A Playboy Playmate recently took a surreptitious photo of a woman in the locker room of a Californian gym with the caption “If I can’t unsee this you can’t either,” Dani Mathers wrote on the photo.
The model posted an apology video on her Snapchat account a few hours later, but many of her followers blasted her with comments on how it was wrong to body shame the woman in the photo.
Body shaming is when someone makes negative comments to someone or about someone about their body. Body shaming affects women and men.
Dennis Walker, 28, was overweight growing up, and the kids in his high school taunted him about it. They pushed him around and called him names, Walker said.
“They said anything that they thought was clever,” Walker said.
He never told his parents about the bullying, deciding it was something he had to deal with on his own.
“It made me depressed and not even really want to go out,” Walker said. “I couldn’t even go into a swimming pool without wearing a shirt because I felt so terrible about my body.”
Toward the end of his sophomore year of high school, Walker decided he would lose some weight. By the time his junior year had rolled around, he returned to school a different person. And this new person liked to get back at the bullies.
“After I lost my weight I was like, ‘You know what, I look better than most of these people.’ And then I kind of started bullying the people that bullied me,” he said.”It was just kind of a huge vendetta for a year. Which, I mean, that’s not good whatsoever. There was no excuse for it but it made me feel kind of better.”
Walker now works as a cook. He regularly sees a therapist for his continued depression and social anxiety but he’s kept his weight under control and finds a new sort of confidence in the way he portrays himself to others by taking ownership of his body with tattoos, piercings and the mouth of a sailor.
Amanda Farrell, assistant professor of criminal justice at Marymount University, also was bullied in high school. She said she was a round girl in school and often was called out on it with names like “rotund” or “barrel.” She dated boys who didn’t want their friends to know they were dating because they thought she was not “attractive enough” to date publicly.
This bullying made Farrell very self-conscious, she said. It’s something she said she still works to overcome.
“I don’t know that I have,” she said. “I just do what feels more comfortable for me and recognize strength in other areas.”