BODY SHAMING - How to deal wit this Monster?
“Be proud of who you are, and not ashamed of how someone else sees you.”
BODY SHAMING. Two powerful, yet heart-wrenching, shattering words! Its deteriorating effects are far-reaching, proving to be one of the mainstay causes of adolescents around the world suffering from mental health issues. The idyllic notion of ‘lean and beautiful’ and ‘fair and lovely’ has been etched in our mindset for so long, that any other shape or colour which falls outside this purview is considered to be inferior or worthless.
Easy A actress, Emma Stone once quoted, “Too Fat, Too Skinny, Too Short, Too Tall; Too Anything. There’s a sense that we’re all ‘Too’ something, and we’re not all enough. This is life. Our bodies change. Our minds change. Our hearts change.” As a women-centric platform, we laud her statement. Ladies, we are mere humans. We are not supposed to look completely perfect. The otherwise, porcelain-skinned, petite, and pretty girls too have their share of insecurities. We shouldn’t just simply judge a book by its cover.
As a forum run by women AND for women, we’d like to raise a few questions: Why can’t we accept ourselves for who we are? We’ll always have an issue with a slightly bigger nose or the stretch marks on our arms, some flab coming out or our bones ‘jutting’ out. Why diversity in colour is always looked down upon? As a country of predominantly brown individuals, shouldn’t we take this up more seriously? Often starting as a joke or a troll (well, thanks to social media), it can be quite traumatizing to the victim.
Ironically, many a time, it’s the people close to us who unconsciously encourage this. While today’s society is becoming more accepting of diverse shapes and sizes, many young adults still fall prey to this. Guys, we do not know the struggles of someone who does not have the ‘perfect’ body type or colour. Our humble request is to not participate in such activities, which are strong breeding grounds for bullying.
What is BODY SHAMING? -Decosntructing this man-made monster for bring disgrace to fellow humans
Giving into media ideals, people have a set notion of how one is supposed to look and feel. It is predominantly defined as the act or the practice of negatively judging someone on the basis of their physical appearance. Funnily enough, often times, women tend to bring other women down. According to a study, 33% of girls and 25% of boys reported weight-based teasing from girls, with the prevalence rates increasing to about 60% for those who were heavier.
In a complete U-turn, a humanitarian story on a leading blog narrated the ordeal of a 20-year-old girl, who has always been underweight. She tried to reach her goal weight by taking assistance from her trainer and a nutritionist, but her efforts went in vain. Over time, she had to endure hurtful remarks, which stung unto the deepest echelons such as, “If you do not put on weight, you’ll have problems while conceiving”, “Skinnybones”, “Haddi”, “flat-chested” and the likes. In terms of obesity or a heavier shape, one will often get to learn remarks like, “you fat cow”, “You’ll be a knockout if you shed weight”,” There is no way that is going to fit you”, and so on. Leading to a mental health condition known as body dysmorphia or body image disorder, one starts spiraling, not embracing themselves, titillating towards self-hatred and obsession.
Words truly matter, and they have the power to shatter your self-esteem and confidence. One is not only known for their weight or if they are darker in colour, or that ‘ugly’ scar which is right there. Let’s not forget the detrimental issues it can give rise to such as eating disorders, consisting of binge eating, anorexia and bulimia, depression, anxiety, self-harming behaviours, and the list goes on.
One of our team members described her experience as follows: “I was always a chubby kid, on the heavier side, while my sister was more athletic and fit. Naturally, she had a very thin frame, and in school, she was super popular. At times, relatives would compare the both of us, telling me to lose weight to look as pretty and gorgeous as her. Once a high school classmate called me a ‘fat cow’, and that totally broke me. I became quiet, withdrawn, and was incessantly bullied; from the vivacious, carefree, chirpy girl, I became totally under-confident and obsessive about my weight. Although, I had to lose weight for health reasons, it took that transformation journey to help me realize that I don’t need to give up my quirks and personality to just run behind a media idealized body type. Today, I’m a strong advocate of body positivity”. You go, girl! Thank you for sharing and inspiring us, and reuniting with your free, childlike spirit. We need more authentic people in these times.
From Kim Kardashian to the Italian mega blogger, Chiara Ferragni; our timeless beauties, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan to Rani Mukherjee, they all have faced harsh body shaming in the media, and embarrassingly so for their post-pregnancy bodies. Isn’t that just delirious? Gigi Hadid was ridiculed for being too skinny, while Serena Williams was “built like a man”. And, an ailing Selena Gomez was mocked for her scars from a kidney transplant, while Demi Lovato was victimized due to her eating disorder. But, you know what- these boss ladies used their influence and transformed their ridicules to encourage body positivity.
WHAT IS BODY-POSITIVITY? WHY IS IT THE NEED OF THE HOUR?
This essentially refers to a practice of assertion that all people deserve to have a positive and endearing body image, regardless of how the society or pop culture deems it to be.
Recognizing the negative judgments made on the basis of one’s race, gender, sexuality, and disability, apart from the obvious, aims to help people realize the power of media messages concerning our bodies and other attributes. It is so imperative to promote acceptance of all bodies, whilst addressing unrealistic body standards. Did you know that in our country, most women have a pear-shaped body (narrower at the top and wider down the hips)? We all tend to move towards the quintessential hourglass figure, but hey ‘all shapes and sizes are beautiful!’
We’d like to applaud the right kind of stir that is being created of late to create body positivity through their various campaigns.
Consulting our in-house psychologist, whiz a whiz team member with a degree in this field, she suggested that we all need to first learn to empower ourselves and learn to ignore the naysayers. Difficult as it sounds, it is possible. Some hacks that she suggests are as follows:
- Positive Self-Talk: Give out positive and empowering messages to the universe, which will help uplift you such as “I am beautiful”, “My scar is my pride”. Look into the mirror, flash that trillion-dollar smile, and boldly recite these statements. When you do so, you’ll soon realize that you have the power to make or break yourself, and shove the negative thoughts away.
- Focus on your strengths: In today’s evolving times, know your worth for what you truly bring to the table, and what you can control. Work on your hobbies, talents, and the wonderful person that you are- keep your head and spirits high.
- Set your boundaries: Cut out on people who are toxic to you, and be assertive for what you like and do not like. Be graceful, but make your thoughts known.
- Respect your body: Give it the love and attention that it deserves. If you want to work towards a goal weight, then do it healthily. Eat all the right foods, pamper yourself and give a pat on your back for just being. Girl, just embrace your curves if you have them. 5.
- Use social media positively: If you’ve been a victim of social media trolling, use your power to empower someone else. Two words of kindness and genuine praise can totally make someone’s day. Additionally, follow influencers or feeds that advocate positive body image, evoking pleasant emotions.
Transgender blogger Ind0ctrination and Vqueer to plus-size bloggers such as Aashna Bhagwani, Neha Parulekar, and Sakshi Sindhwani among others stand for what they truly are- bold, genuine, sassy, and hilarious and the real boss women. And, you know what; they are slaying and hustling in their own right. Thousands of well-wishers in their stride are unapologetically conquering the world.
To sign off, all we’d like to say is that “loving yourself is the greatest revolution.” “Potatoes are gonna potate and Haters are gonna hate- give them minuscule importance for that’s what they deserve.