These are very common phrases we hear on a daily basis.We do not realise that words matter. Words can also hurt. Words are forever etched in our memories making it a very tough thing to be erased. Negative associations about weight and body image can lead to low self-esteem, social isolation, poor body image, and has also been shown to directly contribute to the development of eating disorders.
What is Body-Shaming?
Body-Shaming or Fat-Shaming/Skinny shaming is when a person is bullied passed on his/her appearance be it online or in person. People are judged, ridiculed, bullied, abused and at times denied opportunities because of the way they look. They are bullied when they don’t fit into the society’s ideals of a perfect body which is a thin, healthy and beautiful body. The ideal of beautiful changes from person to person and the society is yet to accept it.
It is viewed as a crime to not fit into the ideals of the society, to be able to have the courage to stay unique and follow one’s own path and the people who do so are severely punished by being bullied and abused by everyone around them.
Research conducted by the Yale Rudd Center on Food Policy and Obesity found:
●Peer victimization is directly linked to the student’s weight
●64% of students enrolled in weight-loss programs reported experiencing weight-based bullying
●33% of girls and 25% of boys report body-shaming, but prevalence rates increase up to 60% among the heaviest students
●84% of students observed students perceived as overweight being called names or getting teased during physical activities.
Body-Shaming is not something new to the society, it has always been there in the world. Man, invented corsets to enhance the figure of women so that they could fit into the ideals of the society that is dominated by patriarchy. In this day and age, it has increased by many folds due to the advancement of technology and the availability of information in the click of a button. This advancement has given anonymity to everyone. People need not reveal who they are before putting forth their opinions. This ‘Keyboard Courage’ has given people the free platform to do what they want and say what they want without thinking about the consequences it would have in the other person’s life.
Body-Shaming is a very serious issue. It leads to many other disorders like depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, anorexia, etc. For many this might seem as a ridiculous issue, it might seem that people are making big issue out of something as simple as a friendly banter. It is not a friendly banter when you are being called out for being who you are! The person slowly starts to either forget himself in the need to be the one the society would accept or slowly kill themselves internally and externally in the thirst to make people accept them.
The first solution to body-shaming is to accept it as a social evil that needs to addressed at the very basic level. Every time you say to your family members or your friends that “The chair would break if you sit on it” or “This much space is enough for you, you would fit even in air” listen to yourself being mean, listen to yourself being a reason that person has gone another day far from being who they are, listen to yourself killing who that person is. Listen to yourself and try saying it to yourself looking at the mirror, because no one is perfect, if the person you mocked has 5 issues you have at least 2. Look at the fingers that point towards you when you point yours towards another person. Then you would understand the pain the person is going through because of your words.
Working out, staying on a diet, all of these activities are necessary to stay fit and healthy. They are not necessary because you are not beautiful enough. Being over or under a said weight might be a medical issue, it might be a threat to your life, at that time it is necessary to lose weight, not because you won’t fit into that pretty dress.
Stay healthy, Stay fit. Do it all because you want to do it on your own and that also not because that is what people do but because that will keep you alive healthy without medical issues. Everyone is beautiful. Everyone is pretty.
To all those people who think you are fit enough, or beautiful enough, you are the only you! Cherish yourself. People’s words don’t matter, your inner voice does. Listen to that voice, put your chin high and let the damn world fly by you because all you need is your own validation, you are beautiful for you, and that is what matters.