The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

Body shaming has no place in society

Ingrid Barrera | Special to The Union

“Did you wash your face?” a lady at my old job said to me.

She laughed at me. Just because I have pimples.

I didn’t know how to respond. I had to pretend I was okay, even if I felt sad.

In my home country Japan, people often make comments on others’ appearance without realizing it is body shaming.

I often see Japanese people leaving insulting comments on others’ posts, such as telling them to lose weight and to change their makeup or styles. I have always wondered why no one questions this weird culture.

Growing up in Japan, I had no choice but to get used to such a culture, even if I didn’t like it.

As a kid, I was inspired by Disney movies and had always dreamed of being more confident in myself like a Disney princess. This dream was one of the reasons I decided to study here.

Here in the U.S., I experienced a cultural shock.

It was a positive one, though.

I see no one criticizing someone’s appearance in person and I don’t have to be scared of expressing myself. This has made me confident.

I have pimples, damaged hair and a birthmark, but I can forget about them since people here accept me no matter how I look.

I can now say with confidence, “This is me.”

I met friends and teachers here who often give me compliments. Those positive comments have made me feel accepted.

I have had a great time with those people because I feel less pressure about the way I look.

I realized that I’m smiling a lot more since I came here than in my life back home in Japan.

According to a study by PLOS One, seeking human beauty value is a social phenomenon in China, Japan and Korea. Asians tend to care a lot about appearances, referred to as lookism.

In a 2021 Body Image Survey for foreigners living in Japan, 66% of them reported that they worry more about their appearance in Japan than in their home country. This means lookism has an impact on people.

“It is not your business.”

This is something I wish I said in Japan when people made these comments about my appearance.

But I was not brave enough.

I still remember every comment different people have made about my appearance, and I am sure even just a couple of words you say to people can be harmful and influential to their lives.

In a Medical News Today article, studies show body shaming has a range of physical effects including eating disorders, alcohol misuse, chronic conditions and even death. Japan, and the rest of the world, should be aware of how serious the problem is.

I didn’t realize the problem until I came to the U.S.

I want everyone to feel accepted and confident in how they look.

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