When you’re looking at the mirror, what do you tell yourself about your appearance?
We hope that you tell yourself that you are beautiful and amazing, because self-reproving thoughts like “I look really fat and I wish I’m slimmer,” or “I look too skinny and I hate it” can make you sick.
No, sadly we are not just talking about how thinking bad about yourself affects your mental health. We are talking about how negative comments about your body, which contribute to body shaming, can actually make people physically ill.
A recent study from Bucknell University suggests that by always measuring themselves against the standard of beauty, people tend to “feel bad about their bodily function”, such as menstruation and sweating. This behavior makes people become “less responsive to those bodily functions”, thus making them “do a worse job evaluating how healthy they are,” Huffington Post reported.
Body shaming, the act of shaming someone for their body type, has proven to be dangerous through multiple studies. Mic’s article on the Bucknell University’s study cited some studies that have suggested the wide-ranging effects of body shaming. For example, a 2014 study by University College London suggests that fat shaming does not encourage people to lose weight. Instead, people on the receiving end of body shaming actually gain weight.
British supermodel Cara Delevingne recently opened up about how modeling made her feel insecure about her body and hurt her self-esteem. Some of us might find it eye-opening that such a big figure in the fashion world talk very candidly about her experience, which reveals how toxic the industry is.
It is time to put body shaming to an end. What we have been perceiving as the “ideal body type” is not feasible and unhealthy on so many levels. Instead of encouraging people to “become healthier,” body shaming only leads to people having less healthy body. Remember, one’s body shape or BMI does not define how healthy you are, and a healthy body you can love and be proud of is what we need to have.
Check out the facts about body shaming here.
Read Aqila’s piece about her unpleasant experience of being body-shamed.
Aqila Putri is a sophomore studying at Wesleyan University, trying to pursue her degree in Economics and International Relations. Her daydreams consist of owning a bakery and a kitchen like Gordon Ramsay's. Hit her up at @aqilalistya to talk about food, cat, and social justice.