Playboy model Dani Mathers learned the hard way that body shaming is never, ever acceptable. If you haven’t caught the headlines, the model posted a photo of a naked woman at her gym captioning it, “If I can’t unsee this then you can’t either.” Shortly thereafter, she was fired from her recurring role on a radio show, been banned from all LA Fitness locations, and the incident was reported to the police. Mathers later apologized explaining that she’s new to Snapchat and that the Snap was meant for a friend. I think we all know body shaming sucks so why do we do it ourselves or others? I’ll be the first to admit I’m guilty of body shaming myself and as harmless as it might seem, it’s not okay. There are so many good reasons to replace those negative thoughts or comments with body positivity; keep reading for seven compelling reasons to stop body shaming.
1. It’s Hurtful
First and foremost, body shaming is hurtful. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing it to yourself or someone else, no one wins! You can end up feeling bad or even worse about yourself or you can seriously hurt the feelings of someone who was doing nothing but minding their own business. You know the saying, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about?” We’re all struggling with something and it could be his/her weight.
2. It Can Cause Weight Gain
Body shaming, when done to yourself, can sometimes spur weight loss at the beginning but studies have shown that it can actually have the opposite effect in the long run. A 2014 study by University College London found that fat shaming doesn’t lead to weight loss and actually gained about three and half more pounds than those who didn’t bring any attention about their weight. When the target of body bashing is someone else, it can also cause them to eat more and gain weight due to stress based on an article published on PubMed.
3. It Can Harm Your Mental Health
According to journals published by the American Journal of Public Health, The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, and PLOS, body shaming can cause depression, eating disorders, suicidal behavior, and low self-esteem. You might think your comments are meant to be a joke or even that you’re trying to be helpful but as you can see, there can be serious consequences to yourself or others.
4. It Can Be Damaging to Your Health
Fat shaming, skinny shaming, or any kind of shaming at all can harm not your mental health but also your physical health. It can literally make you or someone else sick by causing infections, diarrhea, headaches, and overall lower self-rated health according to The Journal of Behavioral Medicine. Feeling miserable physically combined with feeling down and depressed is just an awful way to have to live.
5. It Makes You Less Likable
Some might assume that body shaming someone or themselves with their friends can bring them closer together and create a bond. The truth is, it actually does the reverse and makes the body shamer appear less likeable to others reports the University of Notre Dame’s 2013 study. They found that no matter the body shamer’s size, they were viewed as less likeable after making negative body comments. There are so many better things to bond over or win your friends over with like helping him with his homework or helping her wash her car.
6. It Perpetuates a Shallow Society
These days, anyone can be the subject of criticism. It’s not just celebrities who are expected to look a certain way anymore. Social media, HD everything, and society basically expects us all to conform to their idea of desirable. Think about it, if we all conformed to the expectations of others in terms of our appearance, there would be no individuality or independence! There are so many more worthy things for us to spend our time thinking about and trying to improve!
7. It’s Dangerous
Body shaming is dangerous to everyone involved. As you can see from the results of the studies mentioned above, it’s not helpful in any way. Bullying or shaming yourself or someone else about their appearance is much, much more likely to cause irreparable harm than any possible good. Don’t allow yourself or anyone you know to get caught up in body shaming. There is simply no place for body shaming in our lives!
Body shaming is pervasive and it can be extremely hard to not be negative about your appearance or the appearance of others. But, try to take the step away from body shaming and negativity by starting with yourself. Counter those negative thoughts with positive ones! Pick out three attributes that you love about yourself and encourage your friends to do the same. Just like body shaming has become so common, positivity can also be contagious. Do you have any tips to help improve body positivity? We’d love to hear them!