Why Do People Body Shame?


In This Article:

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As we grow, we experience all kinds of realizations that crush our innocence:

  • Friends aren’t always friends forever
  • Santa (gasp!) isn’t real
  • Our parents don’t know everything

And, perhaps, most crushing of all: some people harshly judge the bodies of others, often openly and sometimes even loudly.

You know how hurtful these behaviors can be if you’ve been on the receiving end of those judgments—or even within earshot of words, looks, and gestures that judge others. So why do people do it?

Body Shaming: A Disclaimer

Before we talk about why people choose to body shame others, we want to say right up front: reasons don’t equal excuses. Ever. There’s no appropriate reason to make another person feel bad about the skin they’re in.

At the same time, it can be helpful to understand the motivation behind a person’s hurtful words. Doing this gives us perspective. And perspective helps us to decide on the best path forward. Depending on the situation, we might:

  • Shake off what another person says about us
  • Remain confident as we see the lack of confidence in others
  • Understand the heart behind hurtful words
  • Call out misbehavior in a calm, respectful manner
  • Shut down rude talk without room for more to be said

With this in mind, let’s gain some perspective.

Body Shaming: Why People Do It

There are so many interesting things we could be talking about—and so many good reasons to laugh. So why talk about how a person looks, right? Unfortunately, plenty of people do. Lets look at some of the reasons why.

Insecurity: When a person feels self-conscious about their own body, they may talk badly about another person’s body to make themself feel better.

Societal norms: For so long, joking about the way people look has just been something that many people were brought up thinking is okay. This is learned bias.

Best of intentions: Friends, family members, and even medical professionals can think that they’re being helpful by pointing out perceived areas for improvement in another person.

Lack of awareness: A person may refer to a friend’s stature or frame and not realize that they’ve crossed a line or that the person on the receiving end doesn’t like it.

Immaturity: Some people simply don’t take the time or care to consider their words, or how they might affect another person.

Body Shaming: A Reality Check

Of course, beyond gaining perspective, it doesn’t really matter why a person chooses to body shame. After all, the results are the same. Body shaming is known to cause mental health problems, eating disorders, low self-esteem, and more. (1)

And most of us know firsthand about the negative effects of body shaming because we’ve been on the receiving end of it at one time or another—especially when we were growing up. Research shows that 94% of teen girls and 64% of teen boys have been body shamed. (2)

So, let’s work together to stop body shaming and talk about more interesting things.

Did body shaming lead you to an eating disorder? We can help. Give us a call today at 765.819.2524 or connect with us through our contact form.



  1. https://psychcentral.com/health/body-shaming#is-body-shaming-subconscious
  2. https://www.wcnc.com/article/features/producers-picks/study-94-of-teenage-girls-have-been-body-shamed/275-436143277


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