We would never think of hurting a loved-one. However, internalised norms and deeplyentrenched beauty standards perpetuate us to make comments that, while they are wellintended, can come off as very hurtful. Here are 4 ways people unknowingly body shame:
#1 Telling someone that they are brave for wearing something tight or revealing
This just shows how deeply-rooted body shaming is in our culture. If wearing tight skirts or revealing tank tops is perceived as bravery, it only entails that who they are should be hidden in the first place.
#2 Telling someone that they are pretty for a [insert derogatory term] girl
By mentioning the derogatory term in the compliment, it implies that who they are is
usually perceived as bad or undesirable.
#3 Telling someone that they would be prettier if they changed something about their body
This comment is particular dangerous as it promotes risky bodily modifications such as tanning, skin-bleaching and plastic surgery. The other problem with this “compliment” is that people are already pretty, and don’t need to change their body in order to feel that way about themselves.
#4 Assuming that overweight or underweight people are unhealthy
This perpetuates the idea that being overweight or underweight is sorely the result of an unhealthy diet, despite the fact they there is a myriad of medical and personal reasons why people see really high or really low numbers on their scale. These kinds of statements also shame eating and the enjoyment of food, which ultimately promotes bad dieting habits.