Updated: Feb 7
Body shaming is something most people do without thinking. How many of us call someone names?
"You are too fat; You are too skinny; She's short; Look at her leg; She's so ugly".
We use people's body image to describe them e.g. "that fat woman". Almost everyone is guilty of this. We say these things without a thought on how it may affect the other person.
What is body shaming?
"Body shaming is the act of criticising someone based on the shape, size, or appearance of their body" . ~(Cambridge Dictionary, 2020).
Making negative and critical comments about someone's shape, weight, size or appearance can be quite humiliating. Anyone can be the target of body shaming, regardless of their shape, size, heights or appearance.
Body shaming is not just about someone else criticising someone else, it can also be in the form of passing self judgement. E.g. I am too fat, or I am ugly" comparing yourself with others... Etc. This could have developed from judgements from other people and then a person might start seeing themselves in the way others have commented about their appearances.
Body shaming is a type of bullying behaviour, Yes; you might say "but I'm not a bully". If you body shames someone, then that is a type of bullying behaviour.
The impact of Body shaming:
Making negative comments about someone's appearance, weight, size and shape can be very upsetting. It can affect how the person feel about themselves, this can affect a person's mental health causing them to experience symptoms of mental illness such as feeling anxious or paranoid about food or obsessive compulsive behaviour and fixation about their appearances. Also, having low self esteem, lack of self confidence and all this may lead to developing mental illness such as depression. In extreme cases, this may lead to one losing hope, causing harm to themselves and in some cases having suicidal thoughts.
How can you deal with this?
- If you are being body shamed, please do not keep silent about it, speak up.
- If things gets a bit too much, don't wait for till it is out of your control, seek help. This could be by talking to someone whom you will find helpful. (Not someone that will make you feel worse).
- You should consider seeking professional help, find out what service is available in your area.
- I know it is difficult but you have to train your mind to see beyond your physical appearance.
- Challenge those negative people by countering their negative comments and giving yourself a positive response.
- Self care is not selfishness, care for yourself, make yourself feel good by appreciating who you are.
- Do not be judgemental to yourself, be compassionate to yourself. People may say negative things about you but it is more difficult if you say negative things to yourself. Challenge your own negative thoughts.
Ideally, I would say, can everybody just be sensitive and caring to one another? Unfortunately there are still not so nice people amongst us. I encourage everyone reading this to be more conscious of how they treat others.
You are beautifully and wonderfully made. You are beautiful inside out. Love yourself. Be an agent of positivity.
My favourite line is always; Be kind to one another.
From your Nurse.