Negative body image can seriously affect our self-esteem and impact our mental health, causing depression, eating disorders and even suicidal thoughts.⠀

As part of the #ShameCultureExposedSeries I’ve started on Instagram with the first topic on Beauty and Body image, I’ve gathered some of the shame-based standards our culture has taught us about what it means to be beautiful:

  • Female thin bodies are the beautiful bodies (but not necessarily sexy)    
  • Female bodies with curves are the sexy bodies (but not necessarily beautiful)        
  • Our body weight can and should determine our happiness
  • Thin people do not eat well or as frequently as they should
  • We have the right to judge other people’s weight whether through gossiping or in the media        
  • Women’s body hair isn’t really okay and should always be removed
  • Perfect body, face and hair are attainable for everyone and we should all strive for them
  • Wrinkles reveal that a woman is aging, so we need to prevent their development and make sure our skin remains firm    
  • Attractive men are the ones who are muscular and with flat stomachs
  • We must deprive ourselves of certain foods completely and go on fad diets because losing weight isn’t enough – we must lose weight fast too
  • Our natural beauty isn’t adequate – we should always try to look better
  • Shaming people for their weight encourages them to adopt healthier lifestyles
  • Women with small breasts aren’t sexy or feminine enough
  • Beautiful, predominantly, means white

Believing that our natural beauty and body type is inadequate creates shame-based thinking, and make us feel separate from and below others. ⠀

I’ve certainly been affected by quite a few of these beliefs. When I was younger, I was bullied for having smaller breasts by men I used to work with (!) and an ex-boyfriend was trying to pay for a plastic surgery to have my breast size increased. I’ve also often felt unsexy because I’m naturally slim and my body isn’t curvy. ⠀

We are all responsible for creating real change and can start small, e.g. by not commenting on people’s weight if they haven’t given us permission, or when we see a woman that hasn’t waxed, we don’t need to remind her – she will do it IF she wants to. Also, let’s stop clicking on articles that shame women or men for how they look – if we won’t read them, they won’t write them.⠀ ⠀

Now, your turn. Have any of these beliefs affected you? Let me know in the comments below 👇🏼⠀

Also, can you help with spreading this important message? Share this blog post with them and spread the love!

The next post of the #ShameCultureExposedSeries will be about Mental Health, so stay tuned. ⠀

You’re beautiful, no matter what 💕⠀

N.B. This post doesn’t want to undermine the importance of looking after the health of our bodies, eating well and stay active. These things are important and often life-saving. This post highlights the unrealistic standards that make us feel ashamed for what is normal in our bodies as part of our human nature and supports the need for diverse beauty reflecting the real world as it is.

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