Stop the body commentary


When I was 10 years old, I went to overnight camp for the summer. I loved swimming in the lake with my friends, making bracelets and singing songs all day long. Being disconnected from life at home allowed me to have an unforgettable summer, until one of my friends asked me why my stomach stuck out and made me look fat. From that point on, no matter what I did, I always felt like people would stare at me or judge me for the way I looked. So, I learned to hate my body.

After this encounter, I’d scroll endlessly through videos on TikTok and see the people I wanted to be, whose “normal” bodies I wanted to have. I was fully aware that looking at these videos would only make me feel worse, but I did it anyway. My Instagram feed was littered with workouts and weight-loss journeys, even though I tried to convince myself those before-and-after photos were fake. The toxicity of these posts fueled my sense of self-hatred, along with the desire to change my body. I told myself if I had the so-called perfect body, no one would comment on how I looked. I figured if I had the ideal body type, all of my problems would go away.

Being insecure is an inevitable feeling, and despite the measures some people take to “improve” themselves, insecurities don’t necessarily go away. No matter whether a person has the ideal body, the insecurity and self-hatred does not go away one bit.

The undeniable pressure to have a perfect body always made it seem like others were treating me differently. Maybe that one encounter at camp was intended to be hurtful, but I won’t assume that all comments about someone’s body come from bad intentions. After all, wanting to check in on others can come from a considerate point of view. However, it doesn’t matter what the motivation is behind these comments. They could send others into a spiral of self-hate.

For me, all it took was that one experience from camp for me to believe my body was imperfect. I believed my body wasn’t worthy of acceptance, and I never let myself forget it.

It’s impossible to know how much of an impact one comment can have. Making a simple, seemingly harmless comment can have a much greater impact than intended. One assumption or comment can completely derail a person’s self-image. So please, the next time you have an opinion on someone else’s body, keep it to yourself.