Essay on Body Shaming
Students are often asked to write an essay on Body Shaming in their schools and colleges. And if you’re also looking for the same, we have created 100-word, 250-word, and 500-word essays on the topic.
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100 Words Essay on Body Shaming
Understanding body shaming.
Body shaming is the act of mocking or criticizing someone’s physical appearance. It is often linked to weight, size, or shape but can also include skin color, height, or any other physical attribute.
Consequences of Body Shaming
Body shaming can lead to self-esteem issues, anxiety, and depression. People who are body shamed may feel isolated or unworthy, which can have a devastating impact on their mental health.
Rejecting Body Shaming
Rejecting body shaming involves promoting acceptance of all body types. It’s important to remember that everyone is unique and beautiful in their own way.
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250 Words Essay on Body Shaming
The pervasive issue of body shaming.
Body shaming, a prevalent social issue, is the act of mocking or criticizing individuals based on their physical appearance. It is a destructive practice that permeates our society, largely propagated by unrealistic body ideals portrayed in the media.
Implications of Body Shaming
Body shaming can have severe psychological implications. It can lead to diminished self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and even trigger eating disorders. Furthermore, body shaming does not only affect the individual’s mental health but also their physical well-being, as it can result in unhealthy lifestyle choices.
The Role of Media
Media plays a significant role in perpetuating body shaming. It projects an unattainable image of perfection, leading individuals to feel inadequate and pressured to conform. This constant comparison with idealized images can fuel self-loathing and body dissatisfaction.
Combatting Body Shaming
Combatting body shaming requires a collective effort. We need to challenge societal norms and promote body positivity, encouraging acceptance of all body types. Education can play a pivotal role in this, teaching individuals from a young age about the diversity of human bodies and the importance of respecting others’ physical appearances.
In conclusion, body shaming is a harmful practice that needs to be addressed. It’s crucial to promote a culture of acceptance and respect, where individuals feel comfortable in their own skin. By fostering body positivity and challenging societal norms, we can strive towards a society free from the detrimental effects of body shaming.
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500 Words Essay on Body Shaming
Body shaming, a pervasive form of discrimination, has become a global phenomenon that affects individuals of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. It involves criticizing oneself or others based on real or perceived physical attributes. This essay explores the concept of body shaming, its impact, and potential solutions.
The Concept of Body Shaming
Body shaming is an act of humiliation where individuals are made to feel ashamed or uncomfortable about their bodies. It can manifest in various forms, from subtle comments about one’s weight or appearance to overtly discriminatory actions. The advent of social media has amplified the issue, providing a platform for anonymous users to make derogatory comments with little to no consequences.
Psychological Impact of Body Shaming
The psychological impact of body shaming can be severe, leading to low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and in extreme cases, self-harm or suicide. A study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that adolescents who experienced body shaming were more likely to develop eating disorders and lower self-esteem. This psychological trauma often extends into adulthood, affecting an individual’s personal and professional life.
Body shaming not only affects individuals but also has wider societal implications. It reinforces harmful stereotypes and norms about beauty and body image, leading to a culture of discrimination and exclusion. It affects societal cohesion, as it fosters an environment of negativity and judgement, rather than acceptance and inclusivity.
The media plays a significant role in perpetuating body shaming. Advertisements, movies, and TV shows often portray unrealistic beauty standards, contributing to body dissatisfaction. Social media platforms, while providing a space for self-expression, can also be a breeding ground for body shaming, with users often comparing themselves to carefully curated, and often edited, images of others.
Combatting body shaming requires a multi-pronged approach. Education is vital in promoting body positivity and acceptance. Schools, families, and communities need to foster environments where diversity in body shapes and sizes is celebrated. Media literacy education can also help individuals critically analyze media content and resist internalizing harmful beauty standards.
Moreover, policies need to be implemented to discourage body shaming. Social media platforms should have stricter regulations to prevent body shaming and promote respectful interactions. Legal measures could also be considered to penalize those who engage in overt body shaming.
Body shaming is a pressing issue that requires urgent attention. It is a form of discrimination that has far-reaching psychological and societal implications. By fostering a culture of body positivity, implementing effective policies, and promoting media literacy, we can combat body shaming and create a more inclusive and accepting society. The fight against body shaming is not just about promoting body positivity, but also about advocating for respect, equality, and dignity for all, regardless of physical appearance.
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Body shaming is one of the biggest problems in today’s generation. Society doesn't just find humor in degrading a woman's body; they also find humor in degrading a man's body. Body shaming has become a problem for both genders. People take their own insecurities and aim them at other people to make themselves feel better about their own body. Body shaming, while common in both genders, is especially harmful to women. Ariana Grande received a comment after being compared to Ariel Winter. “Curves are sexy sticks aren't,” the comment said. Ariana then fought back basically saying how in no way is this okay. Celebrities such as Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, and Jonah Hill have also been victims of body shaming by many people throughout the Internet. Comments like these are why both guys and girls have such low self-esteem. Body shaming is causing teens nowadays to be insecure. Today’s generation does not see wrong in expressing their opinion. That is true, but shutting out anyone with a different body type than them is not okay. “We live in a time when tabloids routinely question whether female celebrities are pregnant and dissect their bikini bodies” (“ It’s a Shame Body Shaming Is Part of American Culture” ). I read an article on the internet about body shaming that said between one third and half of young girls fear becoming fat and engage in dieting or binge eating. It also said that girls as young as five years old are worried about the way they look and their size, and one in four seven year old girls have tried to lose weight at least once. Also, one third of young boys aged 8-12 are dieting to lose weight. These statistics on both men and women indicate that body shaming has the power of negative affects on someone. People, with pure intentions of insulting someone, constantly throw around “her body is so flat,” and “He’s fat, that makes him so ugly,” and “you need to lose weight.” Nobody chooses the body they have. Everyone is born into that body without a choice. If someone is healthy then it should not matter what they look like to anyone but their own. What is a “perfect body”? Magazines put the spotlight on thin girls, and for the most part cancel out girls that are not a size 0. This is to make a picture of the “perfect body”. That is not realistic. Society has created this image that the “perfect body” is a body someone must have or he/she is shut out, meaning people see their body negatively. "If people learn that everybody is human on the inside, than they will realize that they are human on the outside and they will stop judging other people's bodies," freshman Tyler T. said. We should not be body shaming. We should be motivating, supporting, and encouraging each other. Until everyone realizes that, body shaming will continue to be an issue. Body shaming is an issue that will not be solved unless everyone learns how to accept their own body, and until magazines quit perpetuating this myth of a perfect body.
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What is body shaming?
Causes of body shaming, effects of body shaming, how to turn body shaming into body positivity, turn body shaming into body positivity tip 1: cultivate self-love, tip 2: replace negative self-talk, tip 3: manage time spent on social media, tip 4: make friends with food, tip 5: reach out to someone you trust, how to help a loved one with body shaming, body shaming: the effects and how to overcome it.
Hearing negative comments about your appearance can impact your body image and leave you feeling anxious and self-conscious. But there are ways to manage fat shaming or other critical comments, and achieve body acceptance.
Body shaming involves humiliating someone by making inappropriate or negative comments about their body size or shape. As well as “fat shaming,” you may also hear negative comments if you’re underweight or in reference to a specific body part.
This type of criticism can be made to others or yourself. You may feel unhappy with your weight or how your body looks and judge yourself harshly. You may even engage in negative self-talk, such as “I feel so fat today” or “I need to stop stuffing my face with food.”
The act of body shaming can be carried out in person or remotely via the internet and social media and can be done by your parents, siblings, friends, or people you’re not even close to.
Even in a joking manner, remarks about what you eat or how much food you consume constitutes body shaming. Giving someone advice about dieting or praising weight loss is also considered body shaming, whether intentional or not. Often, your friends and family members don’t want to hurt your feelings, but their comments can still be of a critical nature. They may not realize the negative effect that questions like “Have you lost weight?” or “Do you really need to eat all of that?” can have.
While nobody is immune to societal pressures to look a certain way, comments about your body are unnecessary in any context. Whether the body shaming is being done by yourself or others, there are ways to overcome the problem, build body positivity, and learn to look at yourself in a more compassionate and realistic way.
Social media and body shaming
Social media often emphasizes physical appearance and makes it easy to post hurtful comments about others. The overall message is often that you should strive for the perfect body and find ways to hide your flaws. This can have a huge influence on your body image.
Body shaming on digital platforms is related to cyberbullying, but there are ways to fight back against those who body shame online, overcome the pain and anguish they cause, and reclaim your sense of self-worth.
See Cyberbullying: Dealing with Online Bullies .
Our “selfie” culture emphasizes outward beauty and we’re constantly bombarded with images of glamourous celebrities in magazines, advertisements, TV shows, and other types of media.
What you see every day on TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram can understandably make you feel envious of others or focus your thinking on your physical appearance and any perceived flaws. You may struggle to live up to these standards and experience negative feelings and judgements about yourself. This can become destructive when it diminishes your self-worth and body image.
A fixation with how you look can create unrealistic expectations that are impossible to achieve. Even when you know that these idealized images are digitally altered or enhanced, it’s easy to fall into the trap of unfavorably comparing yourself—or others.
Speak to a Licensed Therapist
Body shaming in teens.
Adolescents are particularly vulnerable to body shaming, weight shaming, and appearance-based shaming. In the teen years, your attitudes and beliefs about body image and self-esteem are largely influenced by your family members, peers, and social media. Mothers can often be role models for their daughters, for example. If your mother is continually complaining about her own shape or weight, or pointing out problems in how you look or eat, it’s bound to have an impact on how you view yourself.
As you develop during adolescence, it’s normal to be highly sensitive to comments about body shape, weight, and appearance. Weight-related bullying during adolescence contributes to negative body perceptions and preoccupations with specific body parts. Adolescents who are overweight are particularly vulnerable, and this can often lead to depression .
You might think that only teenage girls are the victims of body shaming, but boys can also be affected. They may be particularly concerned about not being muscular enough in relationship to the popular concept of masculinity.
Even supermodels and prima ballerinas have insecurities and imperfections, but we still tend to perceive them to be the ultimate representations of beauty. If you don’t measure up to these standards, you may feel inadequate and unworthy. And if you experience body shaming by others and take their negative comments to heart, it can lead to unhealthy behaviors and mental health problems, such as:
Having a negative body image is one of the main factors for developing disordered eating or an eating disorder , such as anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating.
You may start a diet that involves restrictive eating in an attempt to change your body shape or size. But such dieting can spiral into harmful behaviors like skipping meals, fasting, vomiting after eating, excessive exercising, or overusing laxatives. Over time, you end up depriving your body and brain of essential nutrients that are necessary for optimal health.
Body shaming comments such as “Did you lose weight? You look so much better,” can be triggering and create more disordered eating habits in an attempt to maintain or lose even more weight.
Experiencing body-shaming can interfere with your self-image and make you feel extremely self-conscious. This can escalate into body dysmorphic disorder , where you become obsessed with a perceived appearance flaw that can create repeated avoidance behaviors.
Your daily life can become consumed with concerns about a small flaw, or one that is not apparent to others. You may constantly look at yourself in the mirror or avoid mirrors altogether, conceal body parts you don’t like, pick at your skin, or frequently ask others if you look okay.
If you are constantly ashamed of your body, it can also impair your performance at school and interfere with your relationships with peers, teachers, and family members. Fears about being judged by others may cause you to limit or avoid social activities.
[Read: Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)]
Severe symptoms of BDD can result in you dropping out of school because you’re unable to cope with the constant level of distress. You may even develop depression or suicidal thoughts and behaviors .
Being physically active is normally one of the best things you can do for your health and well-being. However, if it becomes an addiction and you engage in compulsive exercising, it can lead to persistent fatigue, injuries, and susceptibility to illness or trigger anxiety, depression, or irritability.
If you are exercising compulsively, you may also start to withdraw from social situations as exercise becomes your main focus. Excessive exercising can progress into a syndrome called Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S) which occurs when your calorie intake is not sufficient for the amount of energy you are expending to maintain healthy functioning.
Anxiety and depression
Body shaming can trigger or worsen existing symptoms of anxiety and depression. If you are body-shamed in public or on social media, you may try to avoid going to school or other situations where this shaming might occur. You may withdraw from others and feel isolated and alone .
Hearing critical comments about your appearance can also be humiliating, heighten your insecurities, and damage your self-esteem. Consequently, you may engage in negative self-talk as you internalize these feelings of worthlessness. You may tell yourself things like “I am a bad person” or “I am completely worthless.” This can escalate into extreme loneliness, depression, anxiety, and poor body image.
Physical Health Issues
Fat shaming, in particular, is rampant in our society as obesity is associated with being lazy, unattractive, and lacking willpower to lose weight. In one study, over 70% of adolescents reported being bullied about their weight in the past few years. This can be harmful to your physical as well as psychological health.
Rather than being a motivating factor for losing weight , fat shaming actually has the opposite effect. The stress has been linked to a reduction in physical activity and the consumption of more calories.
[Read: Childhood Obesity and Weight Problems]
Being the target of weight bias and discrimination can also affect your metabolism, lead to further weight gain, and increase your chances of becoming obese. This in turn can elevate the risk factors for high blood pressure , high cholesterol, heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and other physical health problems.
In recent years, there has been an effort to reverse the body shaming emphasis and promote more love and acceptance of how we look. Social media platforms have utilized body positivity hashtags to gain more followers and help address the appearance-based prejudices that have been ingrained in us.
Of course, it will take time to change longstanding ideals of beauty. We have all internalized these messages in different ways based upon our cultural beliefs and norms. As the saying goes, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” and this also holds true for our views about various body shapes and sizes.
How to build body positivity
Body positivity is a continuous journey towards accepting yourself and others. It takes patience and practice to alter longstanding cultural beliefs and learn self-compassion. You can’t control what others say or do, but you can change your all-or-nothing thinking and start to view yourself as a whole person.
Following these basic steps can help you overcome body shaming and build body positivity:
- Cultivate self-love.
- Replace negative self-talk.
- Manage your time spent on social media.
- Make friends with food.
- Reach out to someone you trust for guidance and support.
The first steps to protecting yourself from body shaming are to stop body-shaming yourself and develop self-compassion. Remember that your health status takes priority over your physical appearance, and that should always be your primary concern.
Don’t hide or isolate yourself from others . We all have days when we don’t look or feel our best, but don’t let this destroy your self-esteem or sense of worth. Take a step back and think about the critical inner dialog you are imposing on yourself. Is this really an accurate representation of who you are? Say “no” to yourself when you’re looking in the mirror and feeling disgust for your face or your body.
Treat yourself with kindness and understanding , as you would a best friend. Taking care of yourself is not a selfish act; it’s necessary for your personal well-being. Exercise, eat healthy food, enjoy the company of people who care about you, and spend some time outdoors to refresh your body and your mind.
Manage stress . Experiencing body shaming can be extremely stressful. Relaxation techniques such as exercise, meditation, and deep breathing exercises are all good ways to build resilience and prevent you from feeling overwhelmed by negative experiences.
[Read: Stress Management]
Embrace the power of your body . Our bodies serve us well on a daily basis to function effectively and keep us healthy. Rather than being upset about your appearance, express gratitude for this “sacred vessel” you inhabit. Take notice of simple things you often take for granted, such as breathing, blood pumping to the heart, and your miraculous senses. The most important thing you can do is strive for a healthy body, which is separate from your feelings about your weight and desire for perfection.
While you can’t control what others say about you, you do have the power to focus on the positive aspects of yourself, rather than dwelling on any perceived flaws. Learning to accept your own imperfections will ultimately free you from placing unfair judgments on yourself or others.
Replacing negative self-talk with positive thoughts and affirmations can be useful for making you feel better about yourself and your body.
Shift your focus to the things that you like about yourself . For example, if you have beautiful hair or eyes, this is just as important as the features you dislike or that others try to ridicule. The next time you look in the mirror, notice these positive attributes.
Instead of repeating negative messages, accept yourself without criticism . You can tell yourself: “I accept my body just as it is,” or “My body is strong and healthy.”
Be proud of your individuality . Your value as a human being is worth much more than your physical body. Remembering the positive qualities that you bring to the world is the foundation for attaining body acceptance.
Start off with body neutrality . If you’re not quite ready to embrace body positivity, work towards having body neutrality. That means you are accepting and respectful of your body, without having to either love or hate it. When you practice body neutrality, you place the emphasis on what your body can do, rather than what your body looks like. For example, you can remind yourself: “My legs enable me to walk and run long distances.”
Don’t body shame others
Research shows that when you promote body positivity to others, you also feel more positively about your own body. Surround yourself with people who are courteous and treat others with respect. Avoid bullies who engage in body shaming and talk about the flaws of others.
Establish boundaries with your circle of friends and make it clear that you will not tolerate comments about your body or weight. You can also set an example by standing up for others who are the targets of body shaming.
Spending too much time on social media can add to your anxiety, loneliness, and body dissatisfaction, reinforce unrealistic expectations of yourself, and expose you to body shaming and cyberbullying.
[Read: Social Media and Mental Health]
If you reduce your time on social media, you will be able to participate in other activities that elevate your mood and tap into your creative potential. Try:
Connecting to others in-person . Cutting down or stepping away from social media can give you an opportunity to connect in-person and improve the quality of your social interactions. Communicating face-to-face is nature’s antidote to stress and can be a lot more rewarding than texting or messaging.
Physical activities like walking, running, swimming, dancing, and other fun sports. Being active is important for your overall health and well-being and can help increase your confidence, self-esteem, and sense of accomplishment.
Practicing mindfulness through yoga, meditation, deep breathing, or journaling.
If you are shamed or ashamed about your weight, it’s easy to develop an unhealthy attitude towards food. Mindful eating can help you remember that food is not the enemy and whatever your weight, you can still find enjoyment in eating.
To make friends with food and eat more mindfully:
- Tune out all distractions while you’re eating, such as phones, TV, and other types of multitasking in order to enrich this pleasant experience.
- By concentrating on the present moment and accepting your thoughts and feelings, you can savor each bite, eat slowly, and respond to your body’s needs.
- Planning nutritious meals ahead of time or trying out new recipes are other great ways to make friends with food.
You may feel embarrassed about confiding in someone about the body shaming you’re experiencing, but there’s no reason you have to handle this on your own. Reach out to others for guidance and support and let them know what you have been experiencing.
It’s crucial to find someone you trust and feel comfortable sharing your feelings with. Having a safe outlet to express your emotions can help you cope with the distress and humiliation of being body shamed.
If you need additional assistance in the recovery process, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with a licensed mental health counselor or therapist. They can offer unbiased advice to help you feel more empowered and heal from the effects of body shaming.
If a friend or loved one is being body shamed by others, your compassion and understanding can be invaluable.
Let them know you are concerned and how much you care about them. You can say, “I feel worried that you are always talking about your weight,” or “I feel sad when you speak negatively about your appearance.”
Be patient and listen to their concerns . Don’t assume that you know what your loved one needs, but rather ask how you can best support them. They may just want a shoulder to cry on, someone to listen to their worries without judgment.
Try to shift the focus away from your loved one’s body to something else you admire about them. For example, you can remind them about their wonderful sense of humor, how smart they are, their adventurous spirit, or highlight a particular talent they have.
If your child has been body shamed
It can be extremely hurtful to learn that your child or teenager has been body shamed. But like any bullying or cyberbullying behavior, there are steps you can take to deal with the problem—or even help prevent it before it starts.
Educate your child about body shaming . Let them know that people can sometimes be cruel to each other and how your child should value and respect both themselves and others. Remind them that body shaming in any form is unacceptable.
Talk to your child’s teachers or school administrators if the problem is occurring at school.
Encourage your child to seek new friends if their current ones are engaging in body shaming. Enrolling in sports teams, youth clubs, and after-school activities are great ways for your child to expand their social circle.
Be a good role model . Speak positively about your own body and catch yourself if you say something negative about your own appearance. Try to use body-positive or body-neutral language to set a healthy example.
Reduce the time your child spends on social media . Be aware of what your child is posting and reading about on social media platforms. The more you know about your child’s life online, the sooner you’ll be able to identify and address any body shaming issues.
Reassure your child . Let your child know that you love them unconditionally for both their inner and outer beauty. Refrain from criticizing or teasing a child or teenager about their appearance, even in jest.
Encourage a healthy lifestyle that nurtures your child’s body—but keep the subjects of appearance, weight, and dieting out of the discussion. Focus instead on what your child’s body is capable of. Remind them how well their body serves to help them run, jump, draw, play a musical instrument, or solve puzzles.
Bolster your child’s self-esteem and resilience through exercise and creative endeavors. Having them involved in team sports, volunteer organizations, or group activities can help build self-confidence and improve social skills. Physical activity can also help to relieve anxiety and stress and boost your child's mood.
Helplines and support
1-800-273-8255 – Crisis Call Center
0845 22 55 787 – National Bullying Helpline
1-877-352-4497 – BullyingCanada
1800 551 800 – Kids Helpline
1098 – Childline India
Eating disorder helplines
National Eating Disorders Association or call 1-800-931-2237 (National Eating Disorders Association)
Beat Eating Disorders or call 0345 643 1414 (Helpfinder)
Butterfly Foundation for Eating Disorders or call 1800 33 4673 (National Eating Disorders Collaboration)
Service Provider Directory or call 1-866-633-4220 (NEDIC)
- What’s the Difference Between Body Positivity and Body Neutrality? - Embracing both can be healthy. (Cleveland Clinic)
- 8 steps to mindful eating - Change the way you think about food. (Harvard Health Publishingc)
- Words Have Weight: The Many Forms of Body-Shaming - A closer look at body-shaming towards ourselves and others. (Psychology Today)
- Body Image and Self-Esteem - You don’t need a perfect body to have a good body image. (TeensHealth)
- Encouraging a Healthy Body Image - Tips for parents. (KidsHealth)
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- Gam, Rahul, Shivendra Singh, Manish Manar, Sujita Kar, and Abhishek Gupta. “Body Shaming among School-Going Adolescents: Prevalence and Predictors.” International Journal Of Community Medicine And Public Health 7 (March 14, 2020). Link
- Schlüter, Constanze, Gerda Kraag, and Jennifer Schmidt. “Body Shaming: An Exploratory Study on Its Definition and Classification.” International Journal of Bullying Prevention , November 9, 2021. Link
- Voelker, Dana K, Justine J Reel, and Christy Greenleaf. “Weight Status and Body Image Perceptions in Adolescents: Current Perspectives.” Adolescent Health, Medicine and Therapeutics 6 (August 25, 2015): 149–58. Link
- Weingarden, Hilary, Keith D. Renshaw, Eliza Davidson, and Sabine Wilhelm. “Relative Relationships of General Shame and Body Shame with Body Dysmorphic Phenomenology and Psychosocial Outcomes.” Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders 14 (July 2017): 1–6. Link
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- Vogel, Lauren. “Fat Shaming Is Making People Sicker and Heavier.” CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association Journal 191, no. 23 (June 10, 2019): E649. Link
- Clark, Olivia, Matthew M. Lee, Muksha Luxmi Jingree, Erin O’Dwyer, Yiyang Yue, Abrania Marrero, Martha Tamez, Shilpa N. Bhupathiraju, and Josiemer Mattei. “Weight Stigma and Social Media: Evidence and Public Health Solutions.” Frontiers in Nutrition 8 (2021). Link
- “Fat Shaming Linked to Greater Health Risks – Penn Medicine.” Accessed June 13, 2022. Link
- Zhang, D., Lee, E. K. P., Mak, E. C. W., Ho, C. Y., & Wong, S. Y. S. (2021). Mindfulness-based interventions: An overall review. British Medical Bulletin , 138(1), 41–57. Link
- Gelsinger, Ayla. “A Critical Analysis of the Body Positive Movement on Instagram: How Does It Really Impact Body Image?” Spectra Undergraduate Research Journal 1, no. 1 (February 26, 2021). Link
- Alleva, Jessica M., Melissa M. Medoch, Kira Priestley, Johanna L. Philippi, Jolien Hamaekers, Eva N. Salvino, Sanne Humblet, and Marieke Custers. “‘I Appreciate Your Body, Because…’ Does Promoting Positive Body Image to a Friend Affect One’s Own Positive Body Image?” Body Image 36 (March 1, 2021): 134–38. Link
- Cohen, Rachel, Lauren Irwin, Toby Newton-John, and Amy Slater. “#bodypositivity: A Content Analysis of Body Positive Accounts on Instagram.” Body Image 29 (June 2019): 47–57. Link
- Mendo-Lázaro, Santiago, Benito León-del-Barco, María-Isabel Polo-del-Río, Rocío Yuste-Tosina, and Víctor-María López-Ramos. “The Role of Parental Acceptance–Rejection in Emotional Instability During Adolescence.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 16, no. 7 (April 2019): 1194. Link
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The Problem With Body Shaming
A flaw in our society is people who body shame. The definition of body shaming as defined by Oxford Dictionary is “the action or practice of humiliating someone by making mocking or critical comments about their body shape or size.” People body shame others because of the way they look. If they do not look a certain way there ridicule them. They also body shame others on what they wear saying how they can not wear articles of clothing that should be on a “skinnier” person and how it does not go with their body type. It is allowed to exist because people who are shaming continue to shame and no one speaks up. No one really profits from body shaming but there are some people who feel better when they put others down. Lots of people do suffer from it though. People are made to feel bad about themselves and be put down.
People who get body shamed because they do not look like what society believes they should look like suffer from more than just the shame of not “fitting in”. They suffer from “fat shaming” by others. Lots of individuals also suffer from depression. Depression is a mental health disorder characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life. “When we examined the mean differences between the normal weight, somewhat overweight, and very overweight groups, we found that the very overweight group had lower overall psychological well-being. They were lower in self-esteem and higher in anxiety and depression than the normal weight group and the somewhat overweight group. Thus, in this sample, feeling very overweight was itself a vulnerability factor” (Crocker 408). Society does not only target people that they believe are “overweight” or “too heavy” they also target people who are “too skinny” or “too boney.” People hear from others about how they should be “skinnier” or “need to gain more weight” so often that they start to believe it themselves.
“Particularly negative attitudes toward one’s body and the dissociation of one’s body from one’s self may play a role in the suicidal tendencies of individuals suffering from depression. If the human body does indeed function as an important source of self-esteem and protection against basic human fears, it is little wonder that one’s body can be the source of great distress and lead to difficulties such as eating disorders, sexual dysfunction, depression, anxiety, and shame among those who believe that they are not living up to the culture’s standards” (McCoy 126-127).
Why people fat shame others makes no sense. Yes lots of people are overweight because they do not have self control over what they eat and do not get the regular exercise they should be getting but there are also others factors that play into being overweight. Hypothyroidism, also known as underactive thyroid, is a disease where people’s thyroid does not make enough hormones to meet the body’s needs. It affects nearly every organ in the body and without enough of these hormones the body functions slow down.
It slows down the metabolism which causes people to gain more weight. The saying “never judge a book by its cover” applies to people who judge others and in this case fat shame others. Just because they are overweight does not mean people have the right to put shame on others because of their body because they do not know why they are the way they are. “And that’s what it often boils down to: the judgement of others. This can have a massive impact on how we see ourselves and our willingness to do something about a problem.
In a society with a media where people are body shamed for even the most miniscule imperfections and the standards of beauty are often literally impossible to achieve, people often need a boatload of confidence to be overweight and overcome it and the negative preconceptions this invariably results in, such as women genuinely being paid less due to their weight. It would hardly be surprising if many people struggled with this, instead ending up lacking any motivation to get in shape just to meet the approval of those who love to criticise them…The sad fact is, some people just love to judge and condemn others, and will find any excuse to do it, no matter the burden it places on society. Why don’t they just learn some self-control? It’s disgusting, it really is” (Burnett).
There are lots of people in today’s society that get shamed because of their body type and there are way more that are doing the shaming. There are many different reasons why people choose to put others down by body shaming them. Some of the reasons are they feel insecure about themselves so they point out other people’s problems to distract from their own. Another reason is people like to get laughs from their peers or friends so they make others feel bad so more people will like them.
“There are plenty of values worth judgment. I judge people who are violent and malicious. But that is a reflection of who I am. I judge violence and malice within myself. Those are traits that I will not tolerate within myself, therefore I do not tolerate them in others. But that is a choice I am making. That is a choice we are all making, whether we realize it or not. And we should make those choices consciously and not on auto-pilot. It’s why people who think they’re ugly look for all of the ways people around them are ugly and why people who are lazy and slack off look for all of the ways others cut corners and slack off as well. It’s why corrupt officials choose to be corrupt: because they assume everyone else is as corrupt as they are. It’s why cheaters choose to cheat: because they assume everybody else is going to cheat if given the chance too. It’s why those who can’t trust are the ones who can’t be trusted.
Many of us adopt our own internal yardsticks not through conscious choice but through the shaming we’re subjected to. I love the quote, “Everyone is either trying to prove or disprove who they were in high school,” because for many of us, our yardsticks are defined by how people viewed us growing up. We develop a fixation in one area of our lives because it’s the area which we felt people judged us the most.” (Manson)
People think it is fun to make fun of others and put them down just to get a laugh out of their friends. We do not realize how much we hurt others when we say negative things to them especially when it is about something they are insecure about. We do not give second thought to the words that come out of our mouths. “We attack others in order to feel good, or at least belittle someone as a way of making ourselves look better; finding fault or putting them down makes us feel superior. This tends to happen more when we are down ourselves, as misery loves company; feel bad yourself and you invariably find fault in others.
You would think that as healthy human beings we would be concerned about another’s good fortune and happy to respect their preferences and choices. When we have a genuine regard for ourselves we naturally extend that by wishing others success. Mudita is a Sanskrit term meaning ‘sympathetic joy,’ or taking joy in other people’s happiness and well-being” (Shapiro). There is something wrong in today’s society that makes people feel better about themselves while they are making someone else feel worse about themselves. This is something that everyone in this society needs to work together as a whole on to make our world a more loving place.
There are so many people in the world that get shamed for how their body looks. This is a problem in society because everyone should be accepting of others no matter how they look yet people are still judging others. In this date and age people should be accepted for how their body looks. Just because someone is “too skinny” or “too fat” does not mean other people have the right to go around judging them or making them feel bad for how they look. Body shaming is something that needs to be put to an end. “Body-shaming will only stop when we tackle it structurally,’ Kwan says. ‘It’s not just about individual behavioral change, but large-scale, cultural and social institutional change.’
Among the things that need to happen are greater diversity in media images, across the categories of skin tones, height, body size, facial features, hair textures, and more. ‘We need a new ‘normal’ about our cultural beauty ideals. Just as important, we need to work toward equality in all forms where bodies, particularly women’s bodies, are not objects of control and where people feel safe to express their gender and sexual identities,’ Kwan says” (Malacoff). There are many different ways we as a society can end body shaming. First people can defend victims by standing up for someone when they see someone being rude to them because of their body. Also others can send them some love and say something positive about their body.
People can check themselves, because they might not leave a mean comment on someone’s post but they do think in their heads and say judgemental things about them. By doing this and checking themselves people can stop their negative thoughts about people. People can accept that everyone has a unique body type and stop judging others who do not look like models or what society’s idea of a perfect body is.
Most of body shaming comes from other people but some people body shame themselves. Lots of people listen to what others say about them so much that they start believing it and start shaming themselves. There are many things people can do to within themselves to stop body shaming themselves. People can make a list of things they love about themselves to remind them. Do not strive to look like a model or how society wants others to look, everyone’s bodies are made differently. Do not let people be in your life who make you feel bad about yourself, because they will only bring you down.
Encourage other people to be happy with how they look. Do not avoid places where people might judge a little more like the beach or the pool. Go and embrace our body. “I hate my cellulite. That cookie is going straight to my hips. You might think it’s no biggie to go low on your looks now and then, but words like these eat away at your confidence and self-worth. “Fat-talk comments are like Velcro; they stick to you, and they can start to become your identity,” says Cynthia Bulik, PhD, professor of eating disorders and nutrition at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Put a sock in it: The first step is to identify your body-bashing habits. Then replace them with more forgiving and actually accurate thoughts” (Andriakos).
Body shaming is a big problem in today’s society and always will be if we do not put an end to it. Body shaming not only affects how people feel it affects how they see themselves. It makes them believe that there is something wrong with the way they look, when there is not. Many people do not speak up when they see someone getting shamed because they are scared of what society will say about them.
This is something that needs to stop. There are many different ways it can be stopped from people standing up and saying something to people not saying anything when they are about to say something rude. People can also stop body shaming themselves and accepting that how they look is perfect. If everyone would stop shaming others and would stand up for others who are body shamed our society would be a better place.
- “Can Everyone Just Stop Being Jerks About Women’s Bodies?” Shape Magazine, Shape
- Magazine, 24 Apr. 2018,
- “How to Stop Fat-Shaming Yourself.” Health.com, www.health.com/mind-body/stop-negative-body-talk.
- Shapiro, Deb. “Why Do We Feel Good Making Fun of Others?” HuffPost, HuffPost, 19 Oct. 2010, www.huffpost.com/entry/why-do-we-feel-good-when_b_765643.
- Manson, Manson. “How We Judge Others Is How We Judge Ourselves.” Mark Manson, Mark
- Manson, 19 Jan. 2019, markmanson.net/how-we-judge-others
- Burnett, Dean. “A Big Fat Shame:the Problems with Criticising Someone’s Weight | Dean
- Burnett.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 11 Mar. 2016,
- Goldenberg, J. L., McCoy, S. K., Pyszczynski, T., Greenberg, J., & Solomon, S. (2000). The body
- as a source of self-esteem: The effect of mortality salience on identification with one’s body, interest in sex, and appearance monitoring. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79(1), 118-130. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3522.214.171.124
- Quinn, Diane M, and Jennifer Crocker . “When Ideology Hurts: Effects of Belief in the Protestant
- Ethic and Feeling Overweight on the Psychological Well-Being of Women.” American Psychological Association, American Psychological Association, 1999, psycnet.apa.org/record/1999-03699-013.
- “Body Shaming | Definition of Body Shaming in English by Oxford Dictionaries.” Oxford
- Dictionaries | English, Oxford Dictionaries,en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/body_shaming.
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Essay: Be careful what you say; body shaming isn’t just for overweight people
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Body Positivity as an Answer to Body Shaming Essay
Introduction, adverse trends in social media and their impact, body positivity as an optimal solution, works cited.
Living in a present-day society means following its trends, which are frequently completely irrational and, what is more important, harmful to young people. One of them is the establishment of beauty standards and their fast development, which is conditional upon the involvement of social media platforms, such as Instagram or Twitter. This phenomenon leads to body shaming as a response to one’s unwillingness or inability to adjust to these imaginary rules. As a result, individuals begin to suffer from low self-esteem, which adversely affects their functioning as citizens, whereas highlighting their uniqueness might have the opposite outcome. Therefore, the best solution for eliminating the unrealistic expectations for one’s looks is the emphasis on body positivity, which can contribute to a shift from the need to conform to self-appreciation regardless of external factors.
The mentioned adverse trends in social media are connected to the erroneous perceptions of individuality by people. They are especially critical for adolescents who pay particular attention to their appearance in their pursuit of being unique compared to their families or friends. However, the failure to follow the instilled standards leads to their dissatisfaction with their bodies, which complicates the already challenging process of pubertal adjustment (Gam et al. 1325). In this case, the problem is in the fact that common views on beauty do not correlate with individuality, as it might seem to youngsters. Consequently, their distorted understanding of this aspect and the desire to express themselves are in conflict. In addition, all teenagers are susceptible to body shaming stemming from non-compliance with ideals, and children from prosperous families struggle as much as their less fortunate peers. Therefore, a change is required for ensuring their mental health and well-being in the future.
Another circumstance contributing to the negative impact of beauty standards in social media on people’s lives is the increased possibility of personal conflicts, which emerge on these grounds. It can be dangerous for the socialization of young citizens and disrupt the process of their personality formation, which, in turn, will result in their inability to find their place in life (Martínez-González et al. 6630). Even though the creation of the desired image is a necessary task for everyone, it should not be based on any rules other than the freedom of self-expression and the emphasis on individuality. In this situation, body positivity seems an excellent solution since it corresponds to the above provisions. Thus, the described problems, which are the inability to distinguish between irrational standards and individuality and the issues with one’s image, are the basis of why body-shaming is a negative phenomenon in society.
The significance of body positivity for addressing the challenges describes above can be explained by its capability to resist the influence of irrational beauty standards. The latter is well-developed and widely supported by social media, which means that they can be overcome only through a movement, which is efficient and publicly known. At present, there are no other alternatives except for the introduction of body positivity for this purpose, and this conclusion is supported by scholars. Thus, for example, they claim that listening to body-positive music adds to women’s self-esteem, whereas the preference for appearance-related songs has the opposite effect (Coyne et al. 5). These findings indicate the effectiveness of the selected approach in changing the stereotypes, which are proved to be harmful to young people. Therefore, the emphasis on cultural products reflecting individuality rather than the need to conform to beauty standards might eliminate the risks of body shaming.
Moreover, the attitudes of individuals towards appearance and the appropriateness of specific trends are frequently transmitted through popular types of physical activity, which should also be addressed with regard to the principles of body positivity. According to Pickett and Cunningham, the introduction of body-positive yoga is one of the methods, which can be suitable for this objective (336). It contributes to the creation of inclusive physical activity spaces based on people’s individuality rather than shared standards and body shaming for non-compliance with them (Pickett and Cunningham 336). In this way, this aspect of human life can be viewed as one of the most influential areas, which should be highlighted by facilities providing similar services to the population. Their focus on the promotion of acceptance and individuality of visitors is beneficial for the formation of a positive body image. It also adds to the fact that the shift in attitudes can resolve the issues emerging due to the spread of unrealistic standards.
In conclusion, the introduction of body positivity practices in societal institutions can help eliminate the risks of low self-esteem for young people, which emerge due to beauty standards and body shaming. This population group is especially vulnerable due to their desire to be unique and the dissatisfaction following the impossibility to fulfill it at the time of their personality formation. As a result, they are guided by erroneous perceptions, which worsen their self-esteem and the efficiency of their communication with peers. Meanwhile, body positivity in different areas, such as music or physical activity, was reported to be advantageous for addressing the mentioned problems. Therefore, it should be emphasized by facilities providing services for the population.
Coyne, Sarah, et al. “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: The Effect of Listening to Body Positive Music on Implicit and Explicit Body Esteem.” Psychology of Popular Media , vol. 10, no. 1, 2021, pp. 2–13. doi: 10.1037/ppm0000273.
Gam, Rahul Taye et al. “Body Shaming among School-Going Adolescents: Prevalence and Predictors.” International Journal of Community Medicine and Public Health , vol. 7., no. 4, 2020, pp. 1324–1328. doi: 10.18203/2394-6040.ijcmph20201075.
Martínez-González, Marina, et al. “Women Facing Psychological Abuse: How Do They Respond to Maternal Identity Humiliation and Body Shaming?” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health , 2021, vol. 18, no, 12, pp. 6627–6644. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18126627.
Pickett, Andrew, and George Cunningham. “Creating Inclusive Physical Activity Spaces: The Case of Body-Positive Yoga.” Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport , vol. 88, no. 3., 2016, pp. 329–338. doi: 10.1080/02701367.2017.1335851.
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IvyPanda. (2022, July 20). Body Positivity as an Answer to Body Shaming. https://ivypanda.com/essays/body-positivity-as-an-answer-to-body-shaming/
"Body Positivity as an Answer to Body Shaming." IvyPanda , 20 July 2022, ivypanda.com/essays/body-positivity-as-an-answer-to-body-shaming/.
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IvyPanda . 2022. "Body Positivity as an Answer to Body Shaming." July 20, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/body-positivity-as-an-answer-to-body-shaming/.
1. IvyPanda . "Body Positivity as an Answer to Body Shaming." July 20, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/body-positivity-as-an-answer-to-body-shaming/.
IvyPanda . "Body Positivity as an Answer to Body Shaming." July 20, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/body-positivity-as-an-answer-to-body-shaming/.
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