Ever been body shamed? According to statistics, 92.7% of women and 86.5% of men have been body shamed at least once in their lifetime. So, turns out, whether you’re a man or a woman, you’re not alone. The sad truth is that we live in a society where our bodies define who we are. It defines how we should be perceived by others. Due to this, today, self-esteem has been knotted with body-esteem/image.
Mainstream and social media create unrealistic conditions of worth for men and women of all ages and often even bear the brunt of criticism for doing so. One feels pressured by the media to obtain that certain idealized body image. Not being able to do so, leads to not only one being insecure and skeptical about themselves, but also others viewing them as inadequate or “not pretty enough”. A woman’s resentment due to body image and looks has been normalized to such an extent that it is no longer even considered a problem.
People often don’t realize that “skinny shaming”, which means ridiculing a person for being thin and underweight, can be just as harmful as body shaming aimed at those perceived as overweight.
Comments like men “love something to grab on to”, or that “curves are sexier” than skeletons, she looks so “malnourished” or “anorexic”, are passed on to women on a daily basis.
Having been body shamed, and to live with it, is no piece of cake. Everytime you think about it, it’s a different kind of pain. To be honest, you don’t even need to think about it. It somehow just finds its way into your thoughts, at least a couple of times in a day. The mind ponders upon their judgment, ‘Is what they said really true? Does everyone else also think of me the same?’ When you look into the mirror, you don’t see the young and beautiful girl that’s standing there trying to validate her own body, you see an exaggerated version of your imperfections. Your insecurities seem to stand out more than ever before, and whatever you try to do, how much ever comfort someone tries to give you, these thoughts remain engraved. They don’t seem to understand just how deeply it cuts into your sense of self.
Majority share about one’s appearance goes to their genes. There’s nothing one can do to radically change how they look. You can’t just change your skin tone, you can’t just get rid of acne, you can’t just suddenly lose/gain weight, you can’t just look how you want to. But what you can do, is to accept yourself, and other people for the way they are and value what they’ve been gifted with. Everyone is unique. Everyone has something that you don’t have. We can learn to find that exclusivity in people and appreciate them for it.
Throwing hate on them isn’t going to make anything better. People who throw this hate around are either narcissists, or those who are so drowned in their own insecurities, that pointing out other’s, and insulting them, makes them feel better. Narcissists are pathologically envious of other people. They have inflated self-views of their importance, appearance, power and status; but behind this mask of infallible mindset and extreme confidence, lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.
It is important to keep in mind that we may be clueless of what an individual is going through mentally, and emotionally. Taking into consideration individuals with a history of depression, trauma, self-harm, eating disorders or other psychological disorders, or even something as simple as having a bad day, body shaming can be extremely detrimental for their mental and physical well-being, for it may result in deflated self-esteem, self-injury, suicidal thoughts, and in some cases even the loss of a life.
Promoting healthy standards of living rather than those based on an idealized body image could help millions of men and women across the country from feeling the negative emotions associated with body shaming. In magazines, instead of publishing articles on “how to lose weight instantly”, we need articles on “how to love and appreciate your body”. In shows and movies, instead of using over-weight/under-weight characters as a basis for jokes, we need to start using them to promote body positivity and acceptance. This will help us break the conventional notions of beauty ingrained within the most of us.
Like all other forms of hate, criticisms and bullying, body shaming will also be present, unless you stick up for yourselves in a positive and healthy manner, and show them that you’re born to be real, not ideal. Embrace the power of self-love, coz honey, there exists over 7 billion forms of perfect, and YOU are one of them.