Body Shaming Affects Mental Health

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Body Shaming Affects Mental Health

Body shaming is ‘the action or practice of humiliating someone by making mocking or critical comments about their body shape or size.’ Almost every female (and many males as well) has experienced body shaming irrespective of their ethnicity, religion, caste, or race.

Body shaming is a widespread practice in our society. We see it in the media where celebrities are often ridiculed about their body shape, on social media through trolling and we also experience it in social gatherings where people comment on our weight changes.

One is too thin, too fat, too flat, too curvy, but never perfect. The idea of perfection, in fact, is a notion placed on females by society. Individuals often take extreme steps to achieve what they believe is a perfect body. The harmful effects of body shaming and the struggle to attain this perfection get overlooked in the process.

Body shaming leads to the formation of unrealistic body ideals and research has shown that there is a relationship between unrealistic body ideals and low self-esteem, eating disorders, depression, stress, and anxiety issues in males and females. For instance, social anxiety (and even fear) can result from a desire to attain the unreal expectation of an ideal body image.

Love your body. Photo Courtesy

The fear of rejection due to weight and physical attributes can cause individuals to isolate themselves. Moreover, females who have experienced relentless body shaming often feel ashamed of their natural bodily functions such as sweating, menstruating, eating, and such which become factors they work hard to keep hidden.

This ends up denying themselves quality healthcare, leading to sickness and disease.

Many different types of mental health issues can arise due to incessant body shaming.

The negative feelings and emotions of disgust, guilt, and depression become the order of the day.

There are some steps one can take for themselves such as identifying those people around them who are body positive and connect with them. It can help reduce the intensity of the felt body shaming. One should engage in self-love and self-expression, resulting in an increase in confidence and self-esteem.

Additionally, take good care of your body and focus on yourself. One should try not to force themselves into the ideal body image; rather the one should work towards being healthy.

All bodies are beautiful. Photo Courtesy

Drink enough water, eat well, exercise, and appreciate your small wins. Accept yourself. Avoid comparing yourself with others.

These steps are helpful, however, in extreme cases, there is always a need to seek professional help.

Body positivity includes acceptance, appreciation, and even celebration of all body types. Individuals should have a positive body image and should accept and be comfortable with their own body and that of others as well as be accepting any changes that may occur due to age, time, and nature.


Mercy Tyra Murengu
A 15 times award-winning Multimedia journalist accredited by the Media Council of Kenya.

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    1. Is fat really the worst thing a human being can be? Is fat worse than vindictive, jealous, shallow, vain, boring, evil, or cruel? Not to me.
      J. K Rowlings

      1. Woow if only people could reason out this way…

    2. I can relate…

    3. I second this story.. Body shaming is unacceptable. But you will still find a few people doing this.. So, I would advice that people have confidence and pride in their body structures whether short, tall, plump slender..

      Thank you Mercy Tyrah for this article.

      Lilian Ogada

      1. Well said Lilian.Thank you.

    4. Sad reality

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