How TikTok’s Body Positivity Movement Overshadows Body Shaming

PHOTO COURTESY/ Unsplash Solen Feyissa

PHOTO COURTESY/ Unsplash Solen Feyissa

As much as we try to ignore it, body shaming on social media is alive and well. On sites such as TikTok, users commit acts of intentional and unintentional body shaming. If you look up the body-shaming hashtag on TikTok, it has 1.2 billion views. Body shaming can be performed in many forms, such as criticizing someone else’s appearance or commenting on a video with derogatory words like “omg her stomach.” Users hide behind profile photos to make disgusting comments about people proud of their bodies.

Body shaming is also criticizing your own appearance, like the “back profile challenge” on TikTok where “conventionally attractive” girls take videos of their back profile and express displeasure with the outcome. Girls who are already confident in their bodies see videos and comments like these, and new insecurities are born. We also see unintentional body shaming through the rise of eating disorder content, where girls post “what I eat in a day” videos showing a clip of their bodies. These videos receive comments like, “well I guess I’m not eating today” or “I’m not hungry anymore.” Remarks like these can be extremely hurtful and can decrease confidence and self-esteem. 

How can we combat this issue and boost confidence in girls? The body positivity movement on TikTok has served as a meaningful way to uplift women and inspire them to be confident in their skin. TikTok user Emily Bispo (@imnotbunny) is an influencer who broadcasts her self-love and shows her fans to be unashamed of known insecurities such as hip dips and stomach fat. Transgender user Naomi (@naomiheartsxo) also uses her platform to share her self-love journey and inspires others to love their bodies. While thousands of users participating in the body positivity movement keep generating content that makes them happy, they still receive body-shaming comments. Naomi made a TikTok showing that she still receives hate amongst her body positive content. She commented on her video saying, “Honestly it doesn’t affect me but I want my followers to know that it’s okay to be different and to love the skin you’re in.”  

We also see unintentional body shaming through the rise of eating disorder content, where girls post “what I eat in a day” videos showing a clip of their bodies. These videos receive comments like, “well I guess I’m not eating today” or “I’m not hungry anymore.””

— Olivia Seaman

In the age of social media, we have been taught that there is only one way a woman’s body can look. Thanks to the TikTok algorithm, which has been accused of only showing smaller bodies, this claim is heightened. The body positivity movement throws this standard away and shows women that there is no “perfect” way to look.

Body positivity is so important because it increases the mental health and well-being of girls and women, playing a key role in realizing self-worth. As someone who has always felt insecure of her body, this movement has changed the way I view my body in a positive light. I know I am not alone on days I feel insecure, and I know there is an outlet where people share and spread love for their bodies. I encourage you to do your part and love your body because it is the only body you have!