Tips for fighting from a successful author and entrepreneur.
5 min read
The opinions expressed by collaborators are personal.
Social media has revolutionized the world. They have given a voice to the underprivileged, a platform for the underrepresented, and a community for those who felt isolated. But there is a downside to this magical world, and an important part of this side has to do with the signage of the bodies, or the b ody shaming as it is known in English.
The inclusive and accessible nature of social media is its biggest draw, but in some cases it is also its biggest flaw, as it offers users who generally hide under the cloak of anonymity the opportunity to hunt down, harass, ridicule and harass people all day with embarrassing comments on every post and update.
As someone who lives under the spotlight, I have experienced firsthand how intrusive and annoying bullying can be. Under someone's gaze, you will always be too fat or too thin, too tall or too short. Or they will criticize your skin color, the clothes you wear, your hair, your makeup, the way you walk and the opinions you express. In short, anything that weakens you and makes you wonder, which in turn can lead to serious repercussions, such as depression and eating disorders.
A few years ago, after the publication of my first novel, I experienced how terrifying it can be for a fan to become a real stalker, someone who not only writes about you, but also obsessively follows you in real life events. It was a terrible experience, but I learned from it and it made me stronger.
For me, the true power of social media has to do with sharing positive vibes and helping others. To achieve this, I love to share with you some steps you can take to handle body shaming and send those trolls back to their caves.
Know your enemy
Body shaming is not always so cheeky, it is not that someone says “fat” or “ugly”, but it can be incredibly subtle, and may even come from a friend, but I guarantee that you get under the skin of millions in different ways. For example, someone might say something between the lines like “You're never going to get a boyfriend if you look like this” or “Are you really going to eat that?” Those comments may not want to hurt you, but trust me, they have only one purpose: to make you feel bad about yourself. I have zero tolerance for body shaming and I am one of those who believe that if you don't have something good to say, you shouldn't say anything. Healing your social media can be a good place to start. Eliminate people, even if they are your close friends, who directly or indirectly support this culture.
Don't feed the trolls
Nobody likes to be ignored, so this is usually the best way to handle those who try to make you feel bad about your body: pretend they don't exist. In other words, don't feed the trolls. Bullies only bother to generate a response, something that validates their deep-seated negativity and shows that they have affected you in some way. If you choose to treat them so inconsistently that they don't even deserve an answer, chances are they'll leave you alone and go bother someone else.
Have a battle plan
If ignoring them doesn't work, it's time to act. In these types of situations, it is not worth getting angry and acting impulsively because that is just what they want. Better reacts in a coldly calculated way. Rehearse exactly what you want to tell them and the reason why you are going to answer them, never lower yourself to their level. You may want to respond rudely when someone attacks you, but you'll feel much better about yourself in the long run if you don't. Remember that your opinion of yourself should not depend on what others think.
Be proactive and positive
Making yourself feel bad about your body only works if those who tell you things know that you feel insecure. Show them that this is not the case. If someone criticizes your weight, why not upload another photo that says 'Happy with my body' or 'Living under my own rules'? It's your body, so dress it up! Don't let trolls dictate the rules of your happiness.
Learn to love you
To close and being the most important thing: learn to love every aspect of yourself, with everything and flaws, especially if you are going to have to deal with the horrible face of body shaming. Each and every one of us is beautiful, and no one has the right to tell us otherwise. When someone attacks your body, it says more about that person than about you, they are the ones with problems and insecurities, and they are only trying to compensate by making you feel bad about yourself. Don't let them!