Could you help us to stop (self-)body shaming?

par Irène Schäppi avril 30, 2023

Could you help us to stop (self-)body shaming?

Hi, my name is Irène, and I am an expert in self-body shaming. Meaning: The first thought after waking up is my body size and the fact that I don’t fit into most of my jeans anymore, as I’ve put on about 7 kilos since my accident in January 2022.

Words have power

To be more specific, as a recovering anorexic – I write “recovering” as I am fighting a daily battle with those hateful voices (e.g., “You are fat”) in my head towards my body – I am thinking about my additional kilos every hour of the day: May this be by feeling how my belly is squeezing over my waistband, comparing myself with thinner co-workers, women I pass by on the street or by scrolling through my own Instagram back to 2020 when I was almost as thin as I used to be after anorexia showed its effects the first time in my late teens. 


Even though I know this behaviour is self-torture par excellence, all these thoughts are like vinyl in an endless groove. It is repeating itself over and over.

And I am not the only one fighting this stigma surrounding weight or body image. Primarily since the rise of social media and female influencers that pose with their perfectly shaped bodies, super thin legs, and, lately, super toned abdominal muscles, also known as six pack. 


Naturally, everyone should do what’s best for them. But promoting these generally unrealistic and unattainable beauty standards for women can have long-term psychological and physical health consequences. In addition, recent studies have shown that people with disproportionate bodies are often stigmatized.

The paper “Weight Shame, Social Connection, and Depressive Symptoms in Late Adolescence” by Alexandra A. Brewis and Meg Bruening from the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion, Arizona State University, for example, indicates that the effects of being body-shamed during adolescence have short-term and long-term mental health consequences. Several mental health issues arise from body shaming, such as low self-esteem, anxiety, and depressive symptoms.

What is body shaming?

Body shaming may be considered a form of bullying. It includes making inappropriate or derogatory comments about their body size or shape. Body shaming is not merely criticizing someone who is overweight, but even those who are underweight. People of all forms and sizes can be victims of body shaming. Even when said in a joking manner, body shaming is still hurtful.

Frequently, body shaming is subtly told, often using sentences like:


We may not realize it, but we are unconsciously body-shaming ourselves and others. Pay attention to how you speak about yourself and others, as words have power. They can destroy and create. Sometimes a single word can change everything.

So can an image on social media that, in my opinion, should be a platform that inspires us to become a better version of ourselves – I’m not talking about #healthusiasm or self-optimization here, people! – and a place where we can share our truths and support each other. These past three years have been hard on so many levels for each of us, and what I don’t want to do anymore, starting today, is to self-sabotage myself.

What can we do about (self-)body shaming?
Naturally, battling with a lifelong eating disorder, as mentioned at the beginning of this article, I know this problem won’t vanish like the spoon full of Peanut Butter I just swallowed. Also, if I am being honest, I probably will continue to freak out when my jeans don’t fit anymore, my belly and my hips are becoming more voluptuous, or when people keep asking me if I’ve done fillers as my cheeks look a little more peachy and less wrinkly thanks to gaining some additional weight. 


But I want to stop fighting myself and accept my body in every shape it or I currently choose to be in. I want to start celebrating my curves and live our company’s motto, “Come as you are – celebrate yourself!” to the fullest. And as honest and self-aware as I can. My therapist recommended this practice: Every time I catch myself saying or thinking self-harming words about myself, I should hit the pause button and remind myself of at least five things I love about my body and how I look.

Other helpful practices to fight (self-)body shaming can be as follows:

1. Embrace our own
Body positivity, as opposed to body shaming, is learning to embrace your imperfections and feeling content with how you are and look. Once we fully embrace how we look, no amount of judgment that may be directed toward us can put us down. Model Kate Wasley is one of our inspirations here:


2. Maintain healthy relationships
Surround yourself with people who are body positive and accept you for who you are – without forcing you into society’s impossible standards. Spend time with people who will help you view yourself positively and prohibit any semblance of body shaming.

3. Educate those who body shame
Body shaming is not pleasant and should not be tolerated. Notice how people talk and behave around you – your friends, families, or co-workers. If you catch anyone body shaming another, confront and educate them. Talk it out nicely and discuss the harmful effects of body shaming a person. 

But, as I and we from The Goddess Collective don’t have all the answers, we need your support here, dearest ones. And by meaning your help, we want to hear all about your journey regarding food or body issues, mental health, or self-sabotaging. As much as we need you, we want to support you equally and share our self-care practices or what helps us shut down those harmful thought patterns we all know too well.

In that sense: Come out, come out wherever you are, and let’s fight this – together. We are and will be here for you. Always.

From our hearts to yours – Irène with Team TGC

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