What is body shaming and what is it doing to teenagers in 2019?
Body shaming. This is a concept that most of us have heard before, but a lot of us don’t fully understand what it is and the impact that it has on teenagers. In 2019, more and more teenagers are developing mental health-related issues due to this terrible problem that needs to be stopped.
What is body shaming?
Body shaming is when somebody humiliates, makes fun of, or mocks someone else by making critical comments about their body shape or size. Although it most commonly starts off by one person saying mean remarks to another, body shaming can also be done to yourself. Body shaming is a severe form of bullying and can be the start of so many issues, for example, eating disorders, depression, lack of self-esteem and confidence, anxiety and other related issues.
Why is body shaming such a big deal in 2019?
Have you looked in magazines and advertisements lately? Most of the models in those advertisements and magazines are the idea of a “perfect body type” that society has created; slim, small, tan, etc. Many teenagers have had problems with accepting their bodies because of these ads and models. Teenagers feel like they need to meet the only “acceptable” body type of the season, (which is the ones we see in ads and magazines), and they will do anything to meet this standard set by society. This can include starving themselves and working out excessively so that they become thinner. Teenagers are being told to change their appearances on the daily. Magazines are constantly offering tips on how to lose weight “in days”, how to appear slimmer “instantly,” and how to hide our “imperfections”. It has become normal for people to criticize aspects of our bodies as some type of “bonding” experience with our friends, (if we all hate our bodies, it makes us feel connected and united). Social media is a big contributor to body shaming. Messages often imply that we should want to change our bodies, that we should be slimmer, smaller and tanner and if we don’t follow suit, people will hate us and we will become the target of someone else’s body shaming comments.
Why body shaming needs to be stopped!
Teenagers are becoming more desperate for other people to like and accept their bodies. It boosts their self-esteem because they dislike their bodies due to daily body shaming. Most of us don’t realize how often body shaming comes up in our day to day life; how many billboards have weight loss images on them, how many advertisements come up on our devices for “a slimmer look”. People who are experiencing high levels of body dissatisfaction feel like they are flawed in comparison to others. This is one of the highest risk factors for feelings of depression, isolation, low self-esteem, and eating disorders. Body shaming is the best-known contributor to the development of serious eating disorders called anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.
How can we make a difference and stop body shaming?!
This all starts out as one single movement. Accepting and loving your own body; being body positive. What you do to help prevent body shaming might feel like it has little to no impact at all, but the best way to help others is to help yourself first. Some small steps to defeat body shaming yourself may include: using mindfulness activities, using positive affirmation lists for yourself, turning your focus away from what you look like and instead how you feel, getting support from a professional or trusted adult (for example: family doctor, dietitian, specialized mental health worker, parent, guardian, school social workers or guidance counsellors.), taking a social media cleanse – or at least surrounding yourself with positivity on social media platforms, and most importantly, believe in yourself!
- “Body Shaming, Social Media, Bullying And The Drive To Be Best – What 2019 Holds For Kids On Social Media According To Selfie Filmmaker And Positive Psychologist Barbara Becker Holstein.” Home – CBS News 8 – San Diego, CA News Station – KFMB Channel 8, 19 Dec. 2018, www.cbs8.com/story/39666342/body-shaming-social-media-bullying-and-the-drive-to-be-best-what-2019-holds-for-kids-on-social-media-according-to-selfie-filmmaker-and-positive.
- “Body-Shaming: What Is It & Why Do We Do It?” Walden Eating Disorders Treatment, 10 Sept. 2018, www.waldeneatingdisorders.com/body-shaming-what-is-it-why-do-we-do-it/.
- “Body Image & Eating Disorders.” National Eating Disorders Association, 22 Feb. 2018, www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/body-image-eating-disorders.
- Rugh, Sooji. “Body-Shaming: How To Spot It How To Stop It.” Mindbodygreen, Mindbodygreen, 22 May 2015, www.mindbodygreen.com/0-12452/bodyshaming-how-to-spot-it-how-to-stop-it.html.
“How to Overcome Body Shame.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/modern-sex/201707/how-overcome-body-shame