October 5, 2022

How to Deal with Body Shame

Ziqi Zhou

What is Body Shaming?

As more and more people receive shame for the way they look from others in today's society, people have started to pay closer attention to the harm and influence of body shaming. Body shaming refers to the negative or aggressive action, behavior, words or even looks that other people give you based on your body. Sometimes, body shaming is the result of someone else’s judgement, while other times we can be the ones shaming our own bodies. Judgements can be centered on body shape, skin color, or other physical characteristics; it also can be the result of discrimination because of physical defects. Furthermore, when someone comments on what we have eaten that would affect our body shape or gives suggestions on dieting or losing weight, these behaviors or criticisms are also considered body shaming.  

The Impact of Body Shaming

The impact of body shaming is serious as it seems to be everywhere, carrying out in-person, on social media platforms and the internet, and in popular culture. People sometimes ignore the impact that body shaming can bring to us. Body shaming affects us physically and psychologically. First of all, it can make us depressed and anxious about our body shape, appearance, and what we should eat. When others are making jokes or judging our bodies, we might feel low self-esteem, have little self-worth, and a negative self-image. All of these can have detrimental impacts on our mental health and potentially lead to severe depression and anxiety. Moreover, body shaming can become so bad that it prompts us to cut off our social interaction or communication with others. When we are bullied by others, especially about our physical appearance, it can make us want to hide from society to avoid further bullying and discrimination. As a result, we could become very uncomfortable interacting with peers and family members, and even scared to post online. In addition, body shaming has a very real and dangerous possibility of leading to eating disorders, and other harmful patterns of thinking and behavior. When people scrutinize our body shape, weight, or even diet, it can become a trigger for negative self-talk and detrimental to a person’s confidence in themselves.  

How to Prevent Body Shaming

  1. Cultivate Self-love

Although it might be difficult, trying to ignore negative judgement or discrimination can be a good first line of defense when battling unwarranted body shaming from others. If someone makes negative comments on our body shape or appearance, we should focus instead on the positive qualities about ourselves and remind ourselves that our self-worth starts with self-love. The judgment and discrimination other people throw at us can become a cage that allows self-doubt and shame to fester. That is why it is important for us to be self-loved. Instead of focusing on others judgment, we should keep telling ourselves that we are perfect just the way we are.  

  1. Surround Yourself with People Who Care About You

The negative judgements about our bodies are often made by people who do not care about our feelings. As a result, it is important for us to surround ourselves with people who love us and care about us. These people accept us for who we are and would not judge our bodies, and they know that we don’t need to change. Being surrounded by a loving and caring group of friends and family can also be helpful when negative comments and self-doubt creep in. Those who love and care about you will help to cultivate your self-esteem and allow you to feel comfortable in your skin.  




Ziqi Zhou is a Psych intern under the AGAPE House at Thaddeus Resource Center. She has just graduated from University of California, Irvine with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychological science . After graduation, she plans to get a Master's in Psychology consulting and developmental psychology.