Body shaming has become an increasingly damaging problem in the entertainment industry. Many believe body-shaming is only for over-weight people, but it applies to any type of criticism regarding someone's body shape. We've seen an increasing amount of celebrities in the past few years –– both male and female ––criticized for their thin frames, with the most notable examples being Taylor Swift and Grant Gustin.
The latest #celebrity to fall victim to this kind of abuse is Aaron Carter. The former child star is trying to get his career back on track by once again making music and performing at concerts. Sadly, he began receiving heavy criticism on social media for his slender frame, as fans speculated about a possible drug addiction or even cancer.
Dealing With Body-Shaming
On Wednesday, June 21, Carter took to Twitter to defend himself through a series of messages (which are now deleted), telling fans that his appearance was due to a hernia he was diagnosed with at age 19 that takes away his appetite. He wrote:
"By the way, y'all wanna know why I'm so skinny? It's because at 19 I was diagnosed with a hiatal hernia, I didn't choose that. Be kind to me.. It's a terrible condition that affects me having an appetite and I'm sorry this is the way I am. Basically I have an eating disorder."
He continued by apologizing for his looks:
"I'm sorry, sometimes I wish I did look better. or I eat more like y'all say. This life doesn't come with much stability. If you don't believe me, ask my brother. He was there when I was 19 diagnosed. It's a stress eating disorder, I'm sorry, I didn't choose thing."
Things took a turn for the worse later on, as the singer was hospitalized on Thursday, June 22, for exhaustion after his HOT 107.9 New York concert. Carter shared a picture of himself recovering at a St. Joseph's Health emergency room, with this message:
“Lots of shows lately, had to head up to ER just to get a little check up these shows are crazy lately gotta make sure I stay strong."
Unfortunately, the bullying didn't stop. On Saturday, June 24, the singer opened up about a fan who had gossiped about him during one of his concerts, speculating on his frame being due to cancer:
"I'm entirely hurt by a so-called fan that I just encountered she wasn’t realizing I was listening, she said I look like I have cancer. A grown woman was gossiping about me when I have a eating disorder, telling people I need to eat 5 cheeseburgers cause I look like I’m dying. This is body shaming. You guys are bullying me. I’ve already addressed my medical issues."
The singer continued, stating the criticism was made worse by numerous situations, which included him being hospitalized three times in one month, his father, Robert Carter's death this May, and the anniversary of the death of his sister Leslie, who passed away in June of 2012:
"I’ve literally had the hardest week of my life. My dad [passed] away my late sisters birthday anniversary was June 6th and people body shame me [...] Been in the hospital three times this month, dealing with health issues and broken fingers as well as things I can’t legally discuss. Do I have to do a spinal tap to prove to people? They’re trolling me and causing me so much insecurities."
Fortunately, Things Are Getting Better For Him
Thankfully despite all those hardships, #AaronCarter is getting back on track. On Saturday, he posted a new picture of himself on Twitter, eating a big meal after a concert, telling fans his appetite was returning. However, shortly after he mysteriously deleted his Twitter account.
But just a few hours later, he posted this picture on his Instagram account (which is still active), telling his fans he was proud of his body:
The caption read:
"I'm not ashamed of my body. Maybe I'm too skinny, maybe I'm too short but the one thing I know is I love my fans, my family and my friends. I'm not perfect, you never know what someone is going through. We are not immortal. Embrace love."
It's quite worrying to see the criticism directed at Carter was so harsh, that it pushed him to apologize for his appearance. It really does show that we live in a time where we know how damaging body-shaming can be to a person.
By some reason that completely escapes me, there are people out there who consider it funny or exciting to judge someone providing us with entertainment. But here's the thing: Those people need to realize the significant psychological and physical damage their judgements does. Instead of that, we should focus on celebrating who each person is and accept them, however they may look.