supposedly “enlightened” society, many people still tend to resort to bullying those who look different from what they think is perfect. Because that’s what it (body shaming) is to me—plain old bullying. If you’re a bit on the heavier side, they’d call you fat or overweight. If you’re a bit lighter, you’re just skin and bones to them. There’s really no satisfying these people who are quick to comment on how you look.

What is Body Shaming & What are its Negative Effects in the Society

Body shaming is an unsolicited and inappropriate statement and/or attitude toward another person’s weight or size. It is often done in humor (or what the offender think is humorous) to degrade or shame someone’s body. It has become one of the biggest problems in our society as it reflects people’s cruelty over each other. With the vicious cycle of humiliation, many victims of this kind of heartless bullying tend to have a low self-esteem, which would often result to social anxiety. In the end, this would result to poorer health as it can contribute to eating disorders, infections, and other physical and mental health problems.

Where Body Shaming Usually Happens & Who are the Culprits

Body shaming happens everywhere—and when I say everywhere I mean EVERYWHERE. It’s in conventional and social media, in schools, in offices, on our streets, and yes, even in our own homes. Who are the culprits who do this heartless thing? Well, you might not realize it but all of us are guilty. Yes, you, me—all of us. I’m sure you’ve been in a situation when you have made a side comment on how another person looks. We even body shame people through our body language. How? I’m sure you have smirked, shrugged, or even giggled at least once in your life when you see someone you think is fat. Yes, body language may be subtle but it’s still a form of body shaming, and the worst part of it is they are far more hurtful.

You see, we live in a world that has become so desensitized, we see body shaming everyday, everywhere, being done to everyone, but we don’t even realize it. And the worst part is that we tolerate it because it’s such a common thing. During family reunions, for instance, our own relatives would greet us on how much weight we have gained or lost. Whenever we read magazines or when we’re watching celebrity news, it’s almost always about how fat or thin a celebrity has become. Heck, we even criticize our own bodies when we compare our “imperfect” bodies to say, Victoria’s Secret models.

What Can be Done to Avoid Being an Offender…

Body shaming is definitely a tough problem to solve, especially now that it’s been embedded in our society for so long. However, the cure to this social disease is surprisingly quite simple—tact. If you don’t want to offend anyone, all one has to do is to be sensitive and be compassionate. Think before you speak. Consider how your words could affect everyone around you. This way, you can avoid making hasty, and possibly, hurtful comments toward others.

A smile is the light in your window that tells others that there is a caring, sharing person inside. – Denis Waitley

Aside from minding our words, we should always think about how we react to things. Keep in mind that actions speak louder than words, so always be mindful of your body language. In addition, if we just mind our own business and we don’t carelessly comment or react on anything, I’m sure we’ll be a lot less of a bully. Yes, we can enjoy our freedom to express ourselves, but we should also consider how everyone around us would react to whatever we say or do. Like what the old adage says: “Your freedom ends where mine begins.”

Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results – Willie Nelson

…or Being a Victim

As for avoiding being a victim, just keep this in mind—our bodies are our own and not invitations to public commentary. Body shaming happens when we allow them ourselves; and the truth is, it actually starts in our mind. You’re going to be a victim only if you allow it. We really can’t control what other people say, but we can control what we can absorb in our mind, right? That’s why whatever things people say about you, reject all the negatives and absorb only the positives. It’s just a matter of turning your focus away from anything that is hurtful. I know it’s easier said than done, but the key to it is accepting yourself wholeheartedly. This will help motivate you and be contented of yourself, and at the same time, repel any negative comments toward you.

The most beautiful thing you can wear is confidence. – Blake Lively

The truth is nobody’s perfect; even supermodels and top celebrities have flaws. In fact, because celebrities are always under the spotlight, they’re always scrutinized, and most often than not, get victimized body shaming by the media.

Let’s put an end to the shaming now. We should always support and motivate each other not the other way around. Until everyone realizes this, this problem will continue to be an issue and we could all be victims. Regardless of our body type, I believe that we can all still be decent and compassionate towards each other. I think this is the only way to cure this social problem.

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