Body-shaming … why do we do it? — Forever 39 Podcast
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We all heard about the case of Playboy model Dani Mathers who made headlines last July after body-shaming an older woman who was showering at a LA Fitness gym. Mathers faced wide backlash after she posted the woman's photo on Snapchat, and was hit with an invasion of privacy charge. Last month she pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor charge, and was ordered to perform 30 days of community service and was sentenced to three years probation.
The case made international headlines, and forced some of us to take a good, hard look at body-shaming.
In recent years, celebrities from Kelly Clarkson to Melissa McCarthy to Leonardo DiCaprio have faced public body-shaming. And it's not just those in the pubic eye getting body-shamed. Most of us do it do ourselves each and every day by constantly looking at our bodies and comparing it to others, or by focusing on our perceived flaws.
Many studies suggest there is a deeper meaning. For example, if you can’t help but make a dig at a friend's protruding stomach, perhaps the extra fat they are carrying around the middle isn’t the issue at all, but possibly something the friend did to hurt you or make you feel badly.
So while body-shaming has always been something we've done to ourselves, when did it become so acceptable to do it to others?
CNN published an article in 2016 that explored why body-shaming is happening and why we can't seem to stop it. For the piece, they spoke with Renee Engeln, a Northwestern University psychology professor. Engeln said she thinks body-shaming is so much more prevalent now thanks to the countless number of forums that allow people to look at images of women and men. She told CNN that advances in technology have made it easy for people to not only evaluate these images, but also share their thoughts about them publicly, and invite others to do the same.
If you're struggling with body-shaming of yourself or others, here are some tips that might help. Perhaps together we can all find body harmony.
— Annette and Megan, Forever 39