The latest celebrity body-shaming incidents
When New Zealand singer Lorde hit it big in 2013 with her album “Pure Heroine,” the then-16-year-old singer/songwriter achieved instant fame. The flip side to her fame was social media’s body shaming that came with it.
“It rocked my foundations,” she told the British music magazine NME this month. “I remember being made aware of my looks and body in a way I had never been.”
Now 20, the singer has overcome the social assault with help and guidance from her family.
Actress Eva Longoria suffered the same fate this spring. Paparazzi snapped a few photos of her, showing her with a distended abdomen. That prompted rumors that she was pregnant. “I have to tell you, all I did was eat cheese,” she told reporters, “and everybody is saying I’m pregnant, and I’m not.”
If the pain of such negative feedback can be so overwhelming to celebrities, where does that leave a teen who has no fan network or supportive family?
The body shaming of Lorde and Longoria is not unique; it’s a trend. The rise of social media has made comparing oneself to others easy. What’s worse, it makes it easier for others to make negative comments for all to see.
Dr. Chandragupta Vedak, a psychiatrist at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill., says although adolescents aren’t the only ones who are body shamed on social media, they are likely to be affected by it the most.
“Adolescence is hard enough without having your life broadcast to the world through a random image or moment captured in time,” he says. “As many as 65 percent of people with eating disorders – a condition that most commonly begins in adolescence – state that body shaming and bullying contributed to their condition.”
If a person experiences body shaming on social media, Dr. Vedak offers these suggestions for how they can protect themselves emotionally:
- First, it is important to remind those victimized by body shaming on social media that the shaming, cruel things others say represent their own prejudices and misconceptions. It has nothing to do with who you are as a person. Though it might be the perpetrator’s intention to make you feel bad, you don’t have to internalize their words, take them seriously or think about them for any longer than the moment.
- Additionally, oftentimes when people say hurtful things, they might not know what they’re doing is body shaming. So, don’t react instantaneously if body shaming is coming from someone you care about and trust. Try to engage with them. It might mean the difference between a negative interaction and an experience that can be ultimately positive.
- It is also important to be cognizant of how you react to social media. If you feel more negative about yourself after being on social media, consider taking a break from social media. Focus on following social media accounts that are uplifting and encouraging.
Dr. Vedak says a large majority of people who engage in body shaming are dealing with their own insecurities and discomforts. So, if you recognize yourself to be one of those perpetrators, practice identifying why you are upset about a situation.
“It’s unlikely you’re mad at an individual because she does not fit in your idealized body image, and more likely that you’re upset about a miscommunication or feeling of rejection. Practice thinking it, and, eventually, verbalizing it,” he says. “Also, confront those who perpetuate body shaming. Once you’ve become more aware of your own body-shaming behaviors, you may notice how often your friends, family or co-workers do it. Talk to them.”
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