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Exploring the relationship between body shaming, bullying, and self-confidence

Updated: Sep 23, 2021

Exploring the relationship between body shaming, bullying, and self-confidence in educational institutions

Body shaming is when someone is judged based on their body's form, size, or appearance. Body shaming may affect everyone, but it is more common among girls. Children and adolescents who are overweight or even underweight are more likely to be bullied. Bullying is perpetrated by friends, instructors, or family members, and it can be as subtle as taunting.


Years ago, bullying could be avoided by going home, hanging out with friends, participating in extracurricular activities etc. Students still have all of those options for escaping bullying today, but there are now mobile phones and other kinds of social media where they may be targeted anonymously.



Here’s what the statistics have to say:

According to national polls, 30 percent of overweight middle-school girls and 24 percent of overweight middle-school males face daily bullying, taunting, and/or rejection as a result of their weight. These figures significntly increased for overweight high schoolers, with 63 percent of girls and 58 percent of males facing bullying as a result of their weight and stature.


As per the 2016 Girls' Attitudes Survey, 47 percent of girls aged 11 to 21 claimed that their appearance holds them back and restricts what they may achieve. Body shaming has unfortunately become a part of most people's daily lives and experiences. 94 percent of young females have been body shamed, and 57 percent of 12- to 20-year-olds believe their bullying was motivated by their appearance.

The consequences of bullying

When someone is bullied because of their weight or appearance, they are more likely to acquire a poor body image. Individuals who have been bullied are more likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder. Their fear is so severe that they have nightmares, flashbacks and avoid the offenders to the point that they drop out or switch schools. Bullying has catastrophic repercussions that vary for every individual since the threshold for various types of bullying differs person to person.


Loneliness, loss of confidence, blame, low self-esteem, rage, fear, despair, loss of control, and bewilderment are some of the emotions that targets feel. The victims tend to believe the insults when the bully doubts the victim's weight, maturity, gender presentation, hygiene, money, or achievement etc. Victims may withdraw into themselves, shrinking and becoming more afraid. After being bullied for an extended period, some victims grow up to be unhappy and nervous adults.

How can bullying be prevented?

Talking to a teacher, school counselor, or principal can assist you stop a classmate from cyberbullying you or someone you know. In fact, several jurisdictions require schools to have a cyberbullying policy in place in order to assist kids who are being bullied.


Furthermore, while the internet may be interesting, inviting, and entertaining, but it can also be harmful, insulting, and cruel. There are several techniques that someone who is facing cyberbullying or body shaming may use to prevent trauma. Take, for example, self-care and self-love. Although these appear to be a straightforward technique, many individuals thoroughly struggle in prioritizing them.


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