15 year olds’ mindset

After getting a little more in depth with the body shaming issue teenagers in Hong Kong are going through, I thought I should do a little summary of what I found out from the mindset of 15/16 year old Hong Kong students, or some common thoughts or problems they have. Although I know body shaming mostly happen with girls, boys feel somewhat the same too, so for the following answers and responses, those are not only from girls, some of them are from a boy’s point of view too.

Here are some questions I asked :

1)Have you ever body shamed yourself? If so, what’s your experience like? If no, Have you ever body shamed anyone?

2)Do you think it’s right to body shame?

3)Why do you think people body shame? 

And the responses I received are quite similar but it really powerful and meaningful.

Teenagers body shame themselves because it made them very insecure when they are around slimmer people, some kept telling themselves they don’t have curves and they’re too skinny. They got called names like ‘pig’ ‘fei mui’(Fat Girl)… Some used to think that they wasn’t pretty enough, or they didn’t look right, but I was told that they never body shamed anyone. When they see others such as celebrities’ posts of their body on social media, they would feel bad about their body and they make themselves think that they are not enough, tell themselves that they will never be. Some were okay with other people having bad opinions about them, but to say things like that about themselves felt really horrible because it was like even they didn’t accept themselves anymore, and it felt like they had no choice but to change themselves because they had no support anymore.

Hong Kong teenagers have a rough idea of what body shaming is and what causes people to body shame. “I believe that it is not right to body shame due to the insecurities and all the negative aspects that body shaming creates.” They also all agree that it is not right to body shame yourself/anyone, “because it makes people sad and feel uncomfortable”, “you shouldn’t judge or comment on what other people look like if you don’t want them to comment on you, everyone is their own person.” “Absolutely not.  I think everyone needs to learn to be body positive, including myself, to love their body, know they are enough and know their self-worth.” “I don’t think it’s right. I think it’s acceptable to have opinions about how others look, but if you think they might be hurtful/have any negative effect on someone then you should definitely keep them to yourself because you never know how other people feel about themselves and what effect your words could have on them. ” However, someone did say to me that they think it is okay as long as it is a joke and not offensive.

People body shame because they are insecure about themselves due to the impacts from societal pressure for the ideal body.

People body shame because they’re insecure about their own body and they want to insult someone to make themselves feel better.

People body shame because they think its funny and they are childish.

People body shame because they feel good when they body shame others to make others feel bad.

People body shame because they might be jealous or insecure about themselves.

People body shame because they are insecure, they feel like they need to bring others down so that they could feel better about themselves.

People body shame because they are so used to seeing a certain type of body in the media and that embeds into their brains that that is the ideal or perfect body type, and any other body is unacceptable or unattractive. Therefore, when they see something that does not fit the standards, they say negative things because it is not what society sees as ‘perfect’ and they think it is their place to tell others what is wrong with them. Another reason why they might body shame is that they may be insecure about their own bodies, and finding faults in other peoples’ bodies makes them feel better because they are not the only ones who are not ‘perfect’.

Last but not least, what they would say to a body shaming victim…

“Be yourself, you are beautiful just the way you are and yr body is just a cover, it’s not important. Beauty is from your inside”

“Ignore their comment, be yourself, You are beautiful”

“you don’t hate yourself to be yourself and you are already loveable person”

“You are who you are why care so much about how others think? You should be proud of who you are, and its nothing to be ashamed of.”

“not to listen to what others say about them, because others do not have the right to tell you how you should and shouldn’t look like, and the only person who should be able to determine how you feel about yourself is you”

“You still look good, but that’s not the most important thing ever, it’s more about who you are as a person.”

You might be body shaming someone as a joke, but to them, it will never be a joke. If 15 years olds understand it, you should too. 

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