Without excuses, we don’t realize but we all contribute so much to this ball of negativity and perfectionism that has arisen. We don’t apprehend how many people we kill by body shaming them. We know that everything and everyone is not perfect. Not everything is supposed to be in a certain way and not everyone is supposed to look a certain way. Body shaming has always been there since human existence but rather than us learning from the mistakes that humanity has made, the situation had gotten worse probably because so many variables have affected it. Body shaming should have stopped the moment people came across it and the moment that it started happening in schools and at home but then it comes to mind that people always have opinions to give when they themselves know it’s wrong and they don’t realize that their one comment can take a life.
“You’re too fat.”
“You’re too skinny.”
“You have chicken legs.”
“You have flabby arms.”
“You don’t have any muscle on you.”
“Look at that double-chin.”
What is Body Shaming?
Body Shaming means to mock or make negative comments about someone’s body, physique, weight or size. Body Shaming comes in bullying and scorning other people and it is different from complimenting someone because complimenting and body shaming are two opposites and we are adept enough to know the difference in between. People also make excuses by saying that they are advising people rather than body shaming them but there is a big difference between advising people about what they should do and body shaming them about how they look.
Body shaming has always been there for a long period of time because beauty standards have risen tremendously and suddenly there is this need to look a certain way and to behave a certain way. Body shaming isn’t only done in the case of women, it is also done to men where other men body shame them on how they don’t have any muscles or about how fat or skinny they are. You see no one is allowed to criticise someone else regarding their body because we are not given the authority for that. Only you yourself can mock yourself because it is your own body, you own it and it is your own choice how you keep it.
Body shaming is either done by family members, schoolmates, friends, even bias teachers, people on social media and by people in general. Anyone can walk up to you and tell you at your face that your body looks a certain way that is displeasing and disregarding and that you need to change the way you look because it is awful. That is the thing, we should not give others the chance to hurt us meaning that of course we shouldn’t listen to these people. You see almost everyone in this whole world has been taunted about how their bodies look and how they should look and honestly no one likes it. Either you’re fat, you’re skinny or you’re not muscular, no one likes to be body shamed but still regardless of being body shamed, we still do it to other people and we all have at one point in our lives body shamed someone and it is time we accept it and try to change it.
Body shaming is similar to bullying. When a negative comment is made about someone’s body their self-esteem lessens, their confidence is destroyed and depression finds their door and enters their house without knocking just because of a sentence that doesn’t mean anything to the one who said it but means everything to the ears that heard it. I don’t think I need to state the harm that body shaming does because we all know it and we all are guilty of it. Here is a list of things that can happen as a result and it is a global problem:
- Mental/Physical Diseases or Illnesses
- Sleepless Nights
- Lower Self-confidence
- Feelings of being imperfect
- Hating their own body
- Uncomfortable in their own skin
- Negative Thoughts
As bad as it is, body shaming has at one point become a reason for people thinking that their not worthy anymore so they’ve chosen worse options like ending their lives. This is really what happens and we need to change the way we compliment people because body shaming doesn’t count in complimenting others. We also cannot blame these people for retiring to these alternatives when we and the whole other world creates it. Let’s take responsibility because we have gone through it and we’ve also made others go through it ourselves.
The thing is that everyone has been give their own body, every body is different from the other and everyone keeps it in a different way. Some people like it skinny, smart, healthy, muscular, etc. There are people who have problems like obesity or they take steroids that leads to weight gain. There are also other diseases that can affect the weight or the size of a person like the Cushing’s syndrome, cancer, viral infections, parasite infections, depression, bowel diseases, chronic illnesses, etc. Some people’s jobs require muscles like bodybuilders, boxers and fitness coaches, etc. Some people however don’t have muscles because either they don’t like them or they don’t have time to work out at the gym. Some people have health issues because of which they can’t work out and there could be a million other possibilities. However the conclusion is that it’s their life and their choice. They decide how they want their body to look and what they want to do to their body and they are responsible for it, we have nothing to say about it because we don’t have that authority.
Then again, I know we all criticise others once or more and have also body shamed others even if they were just jokes but jokes also have limits and crossing those limits can seriously do damage. Just go on social media and take a look. Millions of people sitting behind a computer or a mobile screen body shame people as if they have the authority to and then there are these standards made to look a certain way or to have a certain body shape and weight so that you are accepted by everyone. Even if you end up having a perfect body, people always tend to find flaws. You see, the human body wasn’t meant to be perfect, it wasn’t meant to be a certain shape or a certain weight and we have tend to standardize and specify beauty but the purest form of beauty that I’ve seen is the one without shape and the one that is wild.
Beauty and perfection is not to be a specific weight, a specific body shape or have a specific amount of muscles, it means to be happy with the body you have been given and treat it the right way. To feel comfortable in your own skin and your own body. Yes, working out and exercising is something that everyone needs to do because it is necessary to keep the body healthy and your life happy but exercising nowadays is done to get smart and slim and get a curvaceous body which is only a side effect of exercising not the whole point of it. We need to stop describing the wholeness or the phenomenon of one thing from its side effect because when we do it we tend to specify it for a certain mean which completely destroys the singular phenomenon of it.
I mean it is completely good and okay if you yourself want to look a certain way but it should only be because YOU feel good like that and not to do it under pressure of what other people say. Do things because you want to for your own good and benefit meaning don’t do things under pressure for what other people tend to state. Go to the gym because you want to stay fit for your own betterment, lose weight if you want to look smart yourself and only change your body if YOU want to.
For those who have been body shamed or are being body shamed, there is no point in what people say about your body. Their words might hurt you but only if you give them the ability to hurt you. Words are words and they do make their essence but your mind is also your mind so don’t take them seriously, ignore those who tend to body shame you and focus on what you want instead. Everyone is going to say something and we cannot expect to go out and live our lives the way we want to and not receive negativity because existing and living means that you are going to experience positivity and negativity because when you are there, opinions are also there but you don’t always have to listen to them or believe them or even pay attention to them.
I remember there was a point where I thought a lot about what people said about me at school, what they whispered and especially about how they thought of me. I wouldn’t say that a lot of people have body shamed me but with social media and these standards of perfection, it always kept me on my toes to look a certain way and be what was considered to be perfect. This means that I body shamed myself by my own thoughts and yes that is possible especially when there is this thing of having a ‘perfect body’. However I realized that I don’t really care how people view my body, whether I am fat, skinny, shapeless, muscular, whatever.
By then I had already started working out and then I apprehended that I want to exercise and work out not because I want to look a certain way or I want a certain type of body but because I want to be healthy for myself and I don’t want my body to be weak and most of all because I liked working out. That is when I accepted that me exercising means that I want to do it but not under pressure of what other people want me to be like or under pressure of these standards of beauty and perfection.
The moral of the story being that body shaming people does nothing but hurt them until they reach a point which is dangerous for their life and it doesn’t benefit anyone. If you think body shaming might make the person change themselves, you’re wrong. All it does is lower their self-respect and make them think of themselves in a negative way. The only way we can lessen body shaming is to first accept that we all have done it. We’ve all body shamed someone sometimes even without considering it, I accept that I’ve done it and probably you also have. But we all have also been body shamed and it is not a good feeling. Now we need to change ourselves and when we will change, others will as well because we need to be the change that we want to see in the world as Gandhi said.
Let’s put an end to killing others by their flaws because it has been done to us and no one likes it. Let’s put a full stop to sentences that didn’t have to be there in the first place but now that it has started, let’s put an end to it.
Don’t make a decision that you’ll regret. Suicide is not an option and is also not the solution. If you see that there is someone who needs emergent help please try to help them.
The National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK