Body Shaming Needs To Stop At All Levels [Opinion]

Christina St Jean

After Ronda Rousey, Selena Gomez, and Vin Diesel have all been hit recently with body shaming statements from either fans or the media at large, it is time to speak out. As "civilians" -- members of the public at large, rather than the celebrity elite -- we are told one facet of the lives of the celebrities we so avidly follow. Body shaming is done to diminish the power of those who are frequently envied or otherwise held to a higher standard, and it needs to stop.

Body Shaming Needs To Stop At All Levels (Opinion)Selena Gomez, for instance, reported that while she was undergoing chemotherapy to treat lupus, she was made to feel as though she was quite unattractive. Gomez is an actress and singer in her early 20s, and she was undergoing serious treatment for a serious autoimmune disorder. While much about Gomez' condition was kept very low key, Gomez reported to several media sources that she was incredibly hurt by the comments she was hit by during her break from the industry.

"I wanted so badly to say, 'You guys have no idea. I'm in chemotherapy. You're a–-holes.' I locked myself away until I was confident and comfortable again," she said, according to CBC.

Lupus is a chronic and inflammatory autoimmune condition that sees an individual's immune system attacking its own healthy tissues and organs. Seal and Toni Braxton are two other celebrities who endured undue attention as a result of a lupus diagnosis. Gomez eventually had counselling to deal with body shaming statements that she endured, and says she maintains further good health through diet, routine exercise, and medication, according to Elle.

Rousey is on top of the women's MMA heap, thanks to her continued reign as the UFC's Women's Bantamweight Champion. Her last four fights have lasted a total of 130 seconds, yet she has also been plagued by statements that are all about body shaming. Rousey has made no secret of the fact that when she is not getting ready for a fight, her weight can hover anywhere between 135 and 150 pounds. Statements about how proud she is of her body -- that each muscle serves a particular purpose -- have featured prominently in interviews, yet she still has had to deal with comments that she is somehow fat.

There are many people -- men and women alike -- who admire Rousey for what she has been able to do thus far in her UFC tenure.

"If anyone calls me fat one more time in my life, I'm going to kill them," she told the New York Times. She later turned her attention to male-targeted magazines in the interview, some of which she herself has appeared in. "When women say that going on publications directed at men is somehow demeaning, I don't think that's true. I think that's one really effective way to change the societal standard women are held to."

Body Shaming Needs To Stop At All Levels (Opinion)Interestingly, Vin Diesel was also hit by some body shaming statements following images surfacing of the actor with less-than-washboard abs. According to Access Hollywood, Diesel had a lot to say about body shaming.

"Body-shaming is always wrong!" he said in an Instagram post. He teased his followers about whether he should show current images of his much-loved six-pack, and said that there had been a reporter recently who had even asked to see the "dad bod" that had featured in the image that had come up.

"The pic from yesterday… For those who wanted the show… For all the angels that love dad bod regardless…," the actor posted on Instagram Wednesday, a day after the unflattering images of Diesel were run.

Certainly, being photographed from underneath is never a flattering angle, and to be sure, Diesel did take the high road in showing his fans that the six-pack was still perfectly in place. However, it should be realized that there are a growing number of people who struggle with body shaming on a daily basis.

According to the Health and Social Care Information Centre, as reported by Fat Girl pHD, over 6,500 teens -- 443 of which were under 13 -- were diagnosed with an eating disorder of some sort in the United Kingdom in 2010-11. A report published in 2012 reported that a third to a half of teen girls fear getting fat and engage in dieting or binge eating. That is definitely indication enough that body shaming has to stop.

[Vin Diesel photo courtesy of]

[Selena Gomez photo courtesy of John Phillips/Getty Images Entertainment]

[Photo by Theo Wargo/NBC/Getty Images for "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon"]

[Feature image by Lars Aronsson [CC SA 1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons]