The Aftermath of Body Shaming

Coping with and recovering from the psychological effects of body shaming women

The Story

The act of body shaming women has been prevalent in society for decades with the psychological effects – such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and even suicide – becoming increasingly grave for the victims. In fact, a study conducted by Yahoo! reveals that it takes women half their lives to achieve at least half the level of body self-esteem when compared to men.

Unfortunately, this habit of society has been around for a while, and with the inception of the digital age and its social media component, this practice has now crossed all possible moral and ethical lines as body shaming takes a global stage through comments and likes on the internet.

A detailed glance through the media stories reveals that although there exist several expert opinions on the causes and effects of body shaming, research articles on the issue, and encouraging body positivity habits – there are very few stories that go in depth on how to cope with the psychological issues that arise as a result.

Recent body shaming feuds faced by Former Disney star Selena Gomez’s (image 1) and Hollywood superstar Anne Hathaway’s (image 2) with the internet, has amplified this issue, and has thus compelled me to write a feature story on coping mechanisms which would have otherwise been hidden behind closed doors of years of therapy.


The intent of this article is not to provide a generic therapy session on a large scale, but a self-help guide curated with the help of a certified psychologist.

The Publication

As research suggests, the body shaming for women begins during their teenage years, and this form of bullying can result in long term physical and psychological effects, following and haunting the victim well into their early to mid-twenties. Keeping these statistics in mind, this story would be suitable for Cosmopolitan Magazine as more than 45% of the magazine’s readership are educated and tech-savvy female millennials. Additionally, as the publication has a digital audience reach of roughly 56,000 people, this story has great potential to reach the right people, and consequently make a much needed difference in society.

The Format

Taking advantage of a digital platform, this story will incorporate several multimedia tools (alongside traditional journalism) in order to ensure it makes an impact. The digital feature will include:

  • An in-depth interview with the University of Sydney’s CAPS counsellors
  • A short 30 second introductory video portraying the importance of self-help and coping mechanisms (particularly because many teenagers are reluctant to share their adversity with their families and often try to cope with the situation on their own)
  • Infographics showcasing statistics on the subject matter

Being a victim (and now a survivor) of body shaming from the age of 13 until 22, I believe this story has great potential as I had always been worried about sharing my grief with those close to me, and would have been really grateful if I had easy access to coping mechanisms suggested by professionals to ease my anguish.

About Palak Mehta 4 Articles
Hi, I'm Palak. A public relations professional who's taking a break from work life to pursue my masters in digital communications and culture at the University of Sydney.

2 Comments

  1. The ferocity of online comment sections is truly remarkable. I am often shocked that this issue is seemingly only getting worse.

    As this issue has persevered for so long, I am interested to see how your academic centric approach can provide readers with new insights and effective tools to tackle their own experiences with body shaming. To compliment this, helplines/mental health resources could be included at the commencement of your piece. You may also want to include a content warning, to help warn readers whom may find this piece potentially triggering.

    Will your feature focus primarily on one area within body shaming e.g. weight? It could be worth researching wether there are body shaming sectors that aren’t as widely recognised. I also assume that your piece will not address male body shaming?Is this something that you considered during your research?

    In regard to your interview, have you considered including anecdotes from your audience? This could alternatively be done by embedding social media posts. This may give your piece added emotional impact, contrasting the academic insights. I would enquire with Fiona the level of consent you need to embed social media responses as part of your arguments/article.

  2. Hi Palak,
    Body shaming is already a Universal phenomenon all over the world and it is newsworthy. Your feature story will attract much attention especially the woman’s. I have been following this topic in recent years as well.

    Your story angle is clear and distinctive. There are already some reports about this feature, but no psychological effects investigated and feasible method provided for the victim to self-help or ask for help. I’m looking forward to your deep communication with the counsellors.

    Maybe your source could include an interview from a woman who have suffered from the body shame, in this way, readers can engage in your story better.

    For publication, I suggest you could choose another mainstream media to report this feature. Cosmopolitan Magazine whose most audience are female is a suitable platform to convey your opinion. For some woman who have a body shame might not be willing to browse this beauty website which full of the skinny model.

    Wish you the best!

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