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  • Van Trang Nguyen Ngoc


“Jeez, look at the acne on this girl’s face!”, “Her legs look clunky!” “Why are you, as a man, short?”,... These are some comments that we often see in conversations nowadays. Such comments can be so phonetically simple but have a deep emotional impact on the receiving end of them. Degrading comments like these can hurt someone else’s self-esteem and isolate themselves from the world.

Body shaming others has been recently met with heavy online and offline criticism. There are even many efforts to combat body shaming by promoting its counterpart body positivity and raising awareness on the consequences. However, have you ever wondered if you are silently body shaming yourself? Let’s find out in today’s article!


1. Comparing yourself to models on the internet

Social media is prevalent in our modern lives. On these platforms, we can freely express our opinions, update on our daily lives and especially capture and share our beautiful moments. Pictures of highly attractive women are thus unavoidable. Looking at pictures of influencers we cannot help but compare our lives and appearances to them. When I conducted a small classroom survey of 31 people, 86% of responders admitted to feeling a bit envious and upset when viewing pictures of outwardly successful people on social media. That is not a small percentage.


Social media, to an extent, does not show everything. People tend to only share their best moments, sometimes even involving photoshop. This isn’t necessarily always a bad thing, because people generally want to be perceived well by others. To alleviate habits of comparing yourself to others, we must change our very own perceptions of ourselves. You can choose to view those images as sources of inspiration to take better care of your skin, learn makeup and exercise, so long as you don’t take it to the extreme and only compare with your past selves.


2. Always finding a way to cover up your appearance negatively

Yep, I meant negatively. Finding a style that suits your appearance and enhances your best features is highly encouraged. The negativity starts where we spend a lot of effort covering up our “flaws” without thinking of the consequences. For example, your face starts developing acne but you’re hyper focused on them and use whatever cosmetics to cover them up. This may make the pores responsible for the acne get clotted and produce a lot more. Acne is a natural biological process among human beings, especially during puberty. Acne is an indicator of us growing up to be adults, what’s there to be embarrassed of? If we had a different way of seeing them, we would feel more comfortable and confident.

In another situation, you would look really great in a dress but because you’re insecure about the size of your legs, so you always wear open trousers and long sleeved tops. Our insecurities hinders clothing options that can help us express ourselves. Is it really worth it?

3. Hiding away when someone looks in your direction

Every time someone looks in your direction, do you have a habit of turning away or even moving elsewhere? If you have these reflexes, you may be experiencing self body shaming and are not confident in yourself.

Not only instinctively hiding but you feel restless and anxious about your features. Rushing through your mind are thoughts “Is this skirt I’m wearing too short?” or “Is everyone focusing on my nose?” Actually, sometimes people don’t even see you but they’re spacing out in your direction.


The way to increase self-confidence is to imagine yourself as a villager from Vu Dai village: "It probably excludes me" and keep doing what you need to do. In the end, even the prettiest person will still have shortcomings, so let's temporarily put aside negative thoughts that may not even be true so that we can always be in a good mood!

4. Always saying/thinking negative things about your own appearance

In conversations with others, even if the other person hasn’t said anything you still think there is something wrong with your appearance. Even when someone compliments you, you perceive it as mere politeness or even sarcasm. This doesn’t stop your stream of insecurities.


Everyone has their own perception of beauty. Perhaps where you find flaws other people will perceive as endearing features. No one looks the same, and everyone has their unique strengths and beauty. How boring would this world be if we all looked like mass-produced Barbie dolls? Moreover, being negative about your appearance constantly can also affect the listener and drive them away. ‘Self confidence is the best makeup that makes you look more beautiful than you actually are’ -Thanuja K.

Appearance is something that can make an impression with people you just met, but character and soul are what maintains emotional connections. Instead of picking on your appearance, we should work to develop ourselves in many areas and become the best versions of ourselves! ‘A quality dye is no match for quality wood’. Outward appearances can change with time but the mind is eternal!

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