Body Shaming: What it is and How to Fight It

In this era of social media when everyone is on display and every selfie is a bit too perfect, it’s easy to feel the need to look a certain way. Social media, with its global reach and easy accessibility, also opens us up to being judged by total strangers. We’ve all read those negative body-shaming comments under photos of women, by other women, and have probably compared ourselves to those photos. These comparisons can affect our self-esteem.

When your body is being judged and ridiculed by others, the simple act of looking in the mirror, posting a selfie, or walking down the hallway at school through a group of your peers, can be almost unbearable. You can feel as if everyone is judging you. And you may begin to give in to the negative comments directed at you or that are in your head. “Is something wrong with me?”

Nothing is wrong with you. How others judge us online and IRL is not how we should feel about ourselves. We’re here to show you how to ignore those body shamers and embrace your confident self! 

What is body shaming?

According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, body shaming is the action or practice of expressing humiliation about another individual’s body shape or size. It mostly affects young women and teen girls including celebrities like Rihanna and Kylie Jenner, and it can scar the mental, physical and emotional health of those who unfortunate victims. Sometimes visible, but often an ignored scenario in schools, universities, or even social gatherings, victims experience silent pain. Teens who are being body-shamed can be pushed to the verge of a total breakdown. Consumed with low self -esteem, they can carry the baggage of pain into adulthood. 

What encourages body shaming?

  1. Social media: The pressure of looking good begins with posting pictures and counting the likes, which leads to a constant obsession of keeping up with appearances. Most social media apps offer a variety of filters that slim you down or alter your skin color, simply to make you look like an idealized version of yourself. This can be especially addicting to teens, emphasizing, and instilling false beauty standards.  
  2. Peer Pressure: Being judged either for style or looks has become almost a right of passage for young women. To be popular and to avoid the ‘nerd’ label, teens end up imitating their peers, undergo eating disorders, abusing drugs, and alcohol, and other destructive habits. They even suffer from depression and anxiety. 
  3. Age-old standards: Accept it or not, we have been the victims of prejudice. Fat is not fine, short is not sweet, and the list goes on and on. These biases have challenged our vision and perception, making adolescents willing victims.

How to cope with body shaming

Hey, there! EmpowHERto believes that your smile has the power to light up the whole world. Just be the way you are and everything will follow. You know why? Because You, yes, YOU are the definition of perfect!

  1. Accept yourself:  If you won’t accept yourself, how can you expect acceptance from the world? The secret is, you are born with ‘girl power’ and you just need to unleash that.  
  2. Use Filters:  And with that, EmpowHERto means, don’t follow those beauty filters but rather filter out those in your life who are negative and surround yourself with people who matter the most. Remember, quality of life matters and not the number of friends. The rest? Well, they can find themselves in your spam inbox!
  3. Awareness: Listen, explore, learn, and above all, be aware and spread awareness. Check in with your friends to see how they’re coping. There are many people who could use a positive word or comment. Be that person to them. Now that you are empowered, EmpowHerto too!
  4. Love Yourself: Above all, love yourself! You are original and loved. You have the power to challenge and change the world. As women, we stand united, holding each other’s hand whenever and wherever needed. You are the future and girl, you are amazing, just the way you are!

EmpowHERto

Founded in 2015, EmpowHERto is a Toronto-based non-profit organization dedicated to helping 14-21 year-old women and girls reach their fullest potential.

EmpowHERto is as strong as the community that holds it up. Together, we can do more than we can do alone. Let’s bring our abilities and passions together to affect real change.

partner@empowherto.org

Toronto, Ontario