Body shaming isn’t something that affects people of one body type; it affects a variety of people across the spectrum.
In a society consumed by social media, body shaming has become such a prevalent topic. Because social media takes away key interpersonal communication aspects, many people feel that they can say whatever they want without any real repercussion. In addition, body shaming happens in real life as well–like when someone offers an unsolicited negative comment about your appearance.
Another common misconception is that body shaming is just about bodies. Body shaming is more than about body types and is actually anytime someone takes time to negatively comment on your physical appearance.
Below you will read stories by amazing women who aim to change the way we view body image and share their experiences with body shaming. As you will see, it doesn’t affect one type of person or body. We’ve all had our fair share, so let’s take the touchy taboo out of the subject and talk about it!
Fitness expert and YouTube Star
“You look like a skeleton”
“Look in the mirror, you look scary”
“Go eat a cheeseburger.”
“Do you even eat?”
“You look anorexic.”
Speaking as somebody who has lived with these comments publicly, even lost jobs over it, hearing these comments is just as hurtful and just as damaging. Watch my personal Why Are You So Skinny? interview.
Here’s the thing: healthy looks different on everyone. No one has the authority to diagnose or determine health based on looks.Let’s remember that the purpose of the body positive movement is to make every person feel comfortable in their skin regardless of their body size. This isn’t a polarized issue between shaming “fat” and “skinny”. It’s not okay to objectify and dehumanize anyone simply because of their size or appearance. It’s simple, just don’t do it. Don’t engage in it.
Join Katie, Healthy is the New Skinny and I, in the beginning of a new and wonderful movement! #stopbodyshame
Crossfitter, blogger and body image advocate
Growing up I was bullied about my body and my weight. I was called “lard-ass” and was made fun of about how much food I was eating. I hated my body and and in turn led me to having an eating disorder and extremely low self-esteem. I struggled for years with my weight and tried every diet and diet pill. It took me years to unlearn everything I thought about myself and slowly learn to love my body again. I’m finally at a place where I’m healthy and happy with who I am and love my body. But sadly, the body shaming has not stopped. The more followers I seemed to get on my Instagram
, the more negative comments and nasty internet trolls there were. At first the comments really hit me hard. But I’ve surrounded myself with such positivity and have educated myself about body-image and have gotten to a place that I know people’s thoughts about my body have nothing to do with me, and everything with them. Everyone needs to start standing up against body shaming. Your body shape or weight should never be someone else’s topic of discussion. It’s your body and you should be able to enjoy it without fear of others judging it!
Body positive warrior, self love enthusiast, and ED Survivor
For me, the kind of body shaming I’ve experienced has been mostly accusations of attention-seeking. People assume that because I’m not as curvy as the majority of the BoPo community, that I don’t struggle with my body, or that I’m just fishing for compliments. I’ve been called fake; I’ve been told that because of the way I look, the work that I do undermines the real mission of body positivity; I’ve been accused of accepting promotions and sponsorship (I don’t) and benefiting financially from the plus-size community’s hardship – that one hurt me the most, actually.
But I always have to remember: the people who comment with negativity and hatred are struggling. Everyone’s experiences are different, and whatever it was that led up to that person making a hurtful comment on my photo is not my place to judge.
Body image advocate and blogger
One of my greatest concerns when it comes to my project @powertoprevail is the comment section. Not because I am afraid of them BUT I worry about my followers reading the comments and saying “SEE! That’s why I HATE my body!” or internalizing the comments because they relate to my image and words but see something contradictory in the comments. So I have made it a point to respond to any and all shaming in my own way. Yes, I can delete the comment as though it never existed but I want to make sure that I take the power of shame on and prove what The Force is stronger.
What does Star Wars have to do with body shaming? A while ago I wanted to help others understand why I am not afraid of putting my pictures up on the internet or the body shaming comments that comes with them. The first thing that popped into my head was a montage of scenes of Emperor Palpatine (really bad guy) and the lines he used to manipulate Anakin (Darth Vader) and Luke. When you’re watching the films you can clearly see his intent is to use fear/hate to control those he knows are more powerful than him. He gets to know their deepest fears and exploits them shamelessly. He knows that if he can control them then he stays in control. So folks on the internet who do not know or will ever meet me assume I am afraid of being called fat, ugly, disgusting, or rude for showing my body in public (all of which has happened) and wait eagerly for me to become upset or angry, but I don’t. I simply respond with Star Wars references.
Speak the truth I do. May the force be with you.
Model and body image advocate
I’ve been all across the board with weight I’ve been unhealthy at 250 and unhealthy at close to 150. It wasn’t until I found balance through a healthy lifestyle of not being extreme on either side of the spectrum that I can now say I’m happy and healthy. I’ve had people make negative comments in regards to my weight and my body all all stages but the important thing I remember is someone else’s opinion of my body doesn’t depict my self worth or value. People will always having something to but remember “your body your choice no one else has a say over you and your body, so let the hater hate.
Blogger, ED survivor, and activist
I’ve had acne for as long as I can remember. While I got a lot of my mom’s wonderful qualities, I also inherited her skin.
My mother didn’t want me living through the same bullying hell that she had gone through as a teenager, but by trying to ensure that I avoided her same fate, she monitored my skin extremely closely at home, which created a hyper-awareness about my looks that I’ve been unable to fully shake since elementary school. I still remember my first boyfriend dumping me in 7th grade because I had bad skin.
Before my site, Do The Hotpants, became a body positive hub, it was a simple fashion blog. But during those first few years of blogging, I was so terrified to show the “real me,” that I used Photoshop to hide every zit, line, and wrinkle.
While therapy and self-work has helped me get to a better place of self-love over the years, and I’ve since stopped using Photoshop on Do The Hotpants. Not only did my mom’s body shaming experiences emotionally scar my her, it ensured that her insecurities and shame were passed down to me, permanently altering the way I viewed myself and my value in this world.
Always remember: If it’s not your body, it’s not yours to comment on. Because even when we think we are helping, we might be actually be hurting.
Model and body image advocate
My experience with body shaming started at a very young age. I was always bigger than my girl friends growing up, yet always seemed to be on a “diet” and eating less than them. It was very hard seeing this and trying to understand why I wasn’t built the way they were. I was teased until about 10th grade, but more recently with social media People love saying rude comments because they don’t have to say it to your face. Some people aren’t aware, but I’ve gone through quite a health transformation, so when I see comments of people calling me fat on my images, they have no clue that I’m healthier than I once was! Thankfully I’m a confident woman now and these comments don’t affect me. I know my worth and will never let anyone attempt to make me feel bad about myself.
Fitness enthusiast and blogger
I’ve always been a confident person; however, growing up, my family was uncomfortable with me being overweight. Every time I ate a snack or went for seconds at dinner, I was told I was fat and didn’t need whatever it was that I wanted. After hearing that enough times I would get frustrated and upset. My mom would give in and let me eat snack or have seconds, but then my sister would call me names, like “cow,” “beast,” and “fatass.” It hurt growing up having to hear those words, because my body never bothered me. I would cry in my room, write in my diary that I wished I could stop being so hungry all the time and then brush it off and keep going. While it came from a place of love, it was still hurtful. As I got older, I learned that these words, were just that. Words. Yes, very hurtful ones, but they eventually stopped bothering me. I told myself that I was enough. I might have been a chubby kid, but I didn’t care, I loved myself anyways. Just remember people will say things about other’s bodies out of love and hate and no matter what it’s important to keep what you think of yourself in the forefront of your mind. When you love yourself and your body, no one can bring you down, no matter how hard they try!
Model and body image advocate
What kills me the most about body shaming is that I was incredibly fit and healthy when it started for me. I played soccer 5 days a week and ate a moderately healthy diet but I had big, strong and muscular legs. Because people shamed me for my strength and the size of my legs, I became self-conscious and was looking for any possible way to become thiner. It was at this point that I resorted to unhealthy measures to try and make my body something that it wasn’t naturally built for. I snuck diet pills, I closet ate, I tried starving myself and the list just goes on and on, I tried everything. Nothing was ever good enough and nothing lasted long term. My weight constantly fluctuated but my self-esteem stayed at a constant low. After adjusting my own mindset I was able to put my health first and I’m finally confident enough to know that my body is strong and healthy just the way it is no matter how other people see it. I stay very active and I eat well but most of all, I feel good.
Public speaker and advocate for Alopecia awareness
I have had countless experiences with body shaming… It comes with the territory of being a bald woman. Being bald is associated with weakness or sickness- and often times I am categorized accordingly. People assume something is “wrong” and treat me as such.
One particular time happened not so long ago, when I was finishing up washing my hands in the women’s restroom when a woman asked me to leave. Her comment was, “Excuse me sir, this is a women’s restroom!”
As I slowly turned around to correct her statement using some choice words, you could read her every emotion:
First, anger and frustration. Then slowly confusion, guilt, and finally embarrassment.
It’s funny how people react when they’re placed in a situation such as mine, but when she accused me of being a male using the wrong restroom- she gave me the opportunity to educate her on awareness for hair loss in women. No one should feel less feminine because they don’t have hair!
Dietician and media personality
When I was curvier, people used to tell me “You’d be so much prettier if you lost some weight”! When I lost 25kg after recovering from binge eating disorder, the same people complained that I looked too skinny. I learned that you can’t wait for someone else to approve of your body before you accept your own beauty. If you do, you’ll be waiting forever. People who are insecure about their own body are the first to judge other people’s weight. It’s their body issue to deal with – not yours! I no longer wait for someone else to tell me I am beautiful or the ‘correct’ weight. I have become so comfortable in my body, my curves, my rolls, my imperfections and my innate beauty. My weight no longer defines who I am or dictates if I am beautiful enough. I know I will never be a supermodel but I’m vibrant and healthy and confident af, and I think there is something truly beautiful about that!
Model and body image advocate
I am so excited about the #stopbodyshame movement ! Working in the industry has really thickened my skin just based on the body shaming alone. When posting a photo of yourself on your social media, or when clients post photos of you – it opens a door for very insecure people to share their negative opinions. I have had countless negative comments about my weight, health, hair, face ..onetime someone even took a jab at my kneecaps. It used to really affect me in the early stages of my career, I used to be scared to post photos even if it was for work. It took a while, but I then realized that I have nothing to be ashamed of–the people doing the body shaming are the ones that are insecure and have the issues that stem from deep inside.
We all need to come together and stop body shame together!
Body image advocate on health journey
I was a teenager in the late 80s/early 90s, so plus size “fashion” did not exist. The “plus size section” was usually one circular rack in the middle of the women’s section at Kohl’s, Target, Sears, Kmart, etc. I basically had those racks to choose from, or sometimes I shopped in the men’s section because those clothes ran bigger. One day when I was in high school, I was wearing a bright orange shirt tucked into a pair of jeans. I walked into the lunchroom and grabbed my tray as I looked for my friends, I walked past a table of football players. One of them got everyone’s attention and started singing super loudly , “Here COMES THE SUN, little darling” because I was “big” and was wearing an orange shirt. Everyone who heard him started laughing and I was so embarrassed. It hurt at the time, but it’s sort of interesting to look back on now…since my nickname is Sunshine. I didn’t have a voice then, but I certainly do now. I want all of us who are in a role to influence the younger generation to take a stand, and stop the body shaming cycle. The things that happened to us growing up that made us feel badly about our bodies were awful – but let’s turn it into a positive. Talk to the girls that you have in your lives. Even talk to the dads and brothers about the fact that jokes about someone’s body can last a lifetime, even if they’re only teasing. Quit talking negatively about your body in front of these impressionable kids. They see someone they look up to unhappy with their body, and it just passes on the cycle of poor relationships with their bodies . Maybe for life.
Fitness enthusiast on health journey
I feel as though body shaming has been a part of my everyday life ever since I could remember. Of course there are the days when I’m feeling fab and I think no one can touch me but those days are sometimes few and far between. I constantly have to jerk myself out of that body shaming mindset because, let’s be real, we do it to ourselves way more than other people do it to us. I’ve experienced body shaming while at the gym, while hanging out with friends, and when I’m alone. The thing about it is, society thinks body shaming is completely normal and we’ve been brainwashed to think the same. I think it when I’m at a restaurant “Better get the salad, don’t want anyone commenting on my food choice not being a healthy one,” or shopping for clothes, “I can’t wear that, people will think I’m trying too hard because I’m a big girl.” It’s everywhere, you see it on the covers of magazines or on the sides of buses, “How to get rid of that unwanted belly fat?” or “The trimmer, fitter, better you in 10 days!” It’s crazy how it’s so normal for you to think you aren’t good enough for societies standards just because your body is different. What I find myself doing the most is comparing myself to others and when I do, it only makes my life harder. I try and overcome my own body shaming days by focusing on my accomplishments. I focus on how successful I am at my workplace, my education, how kind I am to my friends and family or even how far I’ve progressed with my health and fitness journey. Everyone is entitled to a bad day but in order to fix it you must fix your mentality. I’ve learned to focus on me and my life because it’s the only one I’ve got and I want to make sure I make the most of it!
We want to hear your stories! Share your body shaming story by tagging @healthyisthenewskinny and #StopBodyShame!