Why we need to quit body shaming

The only bodies we should be commenting on are our own.

By Hui Xin


My mother has a tendency of asking me this: “Why do you keep wearing oversized clothing? Is it because you want to conceal your body size?”

If it was a good day, I would probably just laugh it off. However, if it was one of those days where I’m struggling to find confidence and self-love, then it would tick me off  and it would really hurt my self-esteem.

Body shaming is a part of most of our lives, from early childhood to adulthood. No matter how you look, it seems as if criticism is unavoidable. Too often you come across the saying, “Men don’t like bones, they like meat”; And on the other end of the spectrum, you’ll hear things like, “0 is not a size.”

Give me a break.

They are both a judgmental attack to women, and it can really hurt their self-esteem.

What we don’t understand is that body criticism can be just as painful for those who weigh in at the lighter end of the scale. Some of us enjoy it when people point out our thinness; because society tends to value certain sizes more than others. I mean just look at the modelling industry, its pretty obvious which size they prefer.

There is a clear difference between an unhealthy figure and a healthy figure. Obviously, a 500 pound person is most likely unhealthy, but this doesn’t mean we should shame that person. Instead, why don’t we offer our help and knowledge on nutrition and fitness? Why can’t we as women AND men help one another to attain the best level of health rather than rip one another apart for our weight?

Does being judgmental and humiliating and embarrassing someone make you feel better?

No. It just makes you look bad. We have no right to comment on or discuss anyone’s bodies but our own.

Basically, what I’m getting at is a healthy body can come in any size. Being healthy will never go out of style, and I am not referring to being healthy just to look good and please these body-shamers. I’m referring to internal health which plays a very important role in your well being.

Body shaming also comes at every size.

Negative self esteem and value can result in diets, often time crash diets, that end poorly, either with binging and self hate, or by success that leads to more intense dieting, which slides into full blown eating disorders. Eating disorders are the deadliest of all psychological disorders, and even if one is to recover, the fact of the matter is that the impact will be with them for the rest of their life. For them, not a day will go by without them thinking about the calories they’re consuming or where they’re not looking at themselves in the mirror.

With that, I ask of you to be careful with the words you say to someone else. Whilst obesity is indeed a condition that has quickly grown to be an epidemic, and intervention should be initiated, respect and sensitivity must always be considered first. Secondly, if the child isn’t in danger of obesity, for the love of God, just leave them alone. They don’t need your unsolicited fat-shaming; likewise thin-shaming. Perfection is unattainable. The more you press for it, the further you’ll ever get to fulfilling your definition of it.

So, the next time we consider asking someone “thin” if they’re healthy, or telling them to eat a sandwich, we should stuff the sandwich into our own mouth to prevent ourselves from saying anything stupid further.