In today’s society, more and more people have been making nasty comments about other people’s bodies. This concept is dubbed “bodysnarking” by positive body image advocate Mary Streech. 90% of girls who participated in a survey said that people had made snarky comments about their bodies, and another study reports that boys who feel like they are not muscular enough are more likely to take steroids and have depression. Another result of people “bodysnarking” each other is that 65% of eating disorders are linked to bullying. A question that may arise after taking in this information is: why do people bodysnark each other? Psychologist Robyn Silverman says that people bodysnark each other because they feel insecure about their own bodies, and it makes them feel better when they insult others’ bodies.
I feel like bodysnarking is 100% wrong. I write for a nonprofit organization called MEDIAGIRLS, and the goal of MEDIAGIRLS is to change how girls and women are perceived by the media. A topic that comes up on the MEDIAGIRLS blog over and over again is how the media negatively influences how girls and women feel about their bodies, and how absolutely destructive the media can be about the bodies of girls and women. When I heard that 90% of girls have been the target of bodysnarking, I was not surprised at all. The average teen consumes up to 10 hours of media a day, a lot of which offends the bodies of girls and women, and the influence of media on the modern thought process is clear. Every single day, girls and women everywhere are being told: “You’re not skinny enough. You’re not hot enough.” It makes girls and women feel as if they are not valued in society, and to feel unwanted is one of the worst feelings in the spectrum of human emotion.
I learned that bodysnarking is a practice that grows at an extremely rapid rate. However, I also learned that several organizations have been created to combat the negative effects of bodysnarking. Many of these organizations are largely active on social media, which makes more people aware of how wrong it is to insult other peoples’ bodies. The more publicity that the issue of bodysnarking gets, the more people will be aware that they need to stop bodysnarking. Every single day, I am so grateful to be a part of MEDIAGIRLS because the issue of how the media portrays girls and women is an issue that affects countless millions of girls and women on a daily basis, and even though all I’m doing is writing blog posts a few times a month, I know that even the tiniest acts can have the biggest impact on change. When I combine a cause I am passionate about with an activity I love, it creates a fire inside me that cannot burn out. I know that if I keep at it, I will be able to make a difference.