By Samantha C. Esparza
Pulse Staff Reporter
Body shaming occurs when a person causes someone else to feel ashamed or insecure about their body type. It can be done to oneself as well as others, and it can happen without realization.
This form of shaming is notorious among social media sites, such as Facebook and Instagram. It occurs in all age groups and social groups. Society demands perfection, and body shamers criticize anyone who is slightly different.
“You’re subliminally being taught body shaming, such as the pretty Barbie dolls have unrealistic body types or how TV shows would always have the cool buff fit guy. It’s pretty much programmed into our youth,” said Tim Ramirez, a sophomore Computer Information Systems major.
Shaming is common among celebrities and public figures. If a celebrity has cellulite, shamers quickly respond with comments condemning that celebrity for not taking better care of themselves. Other people believe that it is the celebrities themselves who set the standards that the shamers follow.
Supporters of body shaming believe that shaming encourages obese people to achieve a healthy weight, and it is constructive criticism. They think their actions are done with good intention. Shamers deem their actions acceptable because of the rise of obesity and diabetes. This year San Antonio ranked 14 out of 100 of the “Fattest Cities in America,” according to a study done by Wallet Hub.
Shaming affects younger people and adds extra pressure to what they already feel. In this age of social media, it’s easy to call out others or even shame oneself.
Gender discrimination is another form of body shaming that is often overlooked.
“The Privacy Protection Act,” better known as “Texas House Bill 2899” or “The Bathroom Bill,” is a pending Texas bill that aims to regulate public bathroom use to assigned gender at birth.
Implementation of this caused controversy within the LGBT community because it forces transgender people and people who do not identify with their birth gender to make uncomfortable decisions about what bathroom they should use. Supporters of this bill argue that it is merely a safety precaution and it is not discriminatory toward the LGBT community.
“I think people should be able to use any bathroom they choose. I mean, it’s just a bathroom,” said Aricela Mendez, a sophomore Mass Communications major.
Body shaming is a social issue that has found its way into the government and is beginning to affect the daily lives of people.
The consequences of shaming are severe. Shaming leads people to develop eating disorders, anxiety and other psychological issues. An organization called The Body Positive offers support, resources, mental health help and counseling for people who struggle with poor self-esteem.
“In the end, you are just cutting people down and breaking them, when you should be building them up and encouraging them,” said Alex Salinas, a freshman Biology major.
Resolving body shaming is not easy; a realistic body image, positive self-esteem and general support from other people are helpful ways to conquer the problem. More plus-size models are gracing the covers of magazines and television commercials.
Dove, the personal care company, launched a body confidence campaign that helps young women understand the importance of having a body positive outlook. Its advertisements began using real women to promote body positivity.
“Don’t change your body to get respect from society. Instead let’s change society to respect our bodies.” – Golda Poretsky.