Opinions & Features Workshop (Oct 26th)

Photo by Mariah Wilson

Body-shaming is toxic

By Luis Armando Sanchez Diaz, November 19 2020—

Recently, photos of award-winning singer and songwriter, Billie Eilish, were posted by Page Six magazine in an article, which sparked an intense debate among social media users. The images didn’t show the artist holding a Grammy, sporting a new hairstyle or even wearing the typical colorful-baggy outfits that she usually uses in most of her performances.

Instead, the artist was wearing some shorts and a tank top, showing one thing — she is a normal person like the rest of us, which surprised many. These pictures were taken by a paparazzi who spotted Eilish walking in a parking site in Los Angeles, California, again, doing something a casual person does.

There were netizens that blasted the magazine for publishing those pictures as they stressed that it was an “invasion” of her privacy. On the other hand, there were others that expressed harsh and cruel comments towards Eilish about her appearance. The latter is part of the uncivil and inhumane culture that unfortunately prevails throughout social media these days. 

People use the anonymity that social media provides them to type hateful messages towards persons whom they dislike. Celebrities are not the only target of internet trolls as they also tend to attack activists, political leaders and regular citizens or anyone that expresses their opinions on a topic in a vicious way. They never debate the facts, but they always attack the persona or appearance of the individual they’re going after. 

It is also important to note that this type of behaviour is not only unique to social media. Many people also take it into “the real world” when having in-person conversations with their peers. This is not acceptable, as it contributes to the dehumanization of individuals and the lack of values that reside within our society. 

Women have been the subject of this type of criticism as it happened to Billie Eilish, Adele and Selena Gomez among others. Additionally, this type of culture has shadowed male celebrities as well — Sam Smith, Robert Kardashian and Jonah Hill come to mind. Think about your own family members and friends when commenting on other’s appearances, as those ideas can also affect them. 

These standards have decided that people need to be judged by their physical appearance instead of their accomplishments or personalities and it doesn’t have to be that way. When you think of criticizing someone just because they gained or lost weight, got plastic surgery, are using makeup or changed their hairstyle think wisely on how those comments can impact a person. 

We all deserve to be treated with respect and compassion. Nobody is perfect, including those who decide to body shame. And for those of us who have been body-shamed or criticized based on our appearance, remember this powerful quote by Michelle Obama.

“When they go low. We go high.”

This article is part of our Opinions section and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Gauntlet’s editorial board.


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