A shocking 30 million people will suffer from an eating disorder sometime in their life.
About 1,000 women die each year from eating disorders due to malnutrition, heart attack and suicide.
81% of 10-year-olds are scared of being “fat”.
51% of 9 and 10-year-old girls say they feel better about themselves when they are dieting.
9 and 10-year-olds!
Just let that sink in for a minute.
Not much gets me riled up lately quite like body shaming…Just ask my husband. 🙂 Not that he has or ever would body shame me because he hasn’t.
When we’re at home we might giggle when our “hilarious” daughter, Maddie (who so lovingly refers to me as “Mama Nori”) sometimes says in her deepest voice, “Big Mama Nori Hungry!” the lasting affects of body shaming are no laughing matter.
As you read in the statistics above, eating disorders (ED) are a serious problem for many people. And, according to the stats, ED patients are getting younger and include more people.
Some of the reported causes of ED include teasing, bullying and dieting to “look better”, all of which could be related to body shaming.
What Is Body Shaming?
According to the dictionary, body shaming is “the action or practice of humiliating someone by making mocking or critical comments about their body shape or size.”
According to Walden Eating Disorders, body shaming shows up in different ways:
- Criticizing your appearance or comparing yourself to someone else (“I’m so fat.” “She’s so much prettier than me.”)
- Bashing another person’s appearance to their face (“You’re never gonna get a date until you lose 20 pounds.”)
- Criticizing another person behind their back (“At least you look better than him.” “She’s so skinny. I know she’s anorexic.”)
So, mindbodygreen.com, said in a recent article that body shaming can include the following behaviors:
- A focus on dieting instead of nutrition (dieting focuses on looking a certain way, nutrition focuses on nourishing our body)
- Refusing to ever indulge (it’s healthy to allow yourself occasional treats)
- Idolizing body types presented by the media (God makes us all special, unique and created for a purpose)
- Shaming people who are ‘’too skinny’’ (enough said)
- Judging the variety of body types in the exercise room….or office, grocery store, etc. (see above)
- Judging others for conforming behaviors, despite understanding pressure we face from society (Can you relate?)
- Judging personal expressions of sexuality (believing certain body types should only wear certain styles of clothing)
- Not knowing our own bodies (such as avoiding looking at yourself in a mirror)
- Defining beauty simply as a look, rather than a state of mind (believing beauty is only skin deep and missing the more meaningful attributes which make us who we are)
Dr. Jennifer Greenberg is a research director at Massachusetts General Hospital. She works with patients who suffer from severe fixations on their appearance. When asked about the constant barrage of the media influence she had this to say:
“The more that you’re exposed to these unrealistic, unattainable ideals, the more you’re likely to compare yourself or even compare others to those ideals, and the worse you tend to feel about yourself.”
Let’s Get Personal
Have you ever experienced body shaming?
If so, how did you feel? Angry, hurt, or maybe even empowered?
Did you confront the body shamer?
Or, maybe you were the one doing the shaming.
Trust me. I’ve had plenty of “open mouth, insert foot” moments in my life, so let’s just be honest here.
What do you think led you down the path of body shaming in the first place?
Were you feeling lonely? Jealous? Or was it something else?
I think it’s important that we as a society examine what causes people to think body shaming is okay. In many circles is seems to be harmless acceptable norm.
May I just say, NOOOO!
It’s not okay, and we’re doing ourselves and our children a huge disservice by overlooking body shaming.
We need to confront body shaming when it happens. We don’t have to be all in your face about it. Just address what was said and how it makes you (or others) feel.
Body shaming is a real problem in our society. It’s something people do to others. It is also something we do to ourselves and is not healthy.
It’s essential to confront body shaming when you witness it. Talk about how it makes you feel so you can work towards developing a healthy body image.
What are your thoughts or experiences with body shaming? Please share below in the comments section. I love hearing from you and will reply to your comments as soon as possible!
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