How to stand up to body shamers

Have you ever been body shamed? Or maybe you’ve seen it happen to someone else?

But, body shaming is NEVER okay and you don’t have to tolerate it.

So in this post, I’m looking at what body shaming is AND how you can stand up to a body shamer.

I’ll be sharing:

  • How to know when a comment has crossed the line into body shaming
  • Why body shaming is never acceptable (there are no excuses!)
  • How you can play your part to stop normalising body shaming
  • Four strategies you can use to stand up to body shamers

Watch or read below:

What is body shaming?  Who is a body shamer?

On an almost daily basis, I hear from women and men in my community who are body shamed.  The body shamers are mostly family and partners, with some friends, peers and strangers too.

I view body shaming as any comment that implies someone’s body is inferior or needs fixing in some way.

Sadly, there are individuals who think it’s acceptable to comment on another person’s body. The justification is often along the lines of:

I’m only saying this for the good of your health.

You want to make a good impression, don’t you?

I’d find you more attractive if you lost weight, got breast implants, dyed your grey hairs (this is just a selection of examples from the emails I receive).

How are you going to meet someone if you don’t lose weight?

But whether these comments seem ‘justified’ or not, to me, they all amount to body shaming. There is never any justification for making comments or passing an opinion on someone else’s body.

Body shaming is NOT okay

I don’t care if it’s a member of your family or your partner, body shaming still isn’t justified. Your body, your business. You have the right to live peacefully in your body without it being shamed.

I went into the reasons why most people body shame in some previous posts, which you might want to check out:

How to deal with negative comments about your body

Dealing with ‘concern for health’ comments about your weight

But in this post, I want to share some tips and strategies that anyone can use to help stand up to body shamers.

Even if your body is not being shamed, you still have a role to play. Our society has normalised body shaming, (particularly when it comes to *fat people), so it’s time we all took a stand to shut it down!

Dealing with body shamers

So here are four tips to stand up to, and deal with, body shaming:

Firstly, call out the body shamers

Turning a blind eye to body shaming normalises it in society.

So, the next time you witness someone being body shamed, stand up for them. You might try saying something like, “Hey, what makes it okay for you to say hurtful things about someone’s body? How would it make you feel?”

Secondly, have a ‘go-to’ response to body shamers

If you are often on the receiving end of body shaming, it can be useful to prepare a response.  You can vary this response depending on whether the person is a family member or a stranger.

It’s useful to think this through in advance, because when you’re in the grip of body shame, it can be difficult to think of how to respond.

So come up with something that works for you.  Decide whether it will be a witty retort or strike a more serious chord. Body shamers often ambush their victims, so they’re more likely to be thrown off balance by a well thought through response!

Thirdly, pick your battles

If you don’t feel strong enough to call someone out for body shaming, don’t beat yourself up. It’s not the easiest thing to do, particularly if it’s a member of your family!

If you feel like standing up to the body shamer won’t make any difference or might escalate the situation, it may be better to ignore the comment.

Body shamers are bullies who get off on a reaction to their inflammatory comments. When you don’t react, it takes the wind out of their sails.

Finally, do whatever you need to do to nurture yourself

Experiencing body shaming can be hurtful and unpleasant, so be kind to yourself.

Do whatever you need to do to release the experience, whether that’s having a good cry, journaling about what happened, or venting your feelings to a good friend or the dog.

Body shaming is not okay, and there is a lot more all of us can do to stand up to the body shamers.

* I use the word ‘fat’ as a descriptor (which it is), not an insult.

I’d love to know if you’ve found these strategies useful for dealing with body shaming.  Please leave me a comment below.

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