The Effects of Body-shaming on Mental Health
It’s unfortunate that some people are subject to body-shaming that severely affects their mental health. Your self-esteem is boosted when you have a healthy body image and do not dislike your current figure. Self-esteem allows you to value and give respect to your physical features and take care of yourself physically, mentally and spiritually.
The Idea of Perfect Body
Sadly, our society has set standards for the perfect body image and the perception of beauty. It has resulted in people comparing their bodies to the perfect body image that society has established.
People believe that they might be helping others or motivating them to work on their bodies and get the perfect body image. However, it doesn’t really matter what words they use or the intentions they have if they end up making the other person feel terrible about their body. The person starts perceiving their body image as undesirable and toxic, possibly leading them to a series of mental health issues.
Body shaming can be done on any of the physical features of a person that are considered undesirable by society, including shape, weight, hairstyles, clothing choices, etc.
Culture of Bullying and Body Shaming
The constant bullying and body shaming lead to social anxiety. A person will no longer feel comfortable around people and would eventually fall victim to depression, which is a common suicidal factor. The person will no longer be confident about their body image and have low self-esteem and self-worth. They will also start feeling lonely and might consider self-harm. One in eight adults in the UK alone has experienced suicidal thoughts just because of imperfect body image and body shaming.
Body shaming has also forced many people into unhealthy eating habits. Disorders like anorexia, where you think you are overweight even if your weight is healthy. As a result, people avoid eating, which can be dangerous. Similarly, bulimia is another eating disorder where the person starts binge eating and then purging due to high-stress levels.
Body-shaming sometimes turns into harassment and cyber-bullying. It makes the other person feel undervalued or discriminated against in society. It further leads to high-stress levels in these individuals, which in turn becomes the foundation for their depressive episodes and creating several anxiety triggers. In the case of over-weight individuals, the high-stress levels caused by them being fat-shamed ends up making them eat more.
Body-shaming in no way should be considered appropriate and acceptable. Body-shaming worsens the mental health of a person. This is bullying, and society needs to accept that we do not have a right to make anyone feel bad about their body and ruin the perception of their body image.
The Counselling and Wellbeing Centre is a psychology practice providing different counselling services. You can contact us at 07 3891 2273 to schedule an appointment or explore more about our depression and anxiety counselling.