I have my own shape , I have my own body, I am in love with my shape, I refuse to alter it in accordance to your vision, It is beautiful the way it is, I refuse to change it according to your will, It is flawless the way it is, I refuse to inflate or deflate it according to your wish because it will always be in accordance to my wish. The flaws on my body make me unique and I refuse to be the part of that herd. I want to stand out with my unique, flawless shape. I love my shape. I have my own shape. – Abhya Pandey
Are you confused? Don’t worry, I won’t keep you baffled. Today I am going to discuss about “Body- shaming”. Though body- shaming is a bigger umbrella comprising of many factors, today I am going to talk about weight precisely. It is something which almost everyone has experienced at some point of their life or are presently going through it. There is going to be a part-2 of this topic where I will discuss about my story of body shaming in detail.
What is body shaming ?
Body shaming is demeaning someone on the basis of their physical appearance or body. When your body is a subject of scrutiny and hence, people end up passing degrading remarks about it, it is body shaming. Mocking someone brutally about their weight, passing out comments like: “too thin”, too fat”,” you look like a skeleton”, “you look like a hippo “, commenting about their dressing habits like: “she is brave to wear such kind of a dress with this body”, “she looks like a hanger in that dress”, passing subtle remarks about their eating habits like: “you should eat more”, “you should control your food intake” e.t.c everything falls under body shaming. It is not only restricted to a episode of conscious mockery of someone’s body but also to an innocuous ( NOT SO innocuous) banter. Willingly or unwillingly passing any sort of degrading comment about someone’s body or doing any gesture relating to that is also a part of this act. Yes! it is not only restricted to just verbal remarks but also your action. Making a grimace out of disgust, boycotting someone socially due to their body , always carrying that air of superiority over the other person who doesn’t have that so called perfect body in your eyes epitomises the non-verbal part of body-shaming. Succinctly speaking, throwing shade on someone consciously or unconsciously in any way through your actions due to their body is body-shaming.
What people do?
Unfortunately, there is a set standard in this milieu for how a person’s body should look and it looks like that every single person has etched it in their mind. It seems like they have a hard time letting go of this so- called norm. Apparently, everyone expects you to strictly abide by this standard otherwise, they are bound to treat you as an outcast. In our society having a petite frame in a girls case and an attractive athletic or muscular body in a guys case is a standard. It is a green signal for you to peacefully exist in this society without any bullying. Moreover, they want you to be THIN but not TOO THIN, they want you have those SENSUOUS CURVES but not be TOO THICK to fall in the category of being FAT. It’s hilarious that the standards keep on changing with time. At times having a zero figure is in vogue at some other time being curvy, athletic, muscular e.t.c is. But one thing has been constant, body shaming. People have never failed to ridicule a person who doesn’t fit in this set standard of so-called perfect body. Body shaming is something which is not restrained to just a particular age. Sadly, every age group whether a kid or teenager or and adult can be predator or victim of this body shaming. The truth is that small kids don’t want to keep an obese kid in their team while playing, people hesitate in dating an obese or an underweight person, teenagers bully their fellow obese or underweight classmates, even while marrying a groom or bride is expected to be of certain weight e.t.c. These things are just because of meaningless norm of a so called flawless body. People fail to see someone beyond their body, people fail to see someone actually, they just see their body.
How we respond to it?
On the other hand, talking about victims. They have a hard time dealing with this. Some of them are strong enough to deal with this bravely while some of them find it difficult to release themselves from this societal burden. Many people get trapped in the clutches of body shaming and end up further damaging themselves. There are a plethora of consequences of body-shaming. Few of them are:
- People start self-loathing. They don’t want to look in the mirror.
- They suffer from anxiety or depression. Sometimes it can be life long.
- They abstain from dressing up, clicking pictures, going to gatherings, making friends.
- They have that constant inferiority complex with them like a shadow.
- They force themselves(not for their health but because of this constant mockery) to loose or gain certain weight.
- They force themselves to follow unhealthy diets or sometimes end up suffering from ” Eating disorder”.
What people should do?
This is a vicious cycle. Once a victim can be a predator other day. A person who has suffered himself /herself from this will not fail to expect others to abide by this rule. We should understand every body type is unique and unburden ourselves and others from this pressure of fitting into that frame. If we spread this message of body positively and normalise every body type, there will be lesser amount of instances of body shaming. If people start to understand that every body type is beautiful then why will they judge others. The truth is predators also have this burden to have that “attractive body” before they bully others. So, if we promote body positivity then the burden will fall off from both the predators and victims side. Also, we never know how badly a person is affected by our gestures. We might end up ruining someone’s life by this meaningless fat shaming. We should spread positivity instead of any hate. Please, understand that a person is not limited only to their body. Start looking beyond it. It is more meaningful.
What the victims should actually do?
Firstly, we should understand the motive of the person throwing shade at us. It is never good. If your well wishers are speaking about your weight they won’t demean you it will be because of your health. leave everyone, it’s your own body so, the decision should be yours. You should learn to love your body, it’s unique. Don’t follow this flock mentality it’s worthless. Abstain from paying heed to any person demeaning your body. Change if you want to change, dress up the way you like, eat what you want to it, It is your body. Don’t change because of this societal pressure if you want to change do it only if you really want to or for your well-being. Don’t allow anyone to hamper your mental peace. Don’t retain their meaningless words. You are beyond your body. Life is more than being flawless, it is about embracing your flaws. Love yourself, love your shape.
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