The Concept of Body Shaming
Body shaming is a practice of making someone feel unacceptable, unconfident and upset about his/her body. Today, body shaming has become a part of our everyday lives. But, it has a tremendous impact on those who go through it. It not just lowers one’s self-esteem but also affects their physical and mental health negatively.
What contributes to Body-Shaming?
We are all human beings who are formed differently with some basic similarities. The beautiful differences with which we have been created, should be appreciated and loved. But unfortunately, our society has defined some standards of beauty and those who fail to meet the set standards are made to feel insecure about themselves. But the question is, how are these beauty standards set?
Media plays an inevitable role in our lives. We consume media day and night in different forms to keep ourselves informed, entertained and updated with the trends. But, little do we know what it subconsciously penetrates into our minds. It broadcasts some ‘unrealistic standards’ of beauty and people who meet those set criterion are looked up as beautiful and those who fail to meet the criterion are looked down upon, criticized, insulted and rejected.
The idea of what is ‘beautiful’ and what is ‘undesirable’ is propagated to us using through different forms of media like Soap Operas, Web Series, Advertisements and Social Media. For example, tall women with an attractive figure, fair skin, big eyes and pink lips are portrayed as the ‘perfect women’ out there. The idea of ‘perfection’, which is so unreal, is what we run after. So, the women who are short, dark-skinned, fat, have small eyes etc. feel insecure about their bodies. Even if they don’t feel it themselves, they are reminded of their imperfections by the society. And this is what we term as ‘Body Shaming’. Body shaming is a reality for men as well, but it isn’t as common as in women.
Here’s my self-written poem on Body Shaming. Do tune in!
Self-Written Poem on Body-Shaming (Podcast)
Why do people Body Shame?
People body shame for various reasons. Some do it to make themselves feel superior or better, while some enjoy making fun of friends or hurting them. But, many-a-times, it is done inadvertently i.e without intention. So, this means that for someone who body-shames you, it might just be a statement made out of concern or care for you. For them, it is for your good even if you know what is good for yourself.
Inadvertently Body Shaming
Intentionally or unintentionally, the statements made against someone’s body can affect the way they perceive themselves as well as others. The saddest part is that in many cases, body shaming is instilled as soon as a child is born. You might be wondering HOW, because when a child is born he or she is loved by everybody. Undoubtedly yes! But have you ever noticed somebody saying “Why is the baby so dark, both of his parents are so beautiful”. If not this, at least you would have seen elderly women giving unwelcome advices like DIY remedies to make the baby’s skin fairer or hair-less. Isn’t it sad how people are concerned about the appearance of the baby even more than his or her health?
There are many more instances where we are inadvertently body-shamed by our own parents. For instance, when your parents tell you “Don’t eat this much, or you’ll gain weight”, they don’t mean to hurt you but say it because they are a part of the society which believes that if you eat a lot, you’ll gain weight and become unhealthy or undesirable for marriage.
The body-shaming done by our parents and relatives isn’t just intended for us. They also talk back about others, which silently propagates these stereotypical ideas of how we define beauty. For instance, you may find your mom talking to some random relative as to why somebody in your family wishes to marry a person with a darker skin tone or a shorter height.
ALSO READ: Mental Health: Should We Just Talk About It?
Inadvertently body shaming in our day to day lives
The people who engage in body shaming aren’t aliens. They are ‘you‘ and ‘me‘ who sometimes inadvertently pass comments that are bad in taste for others.
To make it more understandable, here are some graphics showing how we engage in body-shaming without even realizing it. But for the person on whom it is intended, it may not be as easy as it is for us when we say it out loud.
Real-life stories of some body-shamed heroes
In order to make my article more relevant, I conducted a small survey on ‘body shaming’ with some basic questions about what a person thinks about their appearance, whether they have ever been body shamed and what was their worst experience. If you’ve ever been body shamed, you must already know how it feels to be. But if you aren’t, you’ll feel it now by reading the experiences of 6 people from my survey who have been through it.
I’m sure these real-life stories have make you feel what it means to be body-shamed and the things that we say out of fun may also hurt somebody to an extent that it can disrupt their everyday activities. So, before commenting upon anyone’s body, think of the impact it can make.
However, if you are somebody who has often been body-shamed and are struggling to deal with it, here’s a video that may help you. Do check it out!
Your body is only an instrument through which you experience life. Do not let your body solely define your identity. Appreciate each and everything about life and spread love. Also, remember that every ‘body’ is beautiful, learn to appreciate the differences.
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