Bullying behavior about body image may start in PE class, but with the pervasiveness of social media, unfortunately, it doesn’t end at high school graduation. Just ask Ashley Judd who was on the receiving end of social media body-shaming after a video of her surfaced online last week leading to merciless trolling about her appearance. The actor clapped back with an emotion-filled Facebook post in which she credited her healthy self-esteem, good boundaries, and an unshakeable knowledge of self for not letting the episode get to her.
Faced with endless public scrutiny, celebrities experience some of the worst public body shaming. But so many have taught us how to rise above the cruelty, rejecting narrow media definitions of beauty on the journey to greater self-love. We’re celebrating these heroes of the growing body positivity movement. We’ll pick you for our team any day!
Speaking of body shaming and Physical Education classes, the State of California is considering a three-year suspension of all public school fitness tests over growing concerns that they contribute to bullying and gender discrimination. In a CNN article on the proposal, California Finance spokesperson H.D. Palmer said of the move: “Dispelling myths, breaking down stereotypes, and improving school climate is one way California is working to keep all students safe and healthy, consistent with the Governor’s commitment to a California that respects all students.” Palmer also acknowledges that “the issue of BMI screening plays a role in the issues of both body shaming and bullying.”
Dr. Lindsey Bruett, psychologist and assistant professor at the USCF Eating Disorders Program told NPR station KQED about the fitness tests that “We know that subjecting young people to having their BMI measured in front of their peers—often well-meaning teachers or PE teachers will call out this number out in front of others, and so it subjects young people unnecessarily to increased body shaming, increased stigma around weight and size, and that’s not something we want to be giving our young people in school.” She continued to explain the risk factors associated with these measurements, which are not a good indicator of health. “A survey that was done in 2012 shows us that 30% of young people who had their BMI measured in school demonstrated—according to parent reports—increased eating disorder behavior or behavior that was concerning for the development of an eating disorder.”
Outside of PE class, social media and culture are powerful influencers on body image. And while most can be negative and harmful, a growing chorus of body positivity activists is leading the way by using their powerful voices to dispel the harmful stereotypes that place too much value on physical appearance.
Feel free to grab these images and share them on social media to show your support for the body positivity movement and healthy self-esteem.
Taylor Swift on Jameela Jamil
Take Action! Next week is Eating Disorder Awareness Week. The National Eating Disorders Association’s theme for the week is “Hindsight is 20/20.” Create your own image or use one (or all) of these images to show your support for body acceptance. Use the hashtag #ComeAsYouAre.