Ashley Graham plus size model posing wearing black dentelle dress with high heels

How Overweight Bullying Affects Singer’s Mental Health?

In a body-conscious society, a taboo complex arises, beginning in middle school, associating the women’s body weight to her social image and acceptance in communities.

Cyber and physical bullying is nothing new, whether you’re an independent artist or a celebrity singer, from early childhood years to the career’s spotlight.

Singers are victims of this torment, which usually comes from friends, coaches, colleagues at the workplace, fans rivals even from family members.

How to deal with overweight bullying? What is the impact on the singer’s mental health?

In my blog interview series, I had a virtual meeting, from Montreal to Beirut, with Nisrine Chidiac.

portrait of Nisrine Chidiac nutritionist and social mental health advocate jump to joy
Nisrine Chidiac – Dietician & Life Coach

Nisrine is a nutritionist, dietitian, transformative life coach, and a mental health advocate mainly active on her Instagram page Jump To Joy.

Through her awareness campaigns, Nisrine emphasizes the importance of self-love, body acceptance, and mental health.

How do you define intentional physical bullying?

Physical bullying can be understood in two different ways. It can be using bodily strength to exert power over peers such as punching or beating. This is very common in schools and it’s easier to spot.

On the other hand, it can be bullying someone face to face and not behind a screen. Both acts are unacceptable and may have severe consequences.

3 women illustration overweight wearing swimming suits and dancing

Why bullies usually target overweight, instead of skinny model body types?

Unfortunately, our society praises thinness and food restrictions. The Diet culture convinced us that we should all look the same, thin, skinny, and underweight because this is ‘healthy’.

In reality, it’s not!! So, the new normal is to occupy less space and everyone who is overweight is not normal according to them.

Moreover, the bullies usually are insecure about themselves or they are raised in a family that bullies them or others. They start to bully overweight people because their parents set such a bad example to follow.

Marilyn Monroe with her flying white dress talking about size zero society perception

Is food the only trigger for obesity & overweight problems?

Food is the smallest contributor. Genetics, health problems, depression, and inactivity play a major role.

The way we abuse it is the trigger. We tend to neglect our emotional and physical health while trying to cope by using food.

If we had more awareness about mental health, we would have a better relationship with food.

Smiling girl looking at her reflection in a mirror with hands on cheeks talking about diet industry

How do you define a real-sized weight and an ideal nutritional diet?

There’s no universal way to know everyone’s ideal weight. Some equations can predict it but, in my opinion, your ideal weight is whenever you feel energized, happy, and alive.

Nutritionally speaking, the Mediterranean diet is one of the best diets or lifestyles. But everyone’s needs and body are different.

What I recommend is to eat a variety of food that you enjoy.

A woman holding her dress with her hands walking on white carpet

Some singers dramatically lose weight in a short period like UK pop star Sam Smith thus affecting his singing voice and forcing him to cancel live shows. Also, Adele with her body transformation received reactions that her ‘old’ body was ‘wrong’ and she made a deliberate and ‘healthy’ choice.

What are your thoughts on this matter?

First of all, we have to highlight the amount of bullying and criticism these singers receive every day because they are breaking the idea of the “normal” celebrity.

Second, being thin does not necessarily mean healthier; sometimes, it means anorexia, deficiencies, or even depression.

Third, I believe that everyone’s body belongs to them and only them, so it’s not our job to judge or even to give our opinion if it wasn’t requested.

Hannah Blum mental health quote with a girl in black and white bowing while covering her eyes

What is the effect of weight-based bullying on mental health? Can time heal the emotional pain?

Weight-related bullying has a tremendous effect on mental health. It may cause depression, eating disorders, and social anxiety.

It is not something to joke about. People may lose their confidence, start getting addicted to substances, and may commit suicide.

Unfortunately, time does not heal anything. Psychotherapy and professional help are essential for everyone who was bullied or had any trauma.

Black and white portrait of Nisrine Chidiac nutritionist life coach with a text blaming influencers

Despite the rise of public awareness and social media anti-bullying campaigns, do you think we can break the cycle of physical bullying?

This a two-edged sword.

We cannot deny the fact that social media is raising awareness about many important topics such as bullying, body acceptance, and mental health.

However, online platforms, forums, and communities gave access to anyone to comment, criticize or bully any person on social media.

Our efforts here come to empower the bullied people to stand out and talk about it instead of hiding and being ashamed of their experience.

Featured image copyright Ashley Graham, famous plus-size model

About the author

Rita Hokayem

I am a soprano opera singer, voice teacher with over 13 years of experience, and digital marketer.
I teach online singing lessons for beginners and professional singers in pop, rock, R&B, country, oriental Arabic music, and pop opera.
My blog contains a series of interviews and articles about interesting topics related to the life of a musician and singer.
I am currently based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

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