Subtle Ways of Body Shaming


15 min read

“Did you lose weight? You look great now!” It seems like a compliment, doesn’t it? A lot of the body shaming that happens around us is covert and usually veiled as a compliment or an icebreaker. Let’s wake up to the fact that body-shaming is not right. Here are some other subtle ways of body shaming that we use without realizing it.

Here is an amazing video by Anna Ginsburg who has examined the changing (but never-ending) pressures on women to conform to physical ideals.

If you find yourself constantly having negative thoughts about yourself, talk to Wysa, and try to reframe your thoughts to build your self-esteem and stay positive.

Fashion Policing

“Are you sure that’s the right dress for you? No, I mean…”

There is no need to follow “people should dress according to their body types” and such social or fashion norms are usually targeted to make you look thinner or fuller or hide flaws. Who even decides these flaws and standards of beauty? Let us all try to enjoy the way we dress, and not use it to please or judge others.

Skinny Shaming

“You’re so lucky because you’re skinny. You can eat whatever you want”.

Joking about someone because they look thin or skinny is a subtle form of body shaming. Sure, sometimes it’s just envy for someone’s great metabolism. But a lot of times, we say such things without knowing the person and their thoughts about their body well enough. Most of us are not as outraged about it as fat-shaming simply because it’s not considered offensive.

Unsolicited diet or exercise advice

Everyone loves talking about their exercise routine or diet plan, especially if it’s working for them. But we often cross this line unconsciously by suggesting diet or physical activity changes, if not directly telling somebody to lose/gain weight.

For someone already struggling with body-image issues, such unsolicited advice might simply trigger their feelings and you might push them into a circle of self-doubt and depression. So the next time we feel like advising someone about how to appear more ‘perfect’, let’s just hold back for a moment and ask ourselves if they really asked for it.

Tolerating Body Shaming

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Sure, you may read this and say, “I don’t really do any of that.” But tolerating body shaming around us also encourages the problem instead of curbing it. Whether it is by educating others who body shame, or by encouraging individuals who are body shamed around us, we all have a part to play in this game. And if we are doing nothing when we observe it, we might as well be cheering it on. Build your confidence and self-esteem by using Wysa’s self-help tools which can be beneficial not only to yourself but also to others around you.

There are many other subtle ways and jibes in our conversations that we may hear or use to refer to someone’s physical appearance. They do not fall into broad categories, but the world would be a much nicer place if we all avoided saying them and tolerating them. Let’s try one day and one person at a time, to weed out body shaming from our social interaction. And maybe, just maybe we will have a tomorrow where body image issues are not such a great cause of tragedy for individuals and society.

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