Body Shaming

 

Body shaming is ubiquitous in our Indian society and all over the world. Any one takes the liberty of criticizing / making fun of somebody else’s appearance / color / clothing / anything related to that personality. It is easy to fight anything but very difficult to fight body shaming. The big proponents of body shaming are the television, the tabloids and the social media that exists now. This mass media culture has a huge role in advocating body shaming. The mass media has established the notion that a conventionally pretty woman is one who is thin and this has led to a majority of the women striving to be that woman. Overweight people are the butt of everyone’s jokes. A teenager is inundated with a tsunami of the so called perfect body images once she logs into any platform on the social media. There are viewers who even comment on these pictures. Some of the posts leave an indelible impression on the minds of teenagers who get carried away without realizing whether it is right or wrong.

Body shaming can be defined as the act of making inappropriate and negative comments of another person's weight / size. This mostly happens with people who are too fatty or too skinny irrespective of their gender / age. According to an article in the Los Angeles Times  Feuer quoted that “Body shaming is humiliating, with often painful, long-term consequences. It mocks and stigmatizes its victims, tearing down self-respect and perpetuating the harmful idea that our unique physical appearances should be compared to air-brushed notions of ‘perfect.’ What really matters is our character and humanity. While body shaming, in itself, is not a crime, there are circumstances in which invading one’s privacy to accomplish it can be. And we shouldn’t tolerate that.” The question is who are these so called unwanted activists who are indulging in body shaming others and enjoying the sadistic pleasure by hurting others. They are none other than the people around us in the garb of our family / friends / colleagues / relatives / xyzzy who does it to us. 

It is shameful that we live in such a society where people are made to feel bad about their bodies and are themselves critical of their own appearance. Whether one is chastising oneself or others; it must be understood that the consequences of this action is severe and results in mental issues. People even suffer from eating disorders due to body shaming. A person who is fat shamed eats more and gains more weight. A person who is skinny may begin eating less to avoid weight gain and be under the scrutiny of others. Witnessing the severe damage that body shaming causes, the Mayor of London, Sadik Khan announced that the Transport for London will refrain from running ads that cause confidence issues in the tubes, bus shelters and on street signs. No controversial advertisements that feature models in swimwear or portraying unrealistic body images will be run. Speaking about this ban of such adverts, Khan remarked, “As the father of two teenage girls, I am extremely concerned about this kind of advertising. It can demean people, particularly women and make them feel ashamed of their bodies. It is high time it came to an end.”

The solution to this mess lies in the hands of the person who is going through body shaming. It is up to you how you take the comments /criticism / judgement of others about you. I have been body shamed umpteen number of times to the extent that I started feeling depressed about it. finally I decided that it is I who has to put an end to this suffering. The key to this is acceptance of your self however you are - big / small / skinny / fat / fair / dark / whatever. Love yourself and try to be a better version of you every moment. Do what is needed for your good health but don't take the body shamers seriously. Never be a part of body shaming or pass negative comments over others with reference to their appearance

We are not meant to please others but be happy ourselves. Whatever others say must never impact you in any way.  A healthy mind and health body should be your target. If you are healthy nothing can stop you from rejoicing in this life. Do not pay heed to the body shamers and respect and love yourself by accepting what you are. If you are not happy with yourself you will never see happiness anywhere nor will others be happy around you. You are the charioteer of your life so ride with confidence by acceptance of everything that is within you. Remember no one is complete and so God has blessed us with people in the disguise of family / friends / relatives / colleagues to complete us. Love them and above all love yourself to set yourself free from the shackles of body shaming / stigma that lies around you.



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