Hopefully someday, body shaming will be a thing of the past — and a lot of celebrities are trying to make that happen ASAP. This month, Meghan Trainor pulled one of her music videos after realizing production had given her waist a more flattering silhouette.
"They Photoshopped the crap outta me," she said. "My waist is not that teeny, I had a bomb waist that night, I don't know why they didn't like my waist."
In March, pop star Zendaya responded to a comedian who skinny-shamed her on Twitter, and had an important message for her fans, "Now everyone go look in the mirror at their beautiful body, and love that shit #thickgirlswinning #skinnygirlswinning #weallwinning". Other celebrities like Gigi Hadid, Ariel Winters and Daisy Ridley have tasked the public to stop critiquing their bodies.
And for good reason — according to a 2011 study done by Glamour magazine, on average, women have 13 negative thoughts about their bodies daily. That's about one for every hour we're awake, and it needs to stop.
These negative thoughts are now even part of our daily discourse as women bond over body shame, says Dr. Robyn Silverman, body image expert and author of "Good Girls Don’t Get Fat: How Weight Obsession Is Messing Up Our Girls and How We Can Help Them Thrive Despite It."
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"When women are bashing their bodies together, they're having a 'me too' moment. It creates this baton twirling where someone says, 'I hate my thighs' and the other person says, 'No! Have you seen mine?' The baton gets passed," says Silverman.
It's a serious problem, she says, and it's time for women to change the conversation. Here's the right way to respond to five common body-bashing remarks.
1. "I'm so fat."
How many times has a friend or loved one uttered these three dreaded words? For many women, words like "thin" and "fat" describe not only our weight and size but indicate our character, too. And nothing could be further from the truth.
Since these words carry so much weight, Silverman suggests nipping the negativity in the bud.
"Start those conversations off by saying, 'Let's not go there,'" says Silverman.
"Continue by saying, 'There are so many things we can do to keep our heads and bodies healthy, but let's not bash them. We need to see ourselves for what our bodies can do, who we truly are and what we can bring to the table."
2. "I hate my (insert body part)."
Women seem to never have trouble pinpointing something "wrong" with our bodies and then handing the baton to a friend who adds to the list of complaints.
Instead of engaging in a game of 'who looks worse?', flip the conversation into a positive one.
"If your friend is complaining about her legs, I would say, 'Do you mean those legs that help you walk hand-in-hand with your husband down the beach? Or the ones you're chasing your kids around?" Silverman notes.
If you can't celebrate how your body looks, then try to appreciate what it does for you.
3. "Other girls have it so easy."
The 24/7 nature of social media blasts us with messages that we're not thin enough, not tall enough and so much more.
"When you're bombarded with these messages over and over — even though we know it's heavily altered — we take them as the truth," Silverman says.
"To overcome this farce, you should say to your friend or loved one, 'You know that's Photoshopped right? Even the girl down the street is using Photoshop and filters. You know this is a lie right?'"
"It's a reminder that we're real and these images are not," Silverman elaborates.
4. "I try so hard and I don't see any change."
Use remarks like this as a chance to offer tangible health advice and support.
"I would ask what she is looking to do," Silverman says. "If your friend wants to run more or be more active then suggest doing something together. Say, 'I want to be more active too and I'd feel better if I was stretching more and trying different things. If you want to do something with me then I'd be into it.'"
Go into it together with one rule: no body bashing. Ever.
5. "Why can't I look like her?"
Aiming to look like a certain celebrity often means you'd have to change your height, weight and genetic background. At the very least, you'd have to hire a photo retoucher like that celebrity surely does.
"Say, 'Why are you comparing yourself to her? You were born with your genetics and she was born with hers. If you're eating right, drinking enough water and exercising, then your body is just how it's supposed to be.'"
Mention your friend's positive attributes, and remind her that in the bigger picture, we should be defining ourselves in terms of our character and strengths — and not our physical appearance.