The Natural Self

My fight against body shaming made me aware of how patriarchy feeds this  vicious cycle - SheThePeople TV

As Wayne Dyer rightfully says, “Judging a person does not define who they are. It defines who you are.” Today my article is going to be about one of the evilest and most common things that happen in every society around the world. The topic for today is going to be body shaming. It is not surprising if this word rings a bell in your mind. The reason is very simple. It has become so common in our daily lives of listening, experiencing, and feeling negative after we experience body shaming. We in our real-life have also seen how body shaming comes into normalization and justification even today. It is sad and disheartening to know that even though people are aware that body shaming someone will bring about an upsetting consequence and still say or do things concerning body shaming.

Understanding Body Shaming

The definition of body shaming is very simple. When you make a derogatory comment, regarding the shape, size, weight, looks, color, or anything else that defines an individual or yourself for that matter then, it is body shaming. Now, that I have defined body shaming I am sure all of you are having flashbacks of instances where you have had an experience of body shaming yourself. The unfortunate thing is that society has set a certain standard for looks, and when that is not in a meeting, people experience body shaming. The standards are set for both men and women. Women have to look thin, fair, should have long hair, and have to dress in a particular manner, etc while it is nothing less for men as well. They have to be tall, strong, muscular, fair, etc. Body shaming is not just limited to a certain gender, race, age, etc. It is to everybody.

 Body shaming has been there for generations now. Its roots come from prejudice, idealization, male gaze, fantasy-filled standards, and one of the most common things, which is patriarchy. Body shaming initiation in our minds has been happening right from the time we were small children in several ways we now understand.  Let me give you an example. Remember the time when we as children used to watch cartoons like Barbie or Ben 10? The women in both the shows were thin, fair, had long hair while the men were tall, fair, handsome, and even well built. The villains on the other hand had a crooked faces, fat, dark, and so on. This is just one example out of all the hundreds of cartoons that are out there even today. The standardization for body shaming is through this process. Let me give you another example. Next time while watching a movie just give it a thought of why the main characters have the standard body while the co-actors do not.  Pay a little more attention to the subtle, indirect, or sometimes even the direct body shaming that is through dialogues.

People should understand that body shaming could be done by anybody. Your friends, relatives, or even your parents could do it. Whoever does it is wrong and nothing can justify those actions. Another that also needs to be here is that comparing two people for their bodies is also body shaming. Body shaming does not necessarily have to be just about a person being fat. It could even be about a thin person. It is very simple. Body shaming anyone about anything is bad and should not happen. If you are being critical about yourself and questioning your own body then you are body shaming yourself. This is also bad. There are many reasons why one is body shaming themselves. One of the most prominent reasons because of the engraving one has had from childhood about meeting the standards. There are several other reasons such as social media, peer pressure, etc.

Body Shaming Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

Effects of Body shaming

The effects of body shaming are so many that one cannot even imagine. Suppose someone insults you about something, then the things that one feels are the same when but the intensity is much higher when someone body shames you. When an individual has experienced body shaming then they lose self-confidence, self-trust, a sense of guilt, obsessive thoughts, fear and so much more. These are just some of the small effects that I am referring to. There are so many more. If body shaming is persistent for a long period in individuals, it could also result in mental disorders, eating disorders, etc which is something nobody deserves to suffer. The effects of body shaming are seen physically, mentally, and emotionally. We have seen people justifying body shaming with the idea of helping, fitness, concern for health and so many more things. Let this be clear that the reasons that it is justifying body shaming are the ones that take a toll on the individual. As Laci Green has rightly said, “You do not encourage people to take care of their body by telling them to hate it.”

Yes, there is change because of awareness, people talking about it, the spread of the right kind of information, therapy, change in thinking in society and so much more. This should not stop here. It should go on until body shaming becomes history. Nobody should feel horrible or ugly with the way they look. Everyone deserves to be happy with themselves and nobody should or gets to say otherwise. It is high time standards are thrown away and everyone has their freedom with their own body. It is now that we learn to embrace our natural self and make sure that our future generation does the same too. EVERY BODY IS BEAUTIFUL. I am not going to disagree when people say it is going to take time to unlearn things, but while being in that process one should be able to change and not repeat the same things as well. The responsibility of removing body shaming is not just on one individual or a certain group. Every single person, society, country, government, and world should collectively do it.  A new year is just starting which is giving us time to remove evils and make this world a better place to live. Let us come together and use this year to bring peace, happiness, and harmony not just with others but also with our inner self.

To conclude with a beautiful quote by Eve Ensler where she says, “Stop trying to fix your body. It was never broken.”


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