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what is body shaming

Flip through any mainstream magazine and you’re likely to come across the same story. Images of a female celebrity are splashed across the pages with headlines chastising them for gaining a few pounds. While you may try to drown out this type of negative media, it could be having a much larger effect on you than you imagine.

Recent research published in the Society for Personality and Social Psychology journal suggests that celebrity body shaming has a direct impact on how women view their own bodies. The results of the study show that these instances have a negative impact on the way in which women view their own bodies.

What’s more, to make matters even worse, the study found that ‘weight bias’ (i.e. a negative body image) has risen dramatically in society in recent years. That means that despite the #BoPo campaign and many steps forward, some people are still held back by the way in which they see their body.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at five of the ways that celebrity body shaming could be affecting your body image.

1.  It defines them by their body shape

Let’s take a moment to think about what the underlying message of body shaming is. Talking solely about a celebrity’s body suggests that they have nothing else to offer. It negates their achievements and merits while instead defining them by their physical form. Many of these people will be actresses, singers, and hosts. They are accomplished individuals that have an array of talents and skills. However, they are reduced to nothing more than their body shape when media outlets focus solely on that.

2.  It sets a bad example for women

While body shaming can involve both men and women, it’s more prominent when it comes to female celebrities. Again, this is sending out a highly negative message to those who come into contact with it. The idea is that women are not worthy of attention for their skills and what they have done in their life. Instead, they are only worthy of attention if they have the so-called ‘perfect’ female form. The same can rarely be said for men who get judged more on what they have achieved than how they look. Body shaming only perpetuates double standards.

3.  We internalize those values

When we read about women who have gained or lose weight, we tend to internalize the negative values that are being set out here. It may only be on a subconscious level, but it happens to the best of us at times. It’s hard to ignore society’s norms and what is expected of women. The fact of the matter is that it often doesn’t matter how far a woman has come in her career or life. The media will still focus on her body shape on a daily basis.

Related: 5 Toxic Body Myths We Have To Stop Believing

4.  It goes against body positivity

Right now, many of us are trying to become more body positive – both about ourselves and the people that we meet. This type of shaming goes directly against body positivity. It is disrespectful to people and women specifically, which is why it is such a hideous form of news and media. At times, it feels as though the campaign to love your body is fighting directly against everything else that we see on TV, online, and in publications.

5.  We may compare ourselves

When a celebrity is being criticized for being a certain weight, it may make us question our own shape and size. Comparison is a natural habit for most of us. So, when we see someone – no matter who they happen to be – being shamed, we may fall into this trap. When you start to compare yourself to others, it can be a dangerous cycle. We are all completely unique and individual. Losing sight of that is a mistake.

Thankfully, there is one major pro to this type of research. The more that we learn and educate others on the dangers of body shaming, the more we can start to combat it. Things won’t change overnight. However, raising awareness about this issue and trying to be a positive change in the world is the only way to go!

Related: How To Stay Body Positive While Bra Shopping

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Published by

Charlotte Grainger

Charlotte Grainger is a freelance writer and digital journalist. Her main areas of interest are health, lifestyle, and relationships. When she’s not writing, she loves reading, gymming, and socializing.

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