The Harmful Effects of Body Shaming

The Harmful Effects of Body Shaming

Making anyone feel ashamed of their body won’t motivate them to lose or gain weight. On the contrary – it will produce a boomerang effect. There is no middle ground with body shaming, and this needs to stop asap!

We are witnesses to body shaming on social media. Most content suggests you are far from that slim, magazine-cover type. From the perspective of social media – you are always going to be either too skinny, chubby, too hairy or busty.

Sadly, a great deal of us gets the message we are never going to be accepted, desirable, or beautiful. If you don’t fit into the mold, you are going to become an object of verbal abuse and bullying. Being aware of the harmful effects this is causing will make you never, ever scoff at anyone for the way they look again and help you accept yourself just the way you are, for the sake of your mental health.  

A Total Crush of Self-Esteem and Confidence

Most obese people experience verbal abuse due to their physical appearance. People mock their food choices, make presumptions, etc. Don’t buy their “health activism” attitude, as it’s nothing but bullying. Listening to hurtful words about oneself can feed the self-hatred obese people feel already. On the other hand, we can apply all this to anorexic people, too. Patterns are the same, as well as the responses.

A person can gain or lose weight under the pressure of other people’s comments and still be bullied for numerous other reasons. The worst scenario is being called “bitchy” just because you’ve gained some confidence and became more of a “normal” type. Thinking negative comments about one’s physical appearance would end once this person makes a change is completely wrong. Instead, the reality is totally opposite.

A list of attributes one has to meet in order to be perfect is endless. Spinning in this circle makes you feel like you are never enough. The more you try, the more of your flaws come to the forefront, crushes one’s confidence to that point it’s almost impossible to take it back.

No matter what you do, you are never going to meet everyone’s expectations. Yet, even if you would be able to, would it be worth all the trauma that follows?

Poorer Overall Health

Weight discrimination and fat-shaming can cause stress, which further leads to gaining/losing weight. Yet, more importantly – massive weight loss or gain can trigger other health issues, mostly chronic diseases.

Increased cortisol levels, diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, arteriosclerosis, cardiac conditions, and myocardial infarction are just a few risks people going through stress due to body shaming are exposed to. We live in a hectic world where stressful life events occur on a daily basis. Any additional triggers can worsen our condition, especially with people that are already facing verbal abuse.

Speaking of genders, women and men are experiencing different medical conditions. Yet, it seems females are in a less favorable position here due to being naturally more prone to chronic conditions such as lupus, migraines, anxiety, and fibromyalgia. These conditions can only get worse under the pressure of unrealistic, cruel beauty standards, and body shaming on social media.

Denying Oneself Leads to Illness Mental Illness

You have people struggling with exercise bulimia and anorexia, eating disorders that have to do a lot with one’s mental health. Body shaming a person who deals with these conditions can cause them to feel even worse about themselves.

Treating a person with exercise bulimia terribly, convicting – that’s just an extremely rude act towards someone who is coping with a disease that has taken over their body and mind. Anorexia nervosa is an already life-threatening condition so why would anyone contribute to making this person feel even worse?

Bullying contributes to sticking to unhealthy behaviors even more. In some cases, it makes a person think they have little to no control over their body or their life.

On the other hand, there is BED – binge eating. It is characterized by eating huge amounts of food in a short time span even if a person doesn’t feel the urge to eat. The major trigger to BED is emotional stress one tries to suffocate by eating uncontrollably.

Yet, what follows is even worse. One can feel ashamed, lost, like they have no control over themselves, similar to what happens with exercise bulimia.

Discriminating anyone due to their weight can cause depression (especially with people with severe obesity) and trigger a whole list of mental issues. What is more, obese people are up to 12 times more likely to commit suicide and 21 times more prone to suicidal behavior than other categories.

Why Body Shaming Needs to Stop?

  • It is not a way of expressing concern or encouragement. Tough love is not helpful with people struggling with their weight.
  • Studies conducted in the last couple of years proved the constant mention of one’s physical appearance causes stress and denial in that person.
  • We all should accept one’s right to live a life they want without humiliating them for their choices on their body image.
  • There is no thing such as ideal body or ideal weight.
  • Shamers aren’t comfortable in their skin either and thus, need to show more social acceptance towards others while accepting themselves, too.

Summary

Shaming someone based on their healthy/unhealthy choices is unacceptable. We can never know what someone is going through, thus we should not judge but offer compassion. Who gave us the right to make comments on how other people look?

After all, doing so speaks for our own insecurities. Body shaming needs to stop, now! Let’s try to be more comfortable, in peace with our bodies, and show more kindness towards each other. Allow ourselves to let your guards down and embrace yourself and other people regardless of any shapes and sizes.

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