What Is Body-Shaming Doing To Us?


Imari McGhee, Staff writer

Body shaming has been a worldwide problem for many years. Whether it be an eye roll, a stare, a glare, a frown, or even just verbally, people body shame without even realizing it. What is the definition of shame? Shame is to make someone feel less than; to make them feel worthless, especially through the eyes of their peers. Using this term in today’s generation, people have used this certain tactic to bring shame and or harm towards others. No one may ever know or even understand why people want to bring this feeling into others’ lives, but that is why there are people in today’s society who are there to stand up and be there for those who are going through this type of shame/depression. 

Body shaming. The action or practice of humiliating someone by mocking or making critical comments about one’s body shape or size. In today’s society, teens are easily influenced by celebrities (specifically models, influencers, rappers, singers, etc). Teen girls, for instance, do everything in their power to look a certain way in order to fit in and or to be recognized. According to https://www.macmh.org, it says, “Around 30% of 10-14-year-olds are actively dieting, 46% of 9-11 year-olds are “sometimes” or “very often” on diets, 82% of their families are “sometimes” or “very often” on diets, Over 50% of teen girls and 30% of teen boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting, and taking laxatives, and Adolescent Girls who diet frequently are 12 times as likely to binge eat as girls who don’t.” By doing these different things, it is most likely to lead to a form of depression and stress which is not mentally nor physically beneficial. Trying to please others, trying to look a certain way to be noticed by a so-called “crush”, or in some cases, just to be healthier – there will always be critics right around the corner to judge you in order for them to feel better about themselves. It is not enough to be seen as a person. It is not enough to even be heard because knowing that no matter what you accomplish, no matter how many awards you’ve earned, no matter what you may do on this earth, there will always be somebody there who will try to knock you off your course to greatness, but that is where self-worth comes in handy. 

Self-worth. What is self-worth? Self-worth according to https://uncw.edu/counseling/selfworth.htmlis the internal sense of being good enough and worthy of love and belonging from others. Self-worth is often confused with self-esteem, which relies on external factors such as successes and achievements to define worth and can often be inconsistent leading to someone struggling with feeling worthy. Whereas it is important to have a solid understanding of our strengths and areas for growth, we also need to feel good enough even when we make mistakes or things do not work out in our life as we had hoped.” Body shaming has always been a worldwide problem, but in the midst of this darkness, there is always a bright light to shine upon one another. This light is a movement. A body positivity movement: to empower young men and women to be the best versions of themselves and to inspire others to do the same to never give up on the goals set for themselves, whether it be fitness goals, mental goals, spiritual goals, or personal goals. Never give up. According to  https://toledocenter.com/, it says, “This movement quickly gained popularity on the internet and in mass media. The concept of body positivity evolved as a way to counteract feelings of poor body image in society at large.” So even though there are people in the world today that body shame others, make others feel isolated, to bring self-doubt within themselves, know that you are never alone. There is always someone there that sees you struggling and is here to help.

Do people see body shaming as amusing or entertaining? Some see body shaming as part of their day-to-day routine. Just over 80% of Americans watch television daily, with the average viewing lasting over three hours per day. On a typical day, individuals ages 8-18 years old spend 7.5 hours a day engaged in some form of media. These statistics prove that mass media significantly influences the value placed on body image. Numerous studies have linked the thin body ideal portrayed in mass media to negative body issues and disordered eating among women. Mass media also provides pressure for men to be more muscular, leading to increased body dissatisfaction,” according to https://toledocenter.com. By teens spending more time on social media, it gives them a “sense” of what and how people are supposed to look and act and because most do not look that certain way or do not want to be shaped or built like the minority, some may feel the need to address the “issue”. One could be having a meaningful conversation with the individual, or it could be verbally abusing the individual, which most find to be the most effective. But what they don’t know/ and or realize is that that could be what is driving teens towards stress and depression.

Body shaming comes in many different forms. It can be your body language, the glares, the stares, the abusive words, and so much more. There are too many issues in the world to be focusing on how an individual may look, smell, or act. Mass shootings, political issues, religion, environmental crisis, mental issues, ethnic issues, and many more. But to put all of one’s time and effort into shaming someone for how they look is not ethical. In today’s world, it is important for everyone to stick together instead of apart, tearing down their spirits. No. It is time for everyone to stand strong while all these worldly issues try to tackle us head-on. Just like the saying goes,” We are stronger together than apart.” People are going to be built a certain way. They are going to be viewed in a different way. But is it really up to society to address it?