"I've been told my appearance is something I need to apologize for."

By Faith Brar

Beauty blogger Nabela Noor has almost half a million subscribers on YouTube, where she shares makeup tutorials, reviews beauty products, and discusses life as a Bangladeshi-American woman. Over the past couple of years, her Instagram has exploded, racking up nearly 700,000 followers.

But like so many other women who use social media to share their passions, Nabela has received horrifying comments about her appearance.

"I remember one comment in particular," she recently told Shape as part of our #MindYourOwnShape campaign. "Someone said, 'If I looked like you, I'd kill myself.'" (Related: Why Body-Shaming Is Such a Serious Problem and What You Can Do to Stop It)

Sadly, this wasn't the first troll to post on her pics. "I've heard so many things about my body," she says. "I've been told my appearance is something I need to apologize for." (Related: Why America Hates Fat Women)

Unfortunately, Nabela isn't alone. Women's bodies are the subject of constant criticism, especially on social media.

"There's a size range for women that the public has deemed acceptable, and anything over or under that range is open for public shaming," Katie Willcox, the model behind the Healthy Is the New Skinny social movement, tells us. And when confident women like Nabela embrace and accept their bodies, trolls feel the need to "put them in their place."

But Nabela won't let nasty comments hold her back. "I've learned that hurt people say hurtful things," she says. "I've become so much more aware and am able to distinguish the fact that this is their pain and has nothing to do with my self-worth." (See also: I'm Not Body Positive or Negative-I'm Just Me)

"The key is knowing who you are," she says. "When you know your truth and you know your worth, no one can tell you otherwise. They can try all day and scream it from the rooftops, but it it's not going to affect you."

Nabela prefers to focus on positivity. "I love the range of the following that I have, and how my message can affect people differently-whether that's a 13-year-old girl who feels like she's the biggest in her class but is inspired to love the way she looks, or a mom whose been putting herself on the back burner and is learning to put self-care at the forefront of her life," she says. "Knowing that I help people love themselves turns all the negative comments into noise."

For those who still struggle with body confidence and self-image, Nabela says: "Make confidence your superpower. I've been called so many names, but my ability to shake it off has been my superpower, my ability to know that that's not who I am is my biggest strength. Stop waiting to love yourself. Stop waiting to be happy. Start now."


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