Another day, another alarming stat about body image and self-esteem. A new study conducted by Yahoo health found that, among a sample study of 2000 girls, "94 percent of teen females have experienced body shame". While this news is upsetting, to say the least, it doesn't necessarily come as a surprise.
Although we have made serious strides in promoting body positivity, body shaming of women is still a huge part of our culture. Take Nicole Arbour's "Dear Fat People" video. Although the video sparked a lot of controversy, there was no shortage of people who agreed with the Canadian YouTuber's opinion.
With serious conversations emerging about how celebrities deal with bullying from fans and the rise of online bullying, it's no wonder that nearly 100% of teen girls have experienced body shame. Body shame comes in many different forms. It could be remarks about the shape of ones body or its physical attributes which seriously warp people's perceptions of themselves.
Just take twitter user @iranikanjari as one example. She posted a casual stomach selfie to her twitter account because she was feeling good about her body and ended up having to deal with twitter trolls making cruel comments about body hair she'd never even noticed.
when the body hair u don't even notice goes noticed by like 4K people and u still just really want paratha— pakola papi (@iranikanjari) January 7, 2016
walmart underwear vibes pic.twitter.com/wo66OQGIdo— pakola papi (@iranikanjari) December 24, 2015
I originally posted these BC my hip to waist ratio has never been so perfect and that was completely ignored so I'm pressed— pakola papi (@iranikanjari) January 7, 2016
Aside from the fact that @iranikanjari posted the selfie because she was feeling the heck out of herself (as she should. She looks bomb AF), everyone has body hair. It's such an absurd thing to shame someone for but it's proof that, in a way, internet culture has made us feel like we're entitled to make cruel comments about one another.
How to beat the body shaming epidemic:
Step 1: Don't be a body shamer
This one is a bit obvious, but don't be a person who makes unnecessary comments about someone else's body. Realize that you're not entitled to assess someone's health over the internet and not in a position to point out features that you consider "flaws". Leave people alone.
I remember reading comments about plus size model Tess Holliday after she received that landmark modelling contract. Flipping through Facebook comments about Tess' body made me realize how truly out of control internet bullying culture has become. Just don't be that person.
Step 2: For the record, you look amazing.
I guess remembering that you probably look amazing is a great way to beat body shaming. You know your angles best. You know everything to know about yourself. Anyone who tries to run up on you and your body probably knows absolutely nothing. Remembering the fact that "every body is beautiful" is a cool way to keep yourself from focusing on any perceived "flaws".
gif courtesy of giphy
Step 3: Mute that sucker
You don't have to let people talk trash in your mentions/DMs/comments. Muting/blocking people is the way forward. Let them scream into the abyss. They're clearly not living their best life.
gif courtesy of tumblr
Step 4: Post those body selfies
If you're having a day when you're feeling particularly fly, please post those selfies. Let everyone see that perfect bodies come in all shapes, sizes, colours, and varying degrees of body hair.
me directing your selfie photoshoot:
gif courtesy of tumblr
Step 5: Love "non-conventional" bodies as well.
This goes without saying, but don't support "conventionally" shaped bodies if you can't get on board with "non-conventional" bodies. That means that your love of "curvy" bodies should extend to a love of differently abled, differently shaped, and bigger sized bodies. Be a cool ally.