The neologism bodyshaming is finding its way through social media and is currently opening a debate about the ideal beauty and how the society perceives it. There is nothing new about the fact that anyone who publishes something on social media can get the so called “hate comments”. Especially on Instagram. Since this platform is built exactly for sharing pictures, the negative comments are more dangerous because they directly criticise the appearance of the person shown in the picture. Therefore bodyshaming, as it sounds, is all about shaming other people’s bodies, based on the socially created image of ideal beauty.


Photo by Samuel Zeller via Unsplash

We, as human beings, always urge ourselves to the ideal beauty. The paradox is that it changes in time and space and what once is considered ideal beauty can later be perceived as ugly. For example, during the Renaissance fatter bodies, double chins and very pale skin were idealised. Even I noticed a difference when I moved from Berlin to Paris lately. If big breasts is a trend at the moment, you could easily have as a trend skinny models with tight-gaps like Kate Moss, or the opposite, women with big bums like Kim Kardashian, or why not full lips like Kylie Jenner, trending in the blink of the eye.


Our bodies will clearly never fit all of the social beauty expectations or perhaps not even one of them, because not everyone is anatomically made to have tight-gaps or big bums. According to that, we will never be happy if we always try to look like what is currently considered beautiful.


Photo by Jamie Street via Unsplash

However, it is relevant to question, who does actually profit from this beauty competition? Well, that is easy to answer. Nearly every skin- and hair-care brand, as well as every makeup brand, diet product companies, the plastic surgery industry, fashion industry and even economy in general. Indeed more and more people buy beauty products, because they do not feel confident with how they look and try to improve it. Nowadays we are supposed to feel bad about our bodies, so being confident about ourselves is kind of a rebellious act.


That leads me back to the phenomenon bodyshaming. We let the beauty industry tell us how to look like and forces us to judge those who do not follow their standards. Why are we shaming other people, although no one of us looks exactly like the ideal beauty? Even if someone would look exactly like the contemporary “ideal”, they will never have the right to judge others by their appearance. Comments like: ”You are so skinny, that looks disgusting, are you anorexic?” or “I would not wear this bikini if I had a belly this chubby…” are insulting, and they are not helping anybody. Here is important to emphasize that this counts not only for girls. There are many guys who suffer from not gaining enough weight or not losing it. Even though it seems that women are more affected by bodyshaming, it does not mean that we can ignore the fact that bodyshaming has no gender, and we all need to work to change this.


Changing social norms is hard, but we need to train ourselves to see and focus on the beauty around us. We should embrace more body positivity and support each other more. And don’t forget:


Another Woman’s beauty does not mean the absence of yours.”


Author: Antonia Janke