How to Respond to Body Shaming: Expert Guide

Body shaming is a pervasive issue that can significantly impact self-esteem and mental health. Whether it’s a comment from a friend or a stranger on social media, hearing negative remarks about our bodies can be hurtful and damaging.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to respond to body shaming in a way that empowers us and helps us feel confident in our skin.

Summary of Effective Responses (From Our Article)

StrategyExamples of what to sayGood For Introverts /Extroverts
Respond with Confidence“I am happy with my body, and your opinion does not matter to me.” I am proud and will not let your words bring me down.” Your words are hurtful, and I will not tolerate them.”Extrovert
Ignore the CommentNo response or acknowledgment of the comment.Introvert
Address the Issue“I feel hurt and disrespected when you comment about my body. I would appreciate it if you could refrain from doing so in the future.”Extrovert
Educate the PersonExplaining how body shaming can lead to low self-esteem, eating disorders, and other negative outcomes.Both
Set Boundaries“I will not tolerate any more body shaming from you.”Both
“If you continue to body shame me, I will have to remove myself from this situation.”Both
Surround Yourself with Positive PeopleSeek friends and family members who celebrate diversity and embrace different body types. Join online communities or support groups where you can connect with others who have experienced body shaming and find inspiration and encouragement.Both
Seek SupportTalk to someone you trust about your feelings and ask for their support. Seek support from a therapist or counselor who can help you work through your feelings.Both
Focus on Your Positive AttributesWrite down what you like about yourself and remind yourself of them often.Introvert
Practice Self-CareTake care of yourself physically and mentally by getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet. Take a relaxing bath, read a book, or spend time with loved ones.Both
Seek Professional HelpA therapist or counselor can help you work through your feelings and develop coping strategies.Both

Understanding Body Shaming

Body shaming is a form of bullying involving negative comments about a person’s body type, size, or shape. It can happen to anyone, regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity.

Body shaming can be incredibly hurtful and lead to low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety.

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It can take many forms, from making fun of someone’s weight to criticizing their skin color or facial features. It can be direct or indirect and happen in person or online. Some common examples of body shaming include:

  • Calling someone fat or skinny
  • Making fun of someone’s acne or scars
  • Criticizing someone’s clothing choices
  • Commenting on someone’s body hair or lack thereof

If you have experienced body shaming, it’s important to remember that it’s not your fault. You are beautiful and worthy just like you are, and no one else’s opinion should change that.

It’s important to surround yourself with positive, supportive people who lift you and make you feel good about yourself.

How to Respond to Body Shaming

Body shaming can be hurtful and damaging, but there are ways to respond to it that can help you feel empowered and confident.

Here are some strategies to consider; choose the strategy which goes best with your personality type and which you feel most comfortable using. Ex. an extrovert might choose the less aggressive approach and choose to ignore and surround themselves with positive people:

Respond with Confidence

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When someone is body-shaming you, it is important to respond with confidence. Do not let their words bring you down. Instead, stand tall and respond with a confident tone of voice. Let them know that their words are unacceptable and that you will not tolerate them.

You can respond with phrases such as:

  • “I am happy with my body, and your opinion does not matter to me.”
  • “I am proud of who I am and will not let your words bring me down.”
  • “Your words are hurtful, and I will not tolerate them.”

Ignore the Comment

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Sometimes the best response to body shaming is to ignore the comment simply. This can be particularly effective when the person commenting seeks attention or tries to provoke a reaction. By refusing to engage, you take away their power and maintain control over the situation.

Address the Issue

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If you feel comfortable doing so, you can address the issue directly with the person who commented. Be assertive but calm, and use “I” statements to express how the comment made you feel.

For example, you might say, “I feel hurt and disrespected when you comment about my body. I would appreciate it if you could refrain from doing so in the future.”

Educate the Person

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Sometimes people make body shaming comments out of ignorance or a lack of understanding. In these cases, you may be able to educate them about the harm that such comments can cause.

You might explain how body shaming can lead to low self-esteem, eating disorders, and other negative outcomes. Be patient and compassionate, and try to help the person see things from your perspective.

Set Boundaries

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If someone continues to body shame you, it is important to set boundaries. Let them know that their behavior is unacceptable and that you will not tolerate it. You can say something like:

  • “I will not tolerate any more body shaming from you.”
  • “If you continue to body shame me, I will have to remove myself from this situation.”

Surround Yourself with Positive People

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One of the best ways to respond to body shaming is to surround yourself with positive people who support and uplift you.

  • Seek friends and family members who celebrate diversity and embrace different body types.
  • Join online communities or Support groups where you can connect with others who have experienced body shaming and find inspiration and encouragement.

Remember, you deserve love and respect, no matter what your body looks like. By responding to body shaming positively and proactively, you can reclaim your power and live your life on your terms.

Seek Support

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Talk to someone you trust about your feelings and ask for their Support.

You can also seek Support from a therapist or counselor who can help you work through your feelings.

Building Self-Confidence

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Focus on Your Positive Attributes

When dealing with body shaming, it’s important to remember that no one is perfect. Instead of focusing on your flaws, focus on your positive attributes.

What do you like about yourself? What are your strengths? What are you grateful for>

Write them down and remind yourself of them often. This can help you shift your focus from negative thoughts to positive ones.

Practice Self-Care

Self-care is an important part of building self-confidence. Take care of yourself both physically and mentally.

This can include getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet. It can also include taking a relaxing bath, reading a book, or spending time with loved ones.

Whatever makes you feel good, make time for it.

Seek Professional Help

There’s no shame in seeking professional help when dealing with body shaming.

A therapist or counselor can help you work through your feelings and develop coping strategies. They can also provide tools to help you build self-confidence and deal with negative thoughts.

Don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you need it!

Remember, building self-confidence takes time and effort. It’s not something that happens overnight. But with practice and patience, you can learn to love and accept yourself just as you are.

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Wrapping Up

Body shaming is a serious issue that affects people of all ages, genders, and sizes. It can have a significant impact on one’s mental health and self-esteem. However, there are ways to respond to body shaming and take back control of your life.

First and foremost, it’s essential to recognize that body shaming is not your fault.

You are not responsible for other people’s negative opinions and comments about your body.

It’s important to surround yourself with positive and supportive people who uplift and make you feel good about yourself.

Another way to respond to body shaming is to practice self-love and body positivity. This means accepting and embracing your body, regardless of size, shape, or appearance. You can do this by focusing on your strengths, engaging in activities that make you feel good, and treating yourself with kindness and compassion.

Setting boundaries with people who engage in body shaming behavior is also essential. You can do this by calmly and assertively expressing how their comments make you feel and letting them know that it’s not acceptable. Remember, you have the right to protect your mental health and well-being.

Finally, seeking professional help can be beneficial if you’re struggling with body shaming or related issues. A therapist or counselor can provide the tools and support to overcome negative thoughts and feelings and build a positive body image.

Resources

Organizations:

  1. National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA): https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/
  2. The Body Is Not An Apology: https://thebodyisnotanapology.com/

Books:

  1. The Body Is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love by Sonya Renee Taylor
  2. Body Respect: What Conventional Health Books Get Wrong, Leave Out, and Just Plain Fail to Understand about Weight by Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramor
  3. Dietland by Sarai Walker: https://www.amazon.com/Dietland-Sarai-Walker/dp/0544704835

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Maggie Walker
Maggie Walker

Certifications: Fashion Design (BA)
Education: School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Lives In: Chicago

Maggie has invaluable experience working in the fashion industry. Regarding fitting and clothing, only a select few can match up with her experience.

She oversees every aspect and has put her heart and soul into MadisonPlus.

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