Since the world is becoming a perilous place to have a body, body shaming has come up as a customary practice among people. What does shame really mean? Shame is something you should feel when you’ve done something wrong. Right? But, since people are so obsessed by the unrealistic beauty standards set up by media, it has become a crime to have a body which does not fulfil their criteria. And so, they are bound to feel the ‘shame’. That’s when body shame establishes its existence.
What is body shaming?
Body shaming is an irrational practice of people, which involves damaging and impactful remarks and attitudes towards a person’s weight, appearance or size. It sometimes also takes up the form of discriminating individuals on the basis of the way they look. Specifically, the media has long been an ardent backer of body shaming whilst shamefully bashing celebrities and models, who are either too ‘large’ or are too ‘small’ to pose for a leading magazine’s cover page. It’s really a babyish act to bully a person for being mere few pounds less or more. People, who are cyberbullied for being ‘unfit’ according to the norms of the society, feel too embarrassed to come up to the front and face the brutal world. Body shaming can leave a negative impact on the victim in the way no one has ever imagined. It creates a negative self-image and turns up the victim to go underground with little or no social interaction. A counterattack against this disgraceful practice has given rise to this term ‘body shaming’ itself and people are looking forward to a more positive outlooks towards body diversity.
If you look around yourself, you’ll see a trend of victimizing women for their ‘imperfect appearances’. Most of the times, women are expected to look perfect, no matter how much pain they’ve to go through to achieve that ‘One Perfect Look’. And even if they do, what do they receive as a reward? Another remark, another negative comment about their looks! Don’t you feel outraged by such things? Why can’t people just let women live their life the way they want? This (Body shaming) won’t stop, or will it?
While reading this write up, you can recall about how many times you are told to change your appearances. Even the magazines are flushed with the sections telling the women, how to lose weight or how to get a fuller body. The internet is all jam-packed with things as such. The sitcoms have shown this tendency of using overweight models to use them as a mere object of ridicule. These are a few kinds of body shaming and you have no escape from it. If you’re not changing yourself, then sadly, you’ll be the next subject for their relentless bogus jokes. We all get targeted, isn’t it? No one is perfect. There won’t be a single person who can stand up and say that they’ve never been subjected to the ill-practice of ‘body shaming’
Why do we do it?
- Body shaming doesn’t cause any ‘actual harm’ to a person.
The answer to this question remains ambiguous. There can’t be a single yet solid reason that can be attributed to this practice. People who are into body shaming consider that, they are not ‘actually’ injuring a person by putting them down for their physical appearances. They think it is totally fine to crack a hideous joke on a person’s looks as it won’t give them a black eye. People have confined the term ‘injury’ to mere physical wounds. But you know what the worst kind of injury is? The harm caused to the self-esteem of the person.
- A false image of beauty laid down by the media.
Another possible motivation that causes people to indulge in a sign like this, is the false representation of beauty by the media. People strongly believe what the media tell them. They setup a fixed format of beauty and reprimand anyone who violates their so-called formats of ‘beauty’. In a recent photograph, I went through the comments revoltingly bashing Angelina Jolie Pitt for shedding some pounds and looking ‘way too skinny’ for being called beautiful. This is just an example. Let alone the ordinary people, even the celebrities are not excluded.
- Body shaming is self-satisfying.
Apart from this, there is a trend among women of blatantly bashing their fellow women for mere numbers of cup size of a bra or for the size of panty they wear. It sort of triggered off a chain-reaction of body shaming for one another. The woman who was brought down by her colleagues for smaller boobs after which she went on doing the same with one of her friends. It seems that people have assumed that bashing someone down can actually bring them up. If only they knew how foolishly wrong they are!
Body shaming in many disguises
Without even recognizing the thing they are doing, they already have their hands in this sinful act of body shaming. It takes up many forms, as the term itself includes many such activities which sabotage the self-image of a person, even when committed by the person itself. Body shaming, however, manifests itself in many ways like:
- Criticizing your own appearances.
This is the most common to be seen type of body shaming these days. No women seem to be contented with what god has bestowed upon them. Each and every woman I come across seems to have one or more complaint about her looks. While the race for achieving that ‘perfect look’ continues, it is getting more normal to hear phrases like “I’m so ugly, I don’t have an ass like hers”
- Bringing someone else down for their looks.
When commenting about the assets of someone else, everyone suddenly becomes so perfect to take up the seat of the judge and finds it completely fine to pass off insolent remarks like, “With the lips like those, you’ll never get laid.” So little they know about the damage they are causing to the person’s self-esteem just for satiating their own discontentment with self.
- Not being good to someone cause of their physical imperfections.
Neglecting someone just because they are too short or too fat or skinny is nothing but a barefaced act of body shaming. Many people with glasses and braces are represented as a loner in several sitcoms. It happens for real, too. People who don’t fit the beauty norms of the society are often neglected by their fellow beings and are expected to befriend people of their own kind. Unknowingly, we get ourselves involved in such kind of felony.
What can be done about it?
All these instances where the media and even the people shamelessly practice ‘body shaming’ leads to some important questions: What can we do about it? And will this ever stop? If this ill-practice has such an unpleasant effect on people, why do we practice it in the first place? No matter how it expresses itself, the outcome is always detrimental: Shame and comparison. And something is desperately needed to discontinue this malpractice.
The chances of complete elimination of this practice remain little, but still there are some things which can be done to make a change.
- While the media is trying its very best to impose these unrealistic expectations of beauty while airbrushing and photoshopping the images of a model, what we can do is to teach ourselves and our fellow girls to ignore such expectations. We need to get well versed with the fact that these models and celebrities are not ‘perfect’. We need to get this in our head that beauty is just a state of mind, rather than a size.
- Instead of bashing people about what you hate in them, practice appreciating them for things you love about them. Make people take pride in themselves instead of hurting their self-esteem. Remember, what goes around, comes around!
- Media can correct its wrongdoings by using diverse models for their ad-campaigns and make people known with the fact beauty lies in the diversity rather than uniformity. Normalizing different body types will be of great help to young girls who idolize the Victoria street angels to be the ‘only’ epitome of True Beauty.
- Stop prioritizing the physical beauty, and instead of putting your focus more towards out shining as a better person, refine your inner self for the same. Feed your soul and let it speak for you.
- Encourage people to post realistic and non-airbrushed pictures of themselves on Instagram. Photoshopping images and putting up unattainable goals for everyone out there will just activate the chain again. On a broader side, it is better to keep yourself away from or less-involved in these social media platforms and convince yourself, that everything you see there is mere an illusion.
- Get the thing straight the models on the coverage of the fashion magazine have great genes and on top of that, too much of money to spend on themselves. Even the best looking models take 80 shots to get that one perfect shot to upload it on IG. Nobody is perfect, because beauty is always hidden in the form of imperfections!
- And the most important, confront the people who practice body shaming blatantly. Being completely okay with the wrongdoings is no less than doing the wrong itself. Speak up and at any cost, do not support what’s wrong, just for the sake of blending in with the society.
Real Women have curves or Real women are a size zero. It is a high time to abolish the use of such kind of bogus statement. Everyone is real, regardless of how they look. A person with a soul, is ‘Real’. No mere combination of words can snatch a person away from his/her realness. The only thing which are not real are the airbrushed images of models on social media platforms. What is not real, are the so-called beauty standards set up by the media. What’s not real is the ludicrously photoshopped thigh-gap in that irrational underwear ad. In real life, people have flaws, and that’s what can be called ‘real’. So, the whole write sums up on the conclusion that it becomes our moral responsibility to break the stereotypes of beauty, abolish body shaming and instead, practice body positivity. Everyone is beautiful. We don’t need curves to be sexy or be a to please someone’s eye!
Here are few celebrities who fought body shaming with ultimate panache!Know how they made it.