Let's talk about body shaming

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Body shaming is a topic that I've touched on previously when discussing thin privilege and diet culture, but I think it deserves a whole post of its own. The term body shaming has been so normalised and accepted as part of our lifestyle and honestly, the level of normalcy around it makes me feel unwell as it's not right.

If you're someone who has experienced body shaming or wants to learn more about how to stop it, let's talk about body shaming.

Let's talk about body shaming

What is body shaming?

Body shaming is mocking, belittling, or saying rude comments about someone because of their shape and size. It can range from what are meant to be 'jokey' comments to full-on insults and anything that's under the umbrella of shaming someone for how their body looks.

Examples of body shaming

Body shaming is one of those things that is a lot more common than we actually think, and plastered in front of our eyes in our everyday lives. As I've grown older, I've come to realise how often people are body shamed, especially women. The more I've started noticing it, the more I'm appalled that all of us have grown up in a world that thinks it's okay to body shame others. Here are a few examples of body shaming:

  • Social media - Probably the most apparent source of body shaming in today's world is the wonderful and toxic sphere that is social media. I love social media, I really do as it's a way to connect with others, learn and share our lives with people online, however, it has its major drawbacks like body shaming. Growing up, when Tumblr was at its peak and the thigh gap was in, I can remember how shamed people were if they didn't look like that. And, that mentality is continued today. The body confidence and acceptance movement have done wonders for diminishing it, however, it's still prominent on many platforms where random people online think it's okay to comment on someone's body in a negative way. It's these unnecessary comments that cause people to feel bad for the skin they're in.
  • Tabloids - The thought of tabloids makes my skin crawl with how many journalists rip apart celebrities for the way they look, especially if they're not 'bikini body' ready. I actually feel ill when I see headlines like 'x has put on x amount of pounds in their latest holiday snaps.' Why do tabloids feel the need to publish that? The worst thing about newspapers and tabloids is that they're now online too so these hurtful stories are plastered all over the internet.
  • Weight comments by people you know - The topic of weight is a controversial one in terms of how it's spoken about. But, when it comes to the topic of body shaming, weight comments are probably one of the biggest contributors. It could be a passing comment from a family member like 'you don't need that slice of cake' or 'so and so would look better if they lost a few pounds'; these comments may come from a 'nice place' but really, they're body shaming. There is no need to comment on someone's body and how it looks. 
  • Representation in the media - This isn't directly 'body shaming' as it were, but it is highlighting the fact that as a society, we prefer to have one body type on a pedestal and keep this unaccessible standard to what we should look like. Lack of representation of normal bodies and a wide variety of shapes is just feeding people to body shame, whether it's themselves or others - as were conditioned to believe being skinny is everything.
  • Negative connotations around natural bodies - Body hair. Cellulite. Bloating. Stretch marks. These things and more are still seen as unattractive and ugly to many people, but especially in the media, when really, they are normal parts of the human body. By saying we need to shave all our body hair, have a constant flat tummy, or get rid of any blemishes is shaming the natural body.
  • 'Plus size' being deemed as bad - This links into the representation of the media but plus size clothing or how it's promoted is one, not as much the 'normal' range clothing but also, it's done in an artificial way. Most 'plus' size models aren't showing the real and normal size of plus size clothing but an airbrushed view - which again, feeds into body shaming more as normal plus size people don't look like that. They have normal bodies.
  • Fatphobia and thin privilege -We live in a society where being skinny is praised and being fat is the worst thing in the world, and we're often shamed if we put on a couple of pounds or go up a dress size. Weight fluctuates throughout the day and even more so as we get older, that is normal. Bodies change. But the constant need to be thin is shoved down our throats with picture-perfect models, the unrealistic body type, and favouring thinner people in the way the world is marketed. You can read more about this in my thin privilege post.

How we can stop body-shaming 

Body shaming isn't an easy fix as it has been ingrained in us from a young age with every type of influence around us, from the way we socialise, shop to the way we eat, that it takes a lot of unlearning. However, there are things you can implement to stop body shaming.

  • Promote the body acceptance/confidence movement - The body confidence movement came about to celebrate bodies who aren't represented heavily in the media such as plus-size bodies, and a way for us all to accept our bodies for exactly what they are. It's a movement that has taken off and something I'm glad of as it's a process of helping young people learn that their body is normal. And all the things they don't like about it, they can accept and make their body what it is. Promoting this movement of body acceptance and confidence pushes the body shamers aside as it helps us show as a society that we love our bodies no matter what the haters say - and it reinforces the idea that everybody is beautiful and doesn't deserve hate.
  • Praise real bodies more - This follows onto this point. I love hyping everyone up in real life and online as I believe we all deserve to feel good about ourselves. However, I always see the praise for the perfect-looking people (who obviously deserve to feel good) but the same energy needs to be given for the normal bodies, for those brave enough to share the imperfections, the flaws, and everything that makes us human. No body is perfect.
  • Boycott companies that don't show diversity - There are so many clothing companies I've swayed away from buying now as they only promote one body type so I don't want to fund that mindset by my shopping habits. By people taking a stand and not buying from certain companies or contacting the companies to make a difference, can be a huge step forward in normalising normal bodies.
  • Accept and love your own body - The person's body we shame the most is our own. It really does start at home when practicing acceptance as if we don't view ourselves as having a fab body, how can we reciprocate the energy to other people? Loving our bodies is the first step in unlearning this body-shaming behaviour.
  • Social media audit - Social media is a toxic paradise for body shaming, with trolls at their worst online, sending hateful comments to everyone they can find. And with everyone trying to get the perfect photo, it can make us feel bad about ourselves and then shame ourselves. This is why it's so important to only follow the accounts that bring you joy and make you feel good about your body.
  • Call people out when discussing weight - I really hate anyone who comments on weight even if they're trying to make it out as a compliment as really, it's not a necessary comment to make and puts the attention onto weight. If you see someone make a rude comment about someone's weight, even if it's not you - call them out. By doing this and doing it regularly, it'll get people in the pattern of learning that what they're saying is wrong.
  • Don't get lost in diet culture lies - Diet culture kills all the self-love and acceptance we have for our bodies. It's there to make us buy into unnecessary products and make us think we need to change when we don't. Don't let diet culture feed you lies. If you see posts about diets and toxic topics online, block, report, delete - it'll do you wonders.
  • Surround yourself with positive body influences - Surround yourself with people who are passionate about normal bodies and body confidence as their views will have an effect on you.
I hope you enjoyed this post. What other tips do you have?

Thank you for reading <3

67 comments

  1. Completely agree with all of this! Body shaming and representation in the media is a huge issue x

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  2. It's so true that body hair and stretch marks are things that we shame women for - I never considered that part of "body shaming," but it totally is. Whenever I'm wearing shorts or a tank-top and realize that I haven't shaved in a few days, I automatically feel self-conscious when really, it shouldn't even matter!

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  3. Hi Della, this post is incredible and very honest. I love it. I have never really been subject to body shaming until I started doing YouTube and people LOVE to comment on my body and not always in a nice light. Really hope people start to change as it's not acceptable! Alicia

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    1. No way, I'm sorry to hear this has happened to you! Thank you for your lovely comment xx

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  4. Nice thoughts. Very relatable. Reminds me of the song scars to your beautiful. You don't need to change the world could change it's heart.

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  5. I always try never to mention someone's weight - as far as I'm concerned it's irrelevant unless they bring it up.
    And tabloids and glossy mags? Ew. I'm glad I don't read them any more because they're still as vile as there were in my teens.
    Cora | https://www.teapartyprincess.co.uk/

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  6. Great post! Body shaming is the worst, however it happens (it could be a small thing, or it could be full bullying). Thanks for sharing this insight x

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  7. Ruth| Ruthiee loves Glamour23 August 2021 at 03:56

    In my opinion, body shaming is unacceptable. I don't have the perfect body but I never let anyone body shame me. If someone tells me "You are fat". I tell them well that's your opinion, I love myself and I am not fat. I don't body shame people either as I think it's absolutely wrong to say shit about someone's body just because it looks a certain way.

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  8. Great post! We feel bad for celebrities who are body shammed. We remember it was really bad a few years ago with the actress who played Alisson on PLL.

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  9. I have received comments on my weight from my own grandparents for a bit now. To say it hurts, it's an understatement. And you are right, I should stop their comments, but somehow I just stay there and listen, without a word coming to mind, not even STOP! I just wish it was easier. I have been trying to love me for who I am, so I will try and keep on that. Thank you for this article, Della. It was a great reminder of what I am meant to be doing and why.

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    1. I'm so sorry to hear that, it can be so hard when it's a family member. You are worthy and you are beautiful x

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  10. This post is amazing! I hate anyone that body shames people to make themselves feel better. It’s an awful thing to do and I think you’ve highlighted that really well. Loved today’s post, thank you so much for sharing Xo

    Elle - ellegracedeveson.com

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  11. Nobody -- *absolutely nobody* -- can self-loathe or hate themselves into happiness so anyone who body shames another person is just wanting to hurt someone; they're causing harm and they know it. It is literally a bully technique that crosses over into abuse. I wrote a poem (which I linked to in the name/url comment) and it's my go-to response whenever anyone body shames me ... "Your approval is not required". Great post!

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    1. This is so true, thank you lovely! I'd love to read your poem x

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  12. Completely agree with this blog, its amazing and all are facts as in hopes in the future the body shame to be less.

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  13. I grew up with so much body shaming in the opposite way, I've always been smaller than average and I don't think there was a single day of my teenage years there wasn't some eating disorder joke or something about getting some meat on my bones/ jokes about looking like a kid etc. I always felt so lucky that I was happy in my size other wise it could have been so detrimental. Obviously society still gave me thin privilege to an extent so I didn't have it as rough as a lot of people, but I love that quote in your featured image, soooo accurate x

    Sophie
    www.glowsteady.co.uk

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    1. I completely get this, I was the same growing up!! Thank you for sharing your experience xx

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  14. Love this - talking about body shaming is so important! I haven't really experienced this before, aside from the off comment from family members, so this was so useful to educate myself more. Society still has a long way to go and needs to realise there is no such thing as a 'perfect' or 'normal' body - all of them are beautiful! Thanks for sharing x

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  15. I love this post. It's amazing how people don't realise that we can so easily body shame. It's almost part of how we speak. I once heard someone say 'don't comment on someone's appearance unless they can change it in under a minute'. For example, if they have food in their teeth. But not anything that is part of them. It's so damaging this narrative we have in society now.

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  16. I loved reading this post Della. Media and weight representation is a huge issue and the media need to promote all body types and not focus so much on body shaming etc. Social media can be quite damaging for someone's confidence and self esteem, especially the issue of comparison with others online x

    Lucy | www.lucymary.co.uk

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  17. Totally agree with this! Body shaming is such a big issue & I think it's one we're almost conditioned with from an early age. I'd hate to be a teenager these days with what you see on social media. The tabloids are something else as well! Don't even get me started on that. For me, being pregnant, there's the elephant in the room of 'snapping back' to your pre-baby body, that'll be the next thing I've got to face. I'd like to think I've got a good head on my shoulders though, I do what you've suggested in the tips & I think it's going to really help. Amazing post as always!

    Claire.X
    www.clairemac.co.uk

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  18. I had been through this experience, I would say no one is perfect. People should be body shaming. This is how I usually stop. It's not good doing it to others.

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  19. I love this post so much. It is such an important topic and we definitely should praise "real" bodies more and learn to accept and love our own as well!

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  20. As always, SUCH an important and true post Della! Body shaming is so gross and I hate how as a society it's deemed as completely okay. I remember a few years back when pictures of Molly Mae from love island were released and people were being VICIOUS to her. It was so gross and completely unnecessary - I don't know how social media stars deal with it tbh xx

    mia // https://beautiful-inspiring-creative-life.com

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  21. Yes to this post. I recently had someone body shaming me on Twitter that I'd never met or even spoken to. I think clothing companies need to do more to include all shapes and sizes in their clothing campaigns too.

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    1. Thank you!! I'm sorry you went through that xx

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  22. This is such a fantastic post. I don’t think we realise how much body shaming happens around us! I have had comments before “you need to eat more” or pointing out how I am eating and how much I eat etc. I have also been around people that have said the “she would or he would look so much better if they were skinnier”. I am not perfect myself and I have probably said things and not realised but I also try to compliment people too. For example, telling someone in the street I love their outfit or their scarf or it might be complimenting my work colleagues for something they have done. Xx

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  23. Great post, there's so much I agree with here. And love the tips too, surrounding yourself with positive influences and learning to recognise toxicity and lies makes such a huge difference to your way of thinking!

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  24. Really great article Della! I love all the points you've made. And I agree, it's NEVER ok to comment on someone else's body.
    About 8 years ago I stopped shopping in Zara. I had gone into one of their shops in Dublin, wearing a size 10 pair of jeans and a size 8 top. I wanted to try on a dress that I liked but after trying on the medium and it not fitting, I tried on the large and that still wouldn't close on me. I was horrified that my size was considered an XL. Now, I knew myself and my body and while that might have upset me years before, I was in a place where I could shrug it off. But I was upset for everyone else! I thought this is why young girls have body confidence issues, when big stores like Zara are telling them that they're considered extra large. I wrote to Zara but never received a response so I haven't shopped there since!

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    1. Thank you!! Oh wow, I'm sorry you went through that and I agree with you sizing is one of the reasons girls have body confidence issues - good for you for taking a stand xx

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  25. Great post, and I completely agree. I have a post similar all about body shaming and that was originally posted in 2016 and its awful that it's still so prevalent in society. Nones body is anyone else's business.

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  26. Great post! I think we are making progress with these kinds of topics but there's still too much body shaming in those awful magazines that photograph celebs!

    Corinne x
    www.skinnedcartree.com

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  27. Calling people about, especially in your own circle, about any negative remarks they are making opens up room for discussion and learning on both sides, but I know it takes courage to do!

    Love your tip for a social media audit and for shaping one's own social circle and friends into a positive, diverse community!

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  28. I was having a conversation about body shaming and how it was in the media when I was growing up with my mum. I showed her my social media now and she said there is a difference but we all need to work harder. I'm so hard on myself but I can also be judgemental to others and like what the hell is that about!?
    Totally agree with everything you've said - thank you for always putting these themes into my life

    Rosie

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    1. It's so ingrained in us all that's the unfortunate thing! Thank you xx

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  29. I saw something recently that said the world's most beautiful and desired woman was Marilyn Monroe, with a belly, cellulite, and almost zero toned muscles. We need to remember what we see in photos nowadays often isn't real. Fab post, Della z

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  30. This is very detailed and very informative.

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  31. This is such a necessary post. THANK YOU for writing it. When I lost weight and was looking the best (by society's standards) that I ever have in my life, I dated a guy who was afraid to look at my body. This dumb religious scruple. So even when I was 'thin' I wasn't doing it right. I stopped fussing about my body when we broke up and now I'm trying to get healthy (not thin) again. Looking through my old clothes and seeing my favorite things no longer fit me is really hard. I've struggled with this a lot.

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    1. I'm so glad it helped in some way, thank you for telling me your story!

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  32. Body shaming is horrible & I've received my share of comments on & offline. It did mess up my body confidence, but I've slowly learned to accept & love my own body. I've also been following a lot of body acceptance accounts on Instagram & it's nice.
    It's also disgusting how tabloids attack celebrities for their appearance!

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  33. I try not to, but I am super guilty of this practise. I am really hard of myself. This is a journey that I am on to try and show myself more self love and care. Be positive about myself. Thank you for sharing this informative blog post about a topic that should be spoken about more.

    Lauren - bournemouthgirl.com

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  34. Oh, I loved this post, Della! I have always been plus-sized and although, I am a confident person, certain family members or people from my culture would always make fun of my as a child and it was awful. How could you body shame a child who was born like that? Crazy to me looking back. Thanks for sharing x

    Lynn | https://www.lynnmumbingmejia.com

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  35. Love this post. As a fuller-figured female, I can relate to a lot of the things you share on here. I definitely believe that social media has played a huge role in the emphasis of this issue and posts like yours can really help make a difference. Thank you! M xoxo

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  36. Great post Della! I completely agree that we should all praise each other no matter what our body type is -- we're all amazing. I've always had an issue with the lack of mid-size representation in the media/online. It seems like either the classic 'model' figure is praised or the 'plus size model' look is praised, but there's a total lack of representation for mid-size (which most of us are!). Really enjoyed this post :)

    https://www.femaleoriginal.com

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