No more shame: The important evolution of body positivity


Ella Litchfield

Featuring celebrities who have been shamed or manipulated based on their appearance by the media.

Ella Litchfield, Photo Manager

The advancement of our society has been a slow, damaging process. Body shaming has been a harmful practice that was revolutionized as younger generations began spreading body positivity through social media and entertainment.

For years, celebrities have been the brunt of body shaming ridicule for people’s magazines, casting directors, their audience and many more. Jonah Hill, for example, was characterized and insulted because of his appearance and has also recently spoken on the damaging effects. 

Hill responds to a Daily Mail article through Instagram after they criticized how he looked on a day at the beach. “I don’t think I ever took my shirt off in a pool… even in front of family and friends.” He explains, “Probably would have happened sooner if my childhood insecurities weren’t exacerbated by years of public mockery about my body by press and interviewers.”

Audiences as well as the celebrities faced a culture of body-shaming for years before one generation saw it as an opportunity for growth. 

Some people, during this time of criticism, were given their own challenge as a result of publicized body shaming. 

Olivia Reddish included her impressions. “There were constantly articles about how women were “brave to show themselves after pregnancy” and a variety of other degrading things surrounding women’s bodies. It was either they were too fat or too skinny, there was never a happy medium.” Reddish continues, 

Media outlets profited off of their degradation of female bodies.These companies fed into the societal expectations for the female appearance

Those who grew up with this environment had to form their own self-confidence and perseverance against the male gaze. 

Reddish continues with her experience and how these tabloids influenced her thought process. “As a child, this was very hard to see and I grew up knowing that, no matter how my body looked… I struggled with that for a very long time.” 

Among many platforms, Tik Tok has allowed users to make messages and videos on the importance of body positivity. One account, “@siennamae” uses her platform to normalize the female body.

Sienna Gomez, also known as “@siennamae” on Tiktok, shared her reflection on creating this message of body positivity through Buzzfeed. “This is such an amazing thing to be representing because there are so many women that are part of this movement.” Said Gomez. Accounts such as these leave an impact on young people to imitate this message in their own lives. Opposing past views, Gomez enforces a loving perspective on one’s body. 

This approach further influences companies as well as the entertainment industry to fit to a new audience. Variations of body types are more present on ad campaigns, in modeling and on the screen. 

Paulina Garza Rodriguez, senior at PV, describes the benefits of addressing this cultural issue. “I definitely have noticed a change and it has affected how people are spoken about on social media and in our entertainment. It is finally being viewed as a big issue… after being heavily disregarded and forgotten”. 

By implementing different body types, these companies are removing one beauty standard to allow people to become mentally healthy and in turn, physically healthy. 

According to an interview with Janet Tomiyama, a health psychologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, on NPR, body shaming causes unhealthy habits, more so than promoting body positivity. 

Tomiyama explains the findings of her research. “Experiencing weight stigma can sort of trigger these processes that, ironically, make you gain more weight,” she says. “And that could put you at even more risk for weight stigma”. The depressive episodes caused by an unhealthy mindset can take a toll on physical health.

People are becoming motivated to feel better about themselves which may include a healthier lifestyle no matter how they look. There is a freedom to benefit one’s body only after they have accepted it. 

The world shows progress in acceptance of everyday body types and normalizing realistic standards. Body positivity is important in bringing people closer together and representing a more.

Society has shown great progress in accepting any and all body types and has helped to normalize realistic and attainable body types. Not to say that there isn’t more work to be done. The great strides taken towards full acceptance have been great but we need to continue on the path to having body positivity for everyone which is important for bringing people closer together.