Why do individuals feel uncomfortable in their own bodies? Where do ideas come from that bodies have to look a certain way or else they’re not good? All generations have dealt with these questions. These negative thoughts that all people have about their bodies often comes from body shaming in the media.
Body shaming is everywhere in media.
This article begs the question, “did you ever stop and think about how often we are told to change our appearance?” It goes on to mention how media outlets subtly body shame when they offer tips about losing weight and getting rid of or at least hiding imperfections. It also mentions that sitcoms and movies play a big role in body shaming, as an overweight character’s body is often the basis of many jokes. Many times, these forms of body shaming are dismissed, as they often appear harmless. Unfortunately, this type of media negatively affects many, especially teenagers.
Teenage girls are susceptible to feeling body shamed because they are still developing and vulnerable to what society expects them to look like. One way that teen girls often feel validated for their appearance is through social media feeds. They often seek ratings on their “hotness” and “cuteness”. Receiving a lot of likes on a selfie often boosts their self-esteem. Unfortunately likes on a picture doesn’t boost self-esteem for long. Teenage girls still compare themselves to peers along with paying close attention to media’s view of beauty.
But, media’s view of Beauty is not achievable.
A few years back, the company Dove presented an Ad that shows how media creates their ideal perception of beauty through Photoshop. Therefore, when teenage girls look at these ads and try to replicate the model depicted, they will continuously fail. This causes them to feel worthless and unattractive. This causes them to feel body shamed.
While media may not purposely try to body shame, others on social media do.
Celebrity Emma Watson fell under scrutiny when she was ridiculed for her photo shoot with Vanity Fair and exposed the underside of her breast. Media lashed out and claimed that Watson abandoned her feminist values by modeling in this way. Media attempted to take away Watson’s choice of posing in such a way because media deemed it as inappropriate.
Emma Watson would not take critics remarks about the photo shoot. Rather she stood up for herself and her feminist beliefs by stating, “Feminism is about giving women choice. Feminism is not a stick with which to beat other women. It’s about freedom, it’s about liberation, it’s about equality. I really don’t know what my t**s have to do with it.”
Celebrities like Emma Watson can help fight body shaming by responding in a way such as Watson did. Watson has been known to fight against body shaming, empowering teenagers to do the same.
Parents also can help boost their teenage daughter’s self-esteem and protect them from body shaming by doing a few different things, according to netdoctor.
Parents are encouraged to steer clear of screens to prevent their children from being manipulated by media. They should also set an example to their children by treating themselves with respect and love in order to fight against negative views. Finally, this article encourages mothers to reflect on their daughter’s natural beauty rather than encouraging them to wear make up.
Unfortunately, body shaming will always be around. Therefore, girls need encouragement from all those who love them. When this begins to happen, they can also stand up for themselves. That’s what 17-year-old Nevonnie Pinnock, winner of Miss Teen St Thomas 2017, did.
Nevonnie takes her self-confidence that she developed and gives advice to other girl by saying, “my advice to girls who are uncomfortable with their bodies is to be proud, accept who you are and be optimistic about life. Someone admires you, and it’s only fair that you begin to recognize the beauty others see in you. Embrace who you are. Many have felt insecure and uncomfortable before and they got through it. You don’t choose the family you are born in, your genes, your physical make up but as a girl, a young lady, woman, strive to become the best you possible.”
In conclusion, one person can’t fight body shaming. Groups need to come together and support one another. Body shaming may always occur to an extent but if both women and men fight against societies skewed view of the human body, people can begin to feel empowered and gain a self-confidence like never before.