Sometimes things fly out of our mouths without us thinking. And we do things that we don’t even think twice about. But some of those things may have some serious consequences — they could be hurting the people around us.
Here are some ways we might be body shaming, even if we have harmless intentions and why we should pause before saying them:
“Real women have curves”
Often seen as a supportive message for curvy women, it has a deeper meaning to it. If you’re implying that curves make a real woman, what about the women who are naturally skinny? It instantly eliminates people that don’t fit that mold and is still making people feel insecure, even if it comes rooted in a place of body positivity.
“You’re so lucky that you’re skinny!”
While you might intend this as a compliment, it’s definitely a way to make someone feel awkward. There’s a chance that this person doesn’t feel lucky that they’re skinny. They could suffer from an eating disorder or a medical condition that gives them no choice but to be this way.
With the pressures of society, people often feel like they should be the opposite of what they are. Skinny girls think they should be curvier and vice versa. Being skinny could be something they’re very insecure about.
“I feel so fat right now”
It doesn’t matter that you’re referring to yourself. What matters is the fact that you’re using fat as an insult or as something bad. If you say this in front of someone who thinks they’re fat, they’re instantly going to feel ashamed, especially if you’re smaller than them. There’s nothing wrong with just saying you’re super full.
Staring while someone eats
This is something a lot of us might do unintentionally. We all zone out sometimes. But if you’re staring at someone chowing down on a cheeseburger and they catch you, they aren’t going to feel great. Imagine if it happened to you? You wouldn’t want anyone watching you eat. Try to avoid doing the same to other people so they don’t get the wrong idea.
“You’re so brave for wearing that”
Wearing clothes isn’t brave. It’s something all of us do every day. That’s just making it seem like it’s some amazing feat for a curvier girl to wear something form-fitting or short. They just want to wear clothes that make them feel good. No one should have to feel bad about doing that.
Making assumptions due to how someone’s dressed
Someone covering up their whole body doesn’t mean they’re ashamed of it. And someone flaunting some cleavage or showing some leg isn’t a slut. People wear what makes them confident and that’s different for everyone. You shouldn’t assume anything based on what people are wearing. People just want to feel good when they walk down the street in clothes they love and there’s nothing more to it.
Posting a sneaky picture of someone
Social media makes it insanely easy for unflattering pictures of people to get out there. It also makes it easy to body shame. Recently, a Playboy model got fired from her job after posting a picture of a woman at the gym and captioning it with a snide remark. That woman was there to work out just like she was. She wasn’t expecting anyone to snap a naked photo of her and post it online.
You might think you’re being funny when you do it, but this is something that can really hurt people — and not just the person whose picture you’re posting. The wrong tweet or Instagram post can cost you your job and could end up with you being charged with a crime. It isn’t a joke. They’re people just like you are.
“I just don’t think that was made for your body type”
Stores tend to cater to a very specific type of person. The way things look on the models in the pictures are almost never how they look on us in the fitting room.
It’s okay to give a friend honest feedback and say something doesn’t look good on her. But don’t bring body type into it. Chances are, she’s already feeling insecure about trying things on that maybe she wouldn’t normally. You don’t have to rub salt in the wound.
Have you ever accidentally said or done something on this list? Now’s the time to make some changes. Think about your words and actions. They could be doing more damage than you ever imagined, but it’s not too late to approach things differently in the future.