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Body Shaming Genre Analysis


Magdalen Paredes
University of Texas at El Paso

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Body Shaming Genre Analysis
Body shaming is defined as the inappropriate negative statements and attitudes toward another
person's weight or size. (bodyshaming.org/definition). There are many forms of discrimination, such as
discriminating against overweight people, skinny people, bodybuilders and so on. The media has
constantly body shamed, either intentionally or unintentionally, in songs, commercials and with who they
choose to represent certain products. Everyone has their own personal likes towards their ideal body
image, but when it becomes hurtful and negative, it becomes a social issue like body shaming. In a photo
found on iamwheesa.com, a blog-like page by LuAnne DSouza about body shaming shows a photo of a
young girl who is insecure over her weight. Then, in an online article found on ivillage.com by Ragen
Chastain titled Are You Guilty? 10 Ways We Body Shame Each Other Without Knowing, the author
writes a list about how we can be hurtful without realizing. Both aim to convey the message of hurtful
body shaming using two different genres.
Audience and Purpose
In an image found at iamwheesa.com, the author posts a black and white, two sided picture. One
side of it has a young girl examining her stomach, and the other side of it, she holding a sign. The
audience could be aimed at anyone who has young children like the one in the photo. Parents who have
children tend to want the best for their kids, so they pay attention to things relating to their age group.
Another target audience could be someone looking for facts on childrens view on body image. This does
not necessarily have to mean they are parents. It could be facts for a relative or friend or any young child
in general. The image itself is posted on a website. It could, lastly, target the internet users of the world on
a topic that is very disturbing about body shaming.
In Ragen Chastains online article titled Are You Guilty? 10 Ways we Body Shame Without
Knowing, the author targets almost anyone. This article is intended to show how human beings can be
harmful to others image without meaning to. The audience could also be for those specifically searching

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how to avoid hurting feelings about weight and appearances. An example is 1. Saying Things Like, She
Would Be So Pretty If
The purpose of the image is to show the audience that self-esteem with body image is not a
problem for only adults or teenagers. Children pick up most out of every generation. They are sensitive to
how others act around them or to the things that are said around them, as well. They will begin to mimic
these things, also believing how others think as their own thoughts. Although the young girl in the photo
could not be over ten years old, she already has the set view that she is too big. A child this small must
have picked it up subliminally or directly by someone or something, like a commercial.
The purpose of the article is to give steps and advice on how to avoid shaming of personal
appearances. Many times, things are said without the intention of making someone feel inferior. Actually
that thing may be said with the intention of making people feel good about themselves. The author is
trying to convey a list of ways to avoid things that people get feelings hurt over, especially when we do
not even realize it. The purpose is to try and make the world a hate free and happy place, one step at a
time.
Rhetorical Issues
In DSouzas online photo, the main appeal to it is pathos. The photos visual tone is very sad
with a grey scale hue and the girl being so young. One the left side of the photo, she seems very upset that
she cannot control her body weight and her face shows an undeniable frown. She holds her stomach,
showing that she is upset with the size of her belly. With a child so young already worrying about her
body image, it sends out an appeal to emotions. Another appeal could be ethos, as well. It states a fact
saying 42% of 1st-3rd grade girls want to be thinner. Almost half of very young girls are not happy
with their appearance and want to conform to others perception of body image. Facts like this could be
ethos and pathos combined.

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Also in Chastains article, the main appeal is pathos. The appeal is dominant because it reminds
readers of how many of the things on the list they may say or do. It also tells how each thing in the list is
hurtful to the person on the other end, causing some emotions if the reader is actually the person being
hurt. It can also stir up feelings if the person has someone in their life struggling with self-esteem. This
article especially stirs feelings if a loved one has been hurt by the reader and they may have gotten into a
fight over things said.
Another appeal to this article is logos. The claims in the article make sense considering most do
not realize that these things that are said often can hurt feelings. It takes real life examples, which adds a
logical appeal. It makes the reader put themselves into the shoes of another person using both pathos and
logos, like DSouzas image.

Structure
The way DSouza s image delivers is very direct. It does not need too much symbolism to get the
message across, just two photos and one quote. With one side showing a young child examining her
stomach, and the picture next to it with the girl and a shocking quote, it delivers the point quickly. The
ominous color also adds a sad feeling to the overall photo as well.
The way Chastains article structures the message is appropriate for the content and also very
direct. It gives a bullet list of ten different ways we unknowingly body shame. The bullet list is a good
way to show each thing people do and how we can avoid the hurtful talk. It delivers a powerful message
that society has become too used to saying things that can be misinterpreted and damaging to someones
body image. It delivers the point quickly with each bullet only being a few sentences long.
Both sources deliver their message quickly. It does not take pages and pages of rants to portray
the message of body shaming.

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Conclusion
In conclusion, both articles deliver the message they are trying to convey very precisely. Both
include heavy use of pathos, whereas iamwheesas photo uses a visual image and Chastains article uses
real life examples. The photo shows how concepts in the article can affect even the very young
generation, but also ties very importantly to any human being, not only small children. Both articles make
good use of showing how degrading someones image can be very damaging.

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References
Chastain, Ragen. (2012, December 30.) Are You Guilty? 10 Ways We Body Shame Each Other Without
Knowing. Retrieved from http://www.ivillage.com/guilty-15-ways-we-body-shame-without-\
knowing/4-a-511830
DSouza, LuAnne. (2012, June 4.) Stop being such a girl, etc. Retrieved from
http://iamweesha.com/2012/06/stop-being-such-girl-etc.html