Body shaming! Let me tell you my story.
I was thin as a young girl. My mother felt I would put on some weight as I grew, but her wish didn’t come true, and I stayed thin as an adult, too. I thought marriage would help me, but it didn’t.
Whatever I ate failed to show on my body. It frustrated me no end, but there was nothing I could do about it. There was also nothing I could do about the words people used to describe my body.
People do have a weird way of expressing their concern about other’s body size and shape, don’t they? Sadly, they fail to realize that their words of concern actually feel like poisonous barbs that cut through the heart and injure the soul.
What is body shaming?
It was years later that I understood that this is what we mean by ‘Body shaming’.
Criticizing someone for their body size, making a mockery of their body shape and hurting them with comments disguised as ‘concern’ is called body shaming.
It’s Not Entertainment!
Since childhood, we have seen in movies or read in stories how people with excess weight are ridiculed by society. These characters take it sportingly and allow others their jokes and taunts. Rarely do they object. In fact, they are shown to use their weight to their advantage by indulging in over-eating in the hope of becoming the center of attention.
These images stay on in our mind and unbeknownst to us, we, too, indulge in the sin. We point out to them, calling them all sorts of names without even the slightest concern about their feelings. The fact that they can feel our gaze sweeping their body and hear our snigger fails to stop us from wounding them so.
Can you imagine how hurt they must feel even though they put on a brave front? Do we ever think how much courage it must take them to step out of their homes knowing they stand to be laughed at for no fault of theirs?
Why We Need To Be Considerate
An important fact we fail to understand is that a person’s weight or the size of their body is not their fault. No one puts on weight or reduces weight for the entertainment of others. It’s how their bodies are.
There is a chemical process that occurs in our body and helps us stay alive. It’s called, ‘Metabolism’.
Some people have a slow metabolism, in that their body takes time to convert the food into energy, which, as a result, gets stored as fat. On the other hand are people with a faster metabolism. Their body converts the food into energy at a faster rate as a result of which they have less fat stored in their body
Every person’s body size and makeup is unique. People are how they are created.
Sadly for those we body shame, we are governed by the idea that ‘thin’ is success and ‘fat’ is failure. Our ideals and our perceptions are shaped by what we see, and what we see is ‘thin’ receiving the spotlight and ‘fat’, the ridicule.
But, do we, for a moment, pause and think how we hurt those countless that fail to fit in with our perception of perfection?
Many suffer from depression because of the constant taunts that ruin their self-esteem. Several others resort to self-harm and suffer from emotional disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia.
Their constant fight with their weight affects their life-long relationship with their bodies. Imagine the kind of life they must live, far from the prying eyes.
Refrain from Body Shaming
The number one rule is keeping your opinion of others to yourself.
Refrain from commenting about how they appear too thin, or too fat since the last time you met them.
Stop yourself from doling our unsolicited advice on how someone could lose/gain kilos to achieve the so-called “perfect weight”. There is no such thing as a “perfect weight”. As long as a person is in good health, their body size shouldn’t matter.
And, finally, just imagine how it would feel if you were the target of body shaming. Would you find those taunts entertaining?
Think about it.