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Destigmatizing the new “normal”: Body Shaming

Body shaming is becoming a common norm and the social media platforms aren’t helping the cause.

“What was she even thinking of wearing that dress? Just, look at those hip chubs and body rolls.”

“Do you think this color would suit your body shape? I mean, why don’t you try black? That’ll look nice on you and make you look thinner.”

“Don’t go outside when the wind is so rough, it’ll blow you off.”

“Why are you worried about the wind? It’s not like it can even blow the hair on your head.”

A paper1 titled “Suicidality in Body Dysmorphic Disorder” conducted by Katharine A. Phillips, suggests that 80% of the individuals struggling with Body Dysmorphic Disorder struggling with suicidal thoughts throughout their lives.

The few quotes and dialogue exchanges that I shared at the beginning are just a few examples of the kind of taunts that have made people insecure about their appearances. I have been there too.

Body shaming is becoming a common norm and the social media platforms aren’t helping the cause.

People are struggling daily and crude comments like these can easily set their progress one step behind. But, how often do we realize how badly our comments are affecting people’s minds? To be honest, not often.

What is Body Shaming?

Body Shaming is nothing but constant criticism about yourself or others based on their physical appearance.

While most people don’t realize the implications of their words, it can leave behind a lasting impact on a person’s mind, especially the ones who have a hard time accepting their own body.

Body shaming either stems from within you or you can project those criticisms onto someone else.

It is not just about your body weight but even your appearance and skin color can be a contributing factor.

I have to experience that. I have had people suggest I “lose weight” if I want to get better jobs and have a better life as if people are giving out jobs based on someone’s appearance.

I have had people tell me to use some sort of fairness cream because my skin color is just too dark to be beautiful.

I have had people tell me that “you’re cute” just because I have chubby cheeks. Unintentionally, they set my insecurities a notch higher.

It’s tough.

Why is it becoming the “new normal”?

While body-shaming is an alarming thing to consider and be aware of, the one thing that scares me is how normal it is becoming.

It doesn’t take a person two minutes before they are passing comments about the way I look. No, I don’t need that kind of reminder. I don’t need you to tell me that I need to lose weight when I very well struggle with similar thoughts every single day.

One of the main reasons why it is becoming so normal is because there’s so much stigma surrounding it. People don’t like to talk about their struggles when it comes to their bodies and appearance.

Nobody likes to retaliate when they are being body-shamed because deep down, they accept it as true. They believe that their appearance is something that needs changing.

And, one of the biggest misconceptions is that body-shaming is only applicable for obese people. It’s not. When you are joking about someone being too thin, that is a form of body shaming as well.

I wouldn’t take pride in saying that I have not been judgemental and not being part of this charade because, to be honest, I have. I am not proud of it, and I don’t think I’ll ever understand the possible implications I could have left behind a person’s mind with my words.

Given that I have experienced the same first hand and I know how much every word stings, I don’t want body shaming to become even more mainstream as it is.

I don’t want it to be justified as “I was just joking” when passing comments about how lighter colors don’t flatter my body type.

Body shaming becoming the new normal is where the problem arises. It is time people speak up before it takes a front seat in the mind of every person struggling with their body.

Destigmatize this stigma.

Like a quote that I read some time back, “Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind, always!”

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2361388/

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