Body shaming is one of the trends to be monitored with extreme attention and not to be underestimated, because the effects of a continuous and systematic derision of the body, often amplified by the dynamics that are created on social networks, can generate complex effects on the psycho-physical balance of the victim.

In some cases, real traumas can be recorded linked to discrimination caused by the desire of others to highlight, with more or less important tones, those which from a social perspective are identified as defects. The causes of these dynamics?

They are deep, in part they have always existed but they are amplified due to a social web capable of amplifying mockery and the sharing of sarcastic messages. And the effects can be significant both on the physical and on the psyche of the person who is affected.

What Is Body Shaming?

Body shaming is a practice that is inflicted on people of different ages or genders due to a physical characteristic. Its meaning can be determined with a translation from English: to make someone feel ashamed of their body, or mockery of physical appearance.

There is no specific peculiarity, body shaming concerns any aspect that does not align with the shared social image. Very thin people or people with some obvious physical defects are targeted, perhaps with a prosthesis such as an orthodontic appliance.

This condition also embraces very tall or short individuals, without forgetting that a good portion of cases concern obese people. Here the risks increase due to problems that can also be very serious for cardiovascular diseases.

Is Body Shaming A Crime?

If it is pushed beyond certain limits it can be considered a crime as it can lead to bullying and cyberbullying. That is to say the derision and repeated persecution, also through social media, of the subject to the point of involving a series of ancillary crimes such as beatings.

In certain instances, body shaming can constitute discrimination, which is illegal. Members who experience body shaming have a right to report any body shaming they experience from any individual they work with.

Why Is It Important To Prevent Body Shaming?

In the first place out of respect for the diversity and individual characteristics of the person. In a society based on respect for others, discrimination against others and finding pleasure in the suffering of others cannot be accepted. Especially if it concerns an often irremediable physical aspect.

The concept is clear: body shaming is connected with the symptoms of depression during the school years but there is a point to underline: those who are overweight run more risks. The possible links between body stigma and real attention to the body weight of children and adolescents remains a cornerstone for future physical health. How does this happen?

Relationship Between Body Shaming And Obesity

Body shaming aimed at weight problems, and especially towards those suffering from obesity, can have important implications that cross the border relating to depression, anxiety and general malaise. 

Configuring a condition of binge eating disorder, or an uncontrolled eating disorder which is one of the causes of obesity. Shame and guilt are associated with greater eating disorder symptomatology, including binge eating. These emotional states may be related to binge eating as a result of one’s attempt to use food as a means of coping.

The more people are exposed to weight bias and discrimination, the more likely it is that this condition will worsen into full-blown obesity. A condition which, of course, can become pathological for various conditions. Even cardiovascular ones.

How To Fight Body Shaming?

There is no specific age for body shaming cases but it is certainly a particularly active practice among the youngest, increasingly sensitive and committed to going through a phase of profound change. How to deal with body shaming? By better managing self-esteem, removing the sense of shame from those suffering from this pathology. 

In the first place there is a need to listen, the boy or girl must be assisted in the best possible way, without minimizing but not even exposing the event. It is always useful to contact the people responsible for a given context (such as school staff) and if the event leads to bullying or cyberbullying, contact the police. 

Without forgetting the person’s health: it may be a good idea to have the teenager followed up by a psychologist and, in the case of weight shame – therefore linked to body weight and obesity – by a nutritionist. This is also to avoid future problems. Problems that can range from chronic obesity, depression and cardiovascular damage resulting from altered values ​​of cholesterol, triglycerides and diabetes.