Body shaming and its impact on children's self-esteem and mental health. Body image in childhood.


***** TRIGGER WARNING*****


A few days ago somewhere on Instagram, I saw a picture of a girl I once watched a video about. She has the world's longest legs, and she is the sweetest, most humble, beautiful girl. Do you know what bothered me, though? The fact that I couldn't remember her name, but I could vividly remember how her mother body-shamed her. It was heartbreaking.


So the body shaming is something I want to talk about today. 

I grew up in a very specific environment, where I was constantly body shamed. Since I was a little girl. My teeth were crooked, so I was shamed for that. I was body-shamed for having a weird, nasal voice, small breasts, being short, having weak hair and big feet. When I hit puberty, I was body-shamed for having stretch marks. And obviously, my weight fluctuations were the main reason of body-shaming. Oh, and that's not everything. The list goes on.



What is this crazy world we are living in, that we aim for all women to be the same, or at least to be as close to the ideal face and body as possible? Almost all of the women on the planet won't live up to that. How can 3,5 billion women or 4 billion men all look the same or very similar to one another? 

We can't expect a Native American girl to look White, or White to look Black. A short person to have legs as long as a very tall person has. But these insane beauty standards aren't the only reasons for body shaming. Here are some more:


  • Bullying. Bullying is socially acceptable. 
  • Laughing on the ginger kids, fat kids, thin kids and kids wearing glasses are normalised.
  • Women are treated as sexual objects and as if their main life purpose was pleasing men. 
  • Men are shamed for the size of their genitals and their height like that was something they had any control of.
  • We are being fed and brainwashed by mass media on a daily basis. 


Body shaming is directly linked to low self-esteem, self-harm, eating disorders, substance abuse and depression

Many parents think that if they fat-shame their child, the child will magically find that legendary will power and lose weight in a blink of an eye.

If fat shaming worked, there would be no obesity today. It doesn't work. 


It is more harmful than you think. If your child has a problem, take them to the doctor and check their health. Obesity is usually a side effect of something. Check their hormones. Ask your child what can you do for them, and if they want you to do anything at all. 


If you laugh on your daughters ginger hair, you make her hate them. And, obviously, you won't let her colour her hair either, so what can she do? 

Is there something she can do? Can she modify her genetics? Is there a potion she can make to change them? And what is most important, is there anything wrong with having ginger hair? I love ginger hair, and I never understood why do people have a problem with them.


I can tell you with all honesty that all that body-shaming did nothing good to me. My voice hasn't changed, I am not any taller, my eyes aren't bigger, and feet smaller. I still have stretch marks, and my weight still fluctuates. 

Would I be healthier if I wasn't body shamed? for sure. Mentally, definitely. All of that made me just dislike myself, and think that I don't deserve certain things. It led to an eating disorder. I am 28 years old and I still don't love myself enough. 


I'll tell you more. I know a man who is in good health, but even if there was a fire or an explosion right behind him, he wouldn't run.

He has a blockade, something isn't allowing him to run. Do you know what that is?

When he was a young boy, his father watched him play with some kids, and later that day yelled at him and beat him up because he wasn't running 'manly' enough. The guy won't run even if a freaking polar bear is trying to attack him. No chance. 


We have to break that vicious cycle of body shaming and abuse, and protect our children at all costs. Model a healthy lifestyle, model healthy approach to one's body. Let's stop punishing our kids for things they have no control over, like genetics

Instead, let's focus on appreciating our children's unique personalities, good hearts, curiosity, persistence, and all that makes them THEM. 

And, first of all, let's not raise bullies. 


If you don't want to over-compliment your child, tell them that they are perfect just the way they are. Because they are perfect. Just do that and watch them fly. They will be unstoppable. 


Let me know what your thoughts are, please. Thank you for your time!

Gosia x



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18 comments

  1. I was bullied for yers when I was younger. It really can cause issues with low self-esteem and confidence that can be difficult to overcome.

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    1. I am so sorry about that, Val <3 Thank you for sharing it with us. Hope you are well.

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  2. I think it's so important to teach kids about self acceptance and everyone being different and unique from early on so kids don't compare their looks to others and think their looks are bad for whatever reason, but it's also importsnt for adults to remember and know as well x

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    1. I absolutely agree with you. Have a great day x

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  3. It absolutely breaks my heart that we grow up in a world where we all think so little of ourselves but also feel we can voice our views on other people.

    Such an important topic to discuss, we really need to teach our children that comparing themselves to others is so damaging x

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    1. It breaks my heart too. Almost every single person I know carries so much pain and trauma, they have extremely low self-esteem.

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  4. I have kids and body shaming is something I would never do,as I think it is important to remind kids that it is okay to be different and unique. Thank you for sharing this beautiful post

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    1. <3 thank you so much for visiting my blog and leaving such a sweet comment. All the best x

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  5. When I was younger I used to get called names because I wore glasses. I think it is really important to teach our children that everyone is different and that it ok.

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    1. I am sorry that you had to go through that. It is truly heartbreaking that children have just two options in this situation: to wear the glasses they NEED and get bullied, or not wear the glasses, but not be able to see anything the teachers write on the board. It's so unfair, and I will always fight against that.

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  6. Thank you for touching on a subject that is so personal and many are afraid to write about. I'm sorry you had to go through this but you mentioned a lot of really important points! Very good read :)

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    1. Thank you for such a sweet comment! We definitely need to talk about this problem more openly. Have a great day x

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  7. This list resonates so much with me. So true what you said about the fact that you would be healthier if you weren't body shamed - mentally healthier! I've had years of being body shamed and it has impacted on my mental health. Would love to say my kids won't experience it but my eldest has already had comments from school.

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    1. I am sorry that you had to go through that, and I am sorry that your eldest child is going through that at the moment. It is so unfair. I hope that they will manage to believe in themselves no matter what x

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