The Harmful Effects Of Body Shaming

The Harmful Effects Of Body Shaming

This has got to stop.
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Body shaming, a term that has become all too popular recently because humans are obsessed with appearances. We create these standards that we have to live up to and then ridicule those same standards when we realize that they are unattainable. We criticize the way that others look but then shame them when they do the same to us. We have separated ourselves into categories based on the way we look. It’s fat against fit and it is wrong.

What people don’t understand is what body shaming really does to an individual. It destroys their confidence. Instead of holding your head high -- you scan the floor because you don’t want people to notice you. Instead of feeling beautiful, you feel disgusting -- like an alien in your own skin.

It turns into unhealthy habits such as extreme dieting or excessive exercise. It turns into forced fingers down your throat or not eating at all. But it’s not just one sided either. People who are thin also feel the effects of body shaming. Telling girls that “guys love a woman with curves” so that they feel inferior to thicker women is just as bad as telling a woman that she is fat. Just like telling someone that they need to eat a cheeseburger because they are too skinny is not a compliment. Both fat and skinny people are becoming too critical of themselves because of comments made by others. People of all sizes spend too much time examining their bodies in their mirrors, picking at their flaws and hating the way they look. Making someone feel badly about the way that their appearance, when it is already hard to be comfortable in your own skin, is the worst thing that you can do to an individual, period. It has the power to make someone feel unlovable. It causes so many insecurities that they can’t even love themselves let alone expect someone else to love them. That is something we shouldn't wish, or inflict, upon anyone.

Body shaming has to stop. We have to stop tearing people down because they don’t fit the standard that we created in the first place. We also have to stop judging people based on their appearances. There is no lower place than hating yourself because of the way you look and it is not fair that we are pushing people to that point. We need to be accepting of all body types. We need to encourage each other rather than bring each other down and we have to understand that our bodies are different, both inside and out. Our bodies are beautiful, whether we are thick, thin, curvy, or not we are flawless. We were created to be different, and we need to learn to love those differences.

Cover Image Credit: qz.com

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An Open Letter To The Girl Trying To Get Healthy Again

"I see you eating whatever you want and not exercising" - Pants
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Dear girl trying to get back in shape,

I know it's hard. I know the hardest thing you may do all day is walk into the gym. I know how easy it is to want to give up and go eat Chicken McNuggets, but don't do it. I know it feels like you work so hard and get no where. I know how frustrating it is to see that person across the table from you eat a Big Mac every day while you eat your carrots and still be half of your size. I know that awful feeling where you don't want to go to the gym because you know how out of shape you are. Trust me, I know.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Trying To Lose Weight In College


The important thing is you are doing something about it. I'm sure you get mad at yourself for letting your body get this out of shape, but life happens. You have made a huge accomplishment by not having a soda in over a month, and those small changes are huge. I understand how hard it is, I understand how frustrating it is to not see results and I understand why you want to give up. Being healthy and fit takes so much time. As much as I wish you could wake up the day after a good workout with the 6 pack of your dreams, that just isn't the reality. If being healthy was easy, everyone would do it, and it wouldn't feel so good when you got there.

Remember how last January your resolution was to get back in the gym and get healthy again? Think about how incredible you would look right now if you would have stuck with it. The great thing is that you can start any time, and you can prove yourself wrong.

Tired of starting over? Then don't give up.

You are only as strong as your mind. You will get there one day. Just be patient and keep working.

Nothing worth having comes easy. If you want abs more than anything, and one day you woke up with them, it wouldn't be nearly as satisfying as watching your body get stronger.

Mental toughness is half the battle. If you think you are strong, and believe you are strong, you will be strong. Soon, when you look back on the struggle and these hard days, you will be so thankful you didn't give up.

Don't forget that weight is just a number. What is really important is how you feel, and that you like how you look. But girl, shout out to you for working on loving your body, because that shit is hard.

To the girl trying to get healthy again, I am so proud of you. It won't be easy, it will take time. But keep working out, eating right, and just be patient. You will be amazed with what your body is capable of doing.

Cover Image Credit: Stock Snap

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Dealing With Self-Harm And Overcoming It

Mental health matters and overcoming it is possible.

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Recently, there has been a controversy over whether mental illness is a real illness or not. After dealing with depression, anxiety, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts since I was 13, I can give my opinion that mental illness IS, in fact, an illness.

This past Monday, I reached an extensive milestone in my life. I am now one year clean of self-harm. Whenever my issue first arose, I never believed I would be able to pass it. I believed that it would be something I dealt with for the rest of my life. Mental illness is not something that you choose. It pops up out of the blue one day and takes control of your life. You let it manipulate you and take advantage of your weaknesses and hold power over you. I let it hold power over me for six years. Finally, I found the courage to break out of that manipulation and take control of my own life again.

Self-harm was a part of my routine for such a long time that I never expected it to go away. It was there in my times of sadness, my times of anger, and my times of need. I believed it to be my only source of comfort. I believed that it would solve all of my problems. In the end, I found out I was wrong. Hurting and damaging myself and leaving behind scars was not going to help me out of this state of mind, even if it felt like my only option. I had to hide underneath sweaters and jackets and cardigans for so long that I didn't want to do it anymore. Wearing long-sleeved shirts and hoodies in the dead of summer and being asked why I was wearing them never got easier. I figured the first step in starting my recovery was to stop hiding who I was and to let my scars be free.

Being free was what I decided to do. I let my scars be seen, which was completely terrifying at first. I thought that everyone around me would notice them and have something to say about me. I expected to be called a freak. Luckily, no one even noticed. That was almost comforting to me–to realize that I didn't need to hide what wouldn't be noticed. After a while, though, those closest to me took notice. They asked me "Why would you do this to yourself?" over and over again with tears in their eyes. I told them that I felt like it was my only solution to deal with all the hurt and the pain I had collected over the years. That's when I noticed I wasn't hurting just myself. That was when I decided to try becoming a happier and healthier person.

Now here I am, one year later: No self-harm, no thoughts of suicide, and feeling less depressed and anxious. I took back control of my own life. Being public about my problems was something I never believed I would do, but I realized that it actually helped me grow as a person. It was freeing to be able to share my experiences and not be embarrassed. Sure, every once in a while I had a few mental breakdowns, but I held back the "need" to harm myself to make the pain go away.

I turned to another thing to make the pain go away: My friends. I never realized how much love I had around me. I always pushed it away. I had someone to listen to me and help get me through my tough time. I didn't need to keep everything bottled up and harm myself to make it feel better. I had love and comfort–two of the strongest things in the world. I had finally started on the road to health and happiness and I wasn't making any pit stops along the way.

Mental illness occurs more often than you think and signs are being shown everywhere. If you know someone suffering, don't be afraid to reach out and give them some help or just a shoulder to cry on. If you or a person you know is having suicidal thoughts, please don't be afraid to call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

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