What is body shaming?
In simple terms, body shaming is insulting or mocking a person's physical appearance.
Chances are if you are an individual of 18 years or older, you have experienced body shaming. People nowadays don't even spare small infants as they will be quick to judge a chubby baby being cute and a not so chubby baby not being cute!
Body shaming has become so normal that it is now have become a person's first weapon of defense. If you feel hurt or humiliated, your rebuttals are usually insults about their appearance.
But how did we reach here?
How did we humans reach a point where we became proficient in hating our and everyone else’s bodies?
Why do we body shame?
Unrealistic beauty standards
Unrealistic beauty standards are the oldest newly discovered poison to the society. They have been around since forever, but we have only recently realized how harmful they are. They are ever-changing and almost always impossible to achieve.
In an ideal society with obscene beauty standards, you need to have a pinched nose, but if it’s too pinched you are a witch. You need to have big almond eyes, but too big and you look naive. You need big plump lips but not too big. Slim waist but have some meat on your hips. Be natural, don’t get plastic surgery but maybe get a nose job or few fillers? Your hair should be straight but where is the wave?
Everything you do or don’t do is under scrutiny. And as we keep on getting bombarded with a thousand of beauty standards, we give in to the ever increasing list. We accept the hate they throw at us and then we spread it.
And this is exactly what leads to body shaming.
More often than usual, it is us hating ourselves, or scrutinizing our own body. Standing in front of the mirror and finding the most humane flaws just so that we can wallow in self-pity.
Society and its ideologies get to us no matter how much we resist.
We start monitoring ourselves. For some, it gets worse. They form an eating disorder or get obsessed in hitting long hours at the gym to get that ideal body.
This self-hate is usually triggered due to some external factors - for example, a loved one insistently pointing out our flaws or some public humiliation or maybe some childhood psychological trauma. The reasons are varied and complex, which further signifies the importance of this issue. Whatever the trigger might be it leads to a lifetime of insecurity.
Insulting or putting others down has become our comfort language.
Everyone has their insecurities and seeing someone who doesn’t fit our unrealistic ideal body image makes us feel superior. It is sad how we pit each other against a nonexistent ideology of body image. And if one of us finally wins and achieves that ideal body we hate on them and just find something else to fight about.
Promotion by media/society
The capitalist beauty market runs heavily on insecurities. They have a cream, sauna belt, and treatment for everything you could possibly feel insecure about.
The media is no less behind. From whitewashing to photo-shopping any realistic cellulite, wrinkles, or curves, they always project the ideal woman image in every model/actress.
Just look at our children's fantasy movies. Most of the animated characters are supposed to be fictional but the way they portray beauty and ugly elements by physical features is so bizarre. But children grow up watching fairy tale movies and wish to be like their favorite heroine/hero. It’s rooted in our heads, unintentionally or not.
Giving nonsensical advice
Oh! This is such a common thing we have all experienced when we have been advised by our dear ones to make some changes in our routine so that we can look a certain way.
People think it is alright to advise anyone who is too thin or too fat to maintain their weight right because it is not good for their health. Obesity experts have repeatedly emphasized that shaming someone into weight loss is not healthy. So if the experts think it’s not right, then it is just not right!
How do we stop this?
Filtering out the negative and accepting ourselves as who we are is a long journey. But it is a beautiful one. It all starts with self-love.
Embracing ourselves as who we are and realizing we are all beautiful no matter what people say, is the best way to fight body shaming. We need to realize that even if we all ate the same and exercised the same, we would still look different.
Admiring anyone else’s beauty doesn’t diminish yours. Everyone has their secret admirers. Everyone runs into someone who is amazed by how beautiful their eyes, lips, hair, nose, or body is. You are not ugly, society is!
Remember, you are made of the same atoms that make mountains and rivers and oceans and flowers. Don’t you ever doubt your worth.
Be You. Feel Beautiful. Stay Confident
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