Eve Ensler, the American playwright/performer, once said: ✋"Stop trying to fix your body. It was never broken."; this hits home for many people, including myself. Ever since I started puberty, at a younger age than expected, I have always been told that I was too big; therefore, I should eat less, plus do more sports. These comments hit hard when I was younger because it made me feel that there was something wrong with the way I was. As a result, I started (over) exercising 💪, and eating less 🥦, making me weak and tired 😩
. I realized that I was striving to appear thinner than becoming healthier. Body-Shaming others isn't right, but neither is shaming yourself as it leads to young adults lacking self-confidence, self-worth, and self-esteem. This problem is prevalent worldwide and needs to be addressed. I set out a goal to become a healthy and confident girl. It was not an easy goal to achieve, but there is a list of simple ways to prevent getting affected by body-shaming and making yourself believe just how beautiful YOU are.
Body-Shaming happens for two main reasons.
📌 Firstly, 85% of people worldwide are insecure and unconfident. In the article, "Body Shaming: What Is It & Why Do We Do It?", Erika Vargas states that, "if we don't, we worry that we are at risk of being the target of someone else's body-shaming comments". In other words, people worry that if they don't take the action of insulting someone else's body, someone will try and insult them. The article also states that people have started making body shaming a social norm to make them "fit in". Somehow by all of us being insecure, we feel united. By criticizing aspects of our bodies, we happen to bond or connect with others who lack confidence in their own skin. Therefore, today's society seems to gain fake confidence by shaming others.
📌 Secondly, Social Media's influence on people's perspective of this issue is greater than people's own will to decide whether it is fake or not. They make it seem like something is wrong with a certain body type. Erika Vargas also states that "Messages from the media and from each other often imply that we should want to change, that we should care about looking slimmer, smaller, and tanner." The media tries so hard to display the wrong images, implying that we need to change to match the "perfect body" to believe in our beauty. Discrimination of people regarding their skin color, size, or shape is also a common problem with the media. According to the article "Social media effects on body image and eating disorders" by Bella Fleps, "Social media can then hurt your body image by constantly exposing yourself to the ideal body type, leading to a constant comparison of yourself to unrealistic standards." (Fleps). The effects of social media on young or even older people negatively compare them to an idealized figure. The strong influence of today's social media regarding this issue has a lasting negative effect on the minds of all people.
Nevertheless, you only have to take three concrete steps to stop being a target and target others with body shaming.
✅ Building healthy habits is one of these steps. It means creating a set of habits that work best for your own body and mind. It may include eating a nutritional diet, exercising frequently, or taking care of our body and mind.
✅ The second step is finding the aspects of your personality or specific talents that make you feel proud. By doing so, you will feel very confident about yourself and your abilities. You need to accept who you are and believe in yourself even if no one else is willing to.
✅ The third step is to believe in your beauty. You don't have to seek anyone's approval to believe in your own beauty. Nor do you have to fit into a fixed mold to be beautiful. You just have to focus on your strengths and uniqueness to feel confident about your beauty. These steps will help you stop being a perpetrator or victim of body shaming.
👉 The impact of body shaming, whether it is because of our insecurities or social media influence, is devastating for our future generation. We can stop this. Imagine a world 🌍where we aren't judged for how we look but respected for who we are. Imagine social media as a platform to help solve problems or drive a positive change! Imagine being loved ❤️ and appreciated 👏 for what we do. I have decided to start my day by appreciating my strengths, my beauty and my potential. How would you want to start yours?
Written by Renuka Nukala