Body shaming, considered a joke, has become a common phenomenon on social media in Vietnam, but many people suffer and feel hurt by it.
In recent months, there have been some notorious cases of body shaming on the Internet, including a 12th grader and even famous singers like Vietnam's Bao Anh and Sofia, and Camila Cabello from the U.S..
Sofia once burst into tears and stopped her performance because of body shaming.
It's not a joke
"It was just a joke," many people say when they are criticized by others for making negative comments on or shaming other people's bodies. According to these people, it would be fragile and weak for people who feel hurt by body shaming.
P.T.H.G., a woman from the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper about her experience of being humiliated because of her appearance.
At the end of 2022, G. posted a photo she had taken with her family as the cover of her Facebook account. At the time, two people left comments accusing her of being the worst in the family: fat, black skin, and her face covered with black pimples.
"Later, when I read the comments, I deleted all the photos I had posted before. I cried too much and also hated myself. It seemed like I was not the child of my parents and I did not want to communicate with anyone, including my relatives. Instead of the confident person I once was before, I became a shy and introverted person who did not dare to post anything on social media," G. said.
|Singer Bao Anh often faces body shaming no matter if she gains or loses weight. Photo: Facebook account of Bao Anh|
At the end of May, a story circulated on social media about a 12th grader who demanded VND800,000 (US$34) in compensation from a photographer for taking bad photos of her, which attracted a lot of public attention.
What is unfortunate about the story is that most online audiences focused on bad mouthing the girl's outward form instead of how one should behave. Some of them even edited her photo in a worse way to make a joke.
"I am not saying the student's behavior is right, but I also disagree with the photographer's reaction," commented Nguyen My Hien from An Giang Province in southern Vietnam.
"It is wrong to publish a person's photo on a personal Facebook page. I wonder how much an 18-year-old student suffers when she is criticized like this for her figure."
It is increasingly popular on social media to make comments about others' figures. For example, when it comes to a love affair or a fight for love between women, their appearance and looks immediately become 'hot' topics that are discussed online in a terribly negative way.
Vulnerable people online
Among the victims who suffer the most from body shaming online are celebrities and popular social media account holders. They have to deal with the problem almost daily.
On June 13, Bao Anh revealed her story of how she was humiliated because of her appearance. Bao Anh recounted that despite her gaining or losing weight, she still faces biting comments that affect her feelings.
"I do not know whether to be happy or sad because I can never have enough, living up to so many demands. Although I know this, sometimes I feel affected by such comments," Bao Anh said.
"But for me, happiness, health, and relaxation are the most important things, for a perfect 'version' is impossible. We will never be able to please everyone."
In another story, Vietnamese singer Sofia had to stop her performance at the end of March because she was criticized for her body. She burst into tears as she was ridiculed.
"If you feel more comfortable humiliating others with your words of body shaming, you will keep talking. In my singing career, I have never been in such a situation. Sad!" wrote Sofia after the incident on her Facebook account.
|Camila Cabello confidently post sexy photos to fight against body shaming. Photo: Instagram account of Camila Cabello|
In 2019, Camila Cabello, a famous American singer and songwriter, fought on social media against body shaming, a problem that she says has "affected [her] mental health."
“I am writing this for girls like my little sister who are growing up on social media. They keep seeing Photoshop edited, edited images and thinking that this is the reality and all eyes get used to seeing with airbrushed bodies and airbrushed skin and suddenly they think THAT is the norm," Cabello wrote on Facebook. “Is not it. It is a fake. AND FAKE BECOMES THE NEW REAL.
“We have a completely unrealistic image of a woman's body. Girl, cellulite is normal, fat is normal. It's beautiful and natural. I will not be fooled today!"
Learn to love oneself more!
Nguyen Thi Dao Luu, who has a master's in psychology and is a lecturer at Van Lang University in Ho Chi Minh City, shared some tips on how to counter body shaming.
"To avoid being negatively affected by malicious comments on social media, you should be aware of some important points," Luu said.
"First, you need to be sure that there is no one who has the right to judge you.
"You need a 'strong wall' to protect yourself in the form of self-love and self-confidence.
"Instead of spending time reading and remembering negative judgments from others, focus your attention on nice people and good things.
"Believe that you are always surrounded by many people who love and appreciate you.
"So you can try to gradually improve yourself, 'upgrade' yourself, and live strongly so as to be the best you can.
"Do not let the negative feelings of others hurt you, you deserve to be praised in life."