The Problem with Body Shaming
A flaw in our society is people who body shame. The definition of body shaming as defined by Oxford Dictionary is “the action or practice of humiliating someone by making mocking or critical comments about their body shape or size.” People body shame others because of the way they look. If they do not look a certain way there ridicule them. They also body shame others on what they wear saying how they can not wear articles of clothing that should be on a “skinnier” person and how it does not go with their body type. It is allowed to exist because people who are shaming continue to shame and no one speaks up. No one really profits from body shaming but there are some people who feel better when they put others down. Lots of people do suffer from it though. People are made to feel bad about themselves and be put down.
People who get body shamed because they do not look like what society believes they should look like suffer from more than just the shame of not “fitting in”. They suffer from “fat shaming” by others. Lots of individuals also suffer from depression. Depression is a mental health disorder characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life. “When we examined the mean differences between the normal weight, somewhat overweight, and very overweight groups, we found that the very overweight group had lower overall psychological well-being. They were lower in self-esteem and higher in anxiety and depression than the normal weight group and the somewhat overweight group. Thus, in this sample, feeling very overweight was itself a vulnerability factor” (Crocker 408). Society does not only target people that they believe are “overweight” or “too heavy” they also target people who are “too skinny” or “too boney.” People hear from others about how they should be “skinnier” or “need to gain more weight” so often that they start to believe it themselves.
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“Particularly negative attitudes toward one’s body and the dissociation of one’s body from one’s self may play a role in the suicidal tendencies of individuals suffering from depression. If the human body does indeed function as an important source of self-esteem and protection against basic human fears, it is little wonder that one’s body can be the source of great distress and lead to difficulties such as eating disorders, sexual dysfunction, depression, anxiety, and shame among those who believe that they are not living up to the culture’s standards” (McCoy 126-127).
Why people fat shame others makes no sense. Yes lots of people are overweight because they do not have self control over what they eat and do not get the regular exercise they should be getting but there are also others factors that play into being overweight. Hypothyroidism, also known as underactive thyroid, is a disease where people’s thyroid does not make enough hormones to meet the body’s needs. It affects nearly every organ in the body and without enough of these hormones the body functions slow down. It slows down the metabolism which causes people to gain more weight. The saying “never judge a book by its cover” applies to people who judge others and in this case fat shame others. Just because they are overweight does not mean people have the right to put shame on others because of their body because they do not know why they are the way they are. “And that’s what it often boils down to: the judgement of others. This can have a massive impact on how we see ourselves and our willingness to do something about a problem. In a society with a media where people are body shamed for even the most miniscule imperfections and the standards of beauty are often literally impossible to achieve, people often need a boatload of confidence to be overweight and overcome it and the negative preconceptions this invariably results in, such as women genuinely being paid less due to their weight. It would hardly be surprising if many people struggled with this, instead ending up lacking any motivation to get in shape just to meet the approval of those who love to criticise them…The sad fact is, some people just love to judge and condemn others, and will find any excuse to do it, no matter the burden it places on society. Why don’t they just learn some self-control? It’s disgusting, it really is” (Burnett).
There are lots of people in today’s society that get shamed because of their body type and there are way more that are doing the shaming. There are many different reasons why people choose to put others down by body shaming them. Some of the reasons are they feel insecure about themselves so they point out other people’s problems to distract from their own. Another reason is people like to get laughs from their peers or friends so they make others feel bad so more people will like them.
“There are plenty of values worth judgment. I judge people who are violent and malicious. But that is a reflection of who I am. I judge violence and malice within myself. Those are traits that I will not tolerate within myself, therefore I do not tolerate them in others. But that is a choice I am making. That is a choice we are all making, whether we realize it or not. And we should make those choices consciously and not on auto-pilot. It’s why people who think they’re ugly look for all of the ways people around them are ugly and why people who are lazy and slack off look for all of the ways others cut corners and slack off as well. It’s why corrupt officials choose to be corrupt: because they assume everyone else is as corrupt as they are. It’s why cheaters choose to cheat: because they assume everybody else is going to cheat if given the chance too. It’s why those who can’t trust are the ones who can’t be trusted. Many of us adopt our own internal yardsticks not through conscious choice but through the shaming we’re subjected to. I love the quote, “Everyone is either trying to prove or disprove who they were in high school,” because for many of us, our yardsticks are defined by how people viewed us growing up. We develop a fixation in one area of our lives because it’s the area which we felt people judged us the most.” (Manson)
People think it is fun to make fun of others and put them down just to get a laugh out of their friends. We do not realize how much we hurt others when we say negative things to them especially when it is about something they are insecure about. We do not give second thought to the words that come out of our mouths. “We attack others in order to feel good, or at least belittle someone as a way of making ourselves look better; finding fault or putting them down makes us feel superior. This tends to happen more when we are down ourselves, as misery loves company; feel bad yourself and you invariably find fault in others.You would think that as healthy human beings we would be concerned about another’s good fortune and happy to respect their preferences and choices. When we have a genuine regard for ourselves we naturally extend that by wishing others success. Mudita is a Sanskrit term meaning ‘sympathetic joy,’ or taking joy in other people’s happiness and well-being” (Shapiro). There is something wrong in today’s society that makes people feel better about themselves while they are making someone else feel worse about themselves. This is something that everyone in this society needs to work together as a whole on to make our world a more loving place.
There are so many people in the world that get shamed for how their body looks. This is a problem in society because everyone should be accepting of others no matter how they look yet people are still judging others. In this date and age people should be accepted for how their body looks. Just because someone is “too skinny” or “too fat” does not mean other people have the right to go around judging them or making them feel bad for how they look. Body shaming is something that needs to be put to an end. “Body-shaming will only stop when we tackle it structurally,’ Kwan says. ‘It’s not just about individual behavioral change, but large-scale, cultural and social institutional change.’ Among the things that need to happen are greater diversity in media images, across the categories of skin tones, height, body size, facial features, hair textures, and more. ‘We need a new ‘normal’ about our cultural beauty ideals. Just as important, we need to work toward equality in all forms where bodies, particularly women’s bodies, are not objects of control and where people feel safe to express their gender and sexual identities,’ Kwan says” (Malacoff). There are many different ways we as a society can end body shaming. First people can defend victims by standing up for someone when they see someone being rude to them because of their body. Also others can send them some love and say something positive about their body. People can check themselves, because they might not leave a mean comment on someone’s post but they do think in their heads and say judgemental things about them. By doing this and checking themselves people can stop their negative thoughts about people. People can accept that everyone has a unique body type and stop judging others who do not look like models or what society’s idea of a perfect body is.
Most of body shaming comes from other people but some people body shame themselves. Lots of people listen to what others say about them so much that they start believing it and start shaming themselves. There are many things people can do to within themselves to stop body shaming themselves. People can make a list of things they love about themselves to remind them. Do not strive to look like a model or how society wants others to look, everyone’s bodies are made differently. Do not let people be in your life who make you feel bad about yourself, because they will only bring you down. Encourage other people to be happy with how they look. Do not avoid places where people might judge a little more like the beach or the pool. Go and embrace our body. “I hate my cellulite. That cookie is going straight to my hips. You might think it’s no biggie to go low on your looks now and then, but words like these eat away at your confidence and self-worth. “Fat-talk comments are like Velcro; they stick to you, and they can start to become your identity,” says Cynthia Bulik, PhD, professor of eating disorders and nutrition at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Put a sock in it: The first step is to identify your body-bashing habits. Then replace them with more forgiving and actually accurate thoughts” (Andriakos).
Body shaming is a big problem in today’s society and always will be if we do not put an end to it. Body shaming not only affects how people feel it affects how they see themselves. It makes them believe that there is something wrong with the way they look, when there is not. Many people do not speak up when they see someone getting shamed because they are scared of what society will say about them. This is something that needs to stop. There are many different ways it can be stopped from people standing up and saying something to people not saying anything when they are about to say something rude. People can also stop body shaming themselves and accepting that how they look is perfect. If everyone would stop shaming others and would stand up for others who are body shamed our society would be a better place.
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