Body shaming is the process of making fun or humiliating someone based on the shape of their body. Sometimes magazines humiliate women based on the shape of their body without even knowing it. I was once reading an article about a supermodel on vacation. The article described the supermodel as having a “perfect figure” even though you could literally see the model’s ribs poking through her physique. This really began to affect the way I see myself. When I look down, I see imperfections and fat in places that I wish there were none. I began to see myself as less than beautiful. I knew that I was not the only one affected by articles such as these. Women and girls everywhere are affected by how the media portrays them.
I know of people who think that the media does not influence how we see ourselves and that we are responsible for how we view ourselves. I disagree with this. When you are a young girl and you are watching television, some part of you looks up to those people that you see on the screen. The majority of the time those people look the same in some way, shape or fashion. They are mostly skinny with slim waists. So, when you are growing up and you do not look like those girls, some part of your subconscious is disappointed. It is even more disappointing when you do not see praise for the people who are made up the same way that you are.
A study showed where 70% of teenage girls felt as if magazines strongly influenced body image. They felt as if the bodies that were shown in the magazines are so much more different than their bodies. Some of these teenage girls even fall into a depression because they do not feel beautiful. Being a plus sized woman is rarely celebrated in the media. The media would rather celebrate women who look as if they had not eaten in months.
I know exactly how it feels to look at those pictures and feel less than. I would look at pictures of skinny women for hours and cry because I did not have bodies such as theirs. I even starved myself at one point. Seeing these pictures led to me being depressed and I soon began to cut myself. It was hard to pull myself out of this depression but I eventually succeeded. It took a while but I began to love me for me.
Sadly, breakthroughs such as mine do not happen in everyone. Some girls go on to develop eating disorders that begin to badly affect their bodies over time. Some of these eating disorders include binge eating, bulimia or even anorexia. Binge eating is the process of constantly eating even if one is not hungry. This does result in weight gain but some people may eat to cope with the stress of how they feel. Bulimia is binge eating and then throwing it right back up. This is a method used so that one can get the satisfaction of eating without the weight gain. The last one is anorexia. Anorexia is being very careful about what one is eating. A person may go days without eating or eat so little that they are gaining little to no essential nutrients.
When people binge they may be overcome with a feeling of guilt because they feel as though they will never achieve the ideal body image. This could lead to that person going into an even deeper depression. These young women are the future and they all should know how beautiful they are. Shape and size do not matter because the real beauty is within.