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Discussion of Body Shaming Among Teenagers Essay

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Updated: Jul 19th, 2022

It should be admitted that modern society is developing rapidly. A person anywhere in the world, having access to the Internet, also has the opportunity to master the experience of various cultures, social groups, professions, and so on. Social networks provide opportunities for communication of a huge number of people of different nationalities, ages, social statuses. Nowadays, social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and many others are international and allow people from different cultures to interact. It seems reasonable to state that under such conditions, the online community puts pressure on those who do not “stay in line” with beauty trends. This results in global issues such as body shaming, which makes this topic relevant to explore and suggest possible solutions. Below, the essence of body shaming among teenagers, as well as appropriate resolution of this issue – body positiveness promotion – will be provided.

Body shaming is negative comments about another person’s appearance. They can lead to depressive symptoms and irreversible consequences. People who are overweight are often subjected to body shaming, but those who look too thin or insufficiently athletic from the point of view of others are also criticized. Body shaming is ubiquitous. With the development of the online space and social networks, people have the opportunity to expand their circle of contacts and hurt unfamiliar teenagers without consequences for themselves (Martínez-González et al. 6629). There are posts and articles, the authors of which openly urge to evaluate whose body shape is better.

The dangers of body shaming go beyond nasty comments and attacks. Many people, even without other people’s words, are critical of their appearance – then third-party comments only reinforce negative experiences. Body shaming can be directed not only outside but also at oneself and can be expressed in dissatisfaction with one’s appearance in comparison with other people and standards (Gam et al. 1327). A person struggling with an eating disorder is influenced by many different factors, including genetic characteristics and the environment. Body shaming is considered part of the equation. The fact is that he increases the feeling of shame for his “wrong” appearance. The latter can already directly affect the choice of diet, right up to the transition to a rigid diet.

Body positive promotion can be a significant variant to address the described issue. This phenomenon may be defined as a movement based on a respectful attitude and acceptance of both your own and someone else’s appearance (Davies et al. 102). The goals of this movement were initially declared as very good: to teach society to communicate on an equal footing with people with all kinds of differences, without looking away and without showing excessive curiosity. All people, regardless of how they look, have an equal footing in basic comfort. The body cannot be the cause of a disrespectful attitude towards a person. Members of the movement help each other to overcome complexes, live in harmony with themselves without looking back at public opinion, fashion, and beauty standards. Body positivity arose as a response to popular culture with commercial beauty, promoting the acceptance of the normality of everyone.

For people with a body mass significantly exceeding the norm, body positivity has become a movement for accepting obesity, regardless of its cause. Today, obese people can wear fashionable clothes, including tight-fitting ones, without hesitation and complexes (Pickett and Cunningham 330). They may require comfortable conditions for themselves in public places: in cinemas and cafes, there should be not only chairs but also sofas for people of a higher weight category and dimensions.

There are a plethora of studies that confirm the significance and appropriacy of body positivity. Moreover, some specific practices allow implementing its core ideas and aspirations to a great degree. For instance, Pickett and Cunningham justify the adequateness of inclusive physical activities spaces (330), and Coyne et al. give a notable example of body positivity music’s effectiveness (11). Such a variety of approaches implies a great range of opportunities to promote body positivity via social media to make teenagers realize its advantages and perceive its principles properly.

However, there is an opinion that is declaring the freedom of the body to be as it is from nature, overweight people completely cease to monitor their diet. They do not make any effort to increase physical activity; they have such fat deposits that threaten physical health and shorten life expectancy. The medical point of view on overweight has not changed; obesity is recognized as a disease and a concomitant aggravating factor in many conditions. The ideology of body positivity manifested itself in obese people in a reluctance to take care of their bodies; any reminders of good nutrition and gyms are perceived as insults (Stamp). Such a point of view contains an exact degree of rationality, but the fact that body shaming also has a negative impact on health is relevant as well. It seems apparent that body shaming has no positive effects, and body positivity – if its message is conveyed properly – is a great foundation for mental and physical healthiness.

To conclude, the above discussion explored the phenomenon of body shaming and its adverse impact. The concept of body positivity was presented as well, and it was pre-assumed that it is an appropriate variant to address body shaming among teenagers. It is proposed to elaborate on the ways body positivity can be promoted properly and expediently.

Works Cited

Coyne, Sarah, et al. “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: The Effect of Lstening to Body Positive Music on Implicit and Explicit Body Esteem.” Psychology of Popular Media, vol. 10, no. 1, 2021, pp. 2–13.

Davies, Bryony, et al. “Add a Comment … How Fitspiration and Body Positive Captions Attached to Social Media Images Influence the Mood and Body Esteem of Young Female Instagram Users.” Body Image, vol. 33, 2020, pp. 101–105.

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.

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.

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.

Stamp, Nikki. The Sydney Morning Herald, 2019.

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