Most of us are potential victims of ‘body shaming’ – the widespread phenomenon of receiving cruel feedback when our bodies don’t meet the unrealistic beauty standards of our time.
We spend our time lost in self-critical thoughts, despising our body and comparing ourselves unfavourably to others.
Image : ShutterStock
In a survey of adolescents in grades 9 to 12, more than 59% of females and 29% of males were trying to ‘lose weight’. Over 18% of girls and 8% of boys had, in the last 30 days, gone without food for 24 hours or more – just to lose weight. 95% of people with eating disorders fall between the ages of 12 and 25.
There are various reasons why people of my age are targeted, including: we’re too young to realise what’s ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ for our health; we’re so easily influenced by celebrities and the media; we overthink about other people’s judgements about us and many of us don’t even understand what’s incorrect in saying, “You aren’t fat, you’re beautiful.”
This illustration has been inspired by one of the campaigns against body shaming – ‘Bodies aren’t ugly. Bullying is.’
Let us make each other realise that fat, tall, short, or thin are not insults but just characteristics. A number on the weighing machine cannot determine our worth. Losing weight is not our life’s work and counting calories is not the call of our soul.
Janusry Harshe, the founder of Birth Without Fear writes, “My body has been gloriously used from the top of my head down to the tips of my toes. I use the talents I have been given to the best of my ability. I try to use my mind to live my passions that will make my soul feel alive. My voice is heard and used to speak truths, inspiration, and empowerment. To tell my family I love them as often as possible. My ears listen to story after story as women process. My heart has ached with loss and soared with joy and love. My breasts have nourished children, my womb has created life, my body has birthed human beings, my hands and arms have comforted and held those I love and embraced thousands of women and men in hugs and solidarity. My legs have squatted as I pushed out children. My feet have chased giggling toddlers. That’s just a fraction of what my body has done in a short 37 years.”
‘Skinny shaming’ is another type of bullying that is arguably harmful because it perpetuates the notion that somebody’s self-worth should be based on his or her appearance.
This illustration depicts those n number of phrases a skinny girl hears almost every single day.
Sara Pittman, a lifestyle blogger writes, “I have been exceptionally thin all of my life. I get it from my momma. That doesn’t put me into some distorted stereotypical mold with a personality to match. I am no stranger to whispers, rumours and insulting jabs in regard to my weight or to being shunned simply because of the clichéd judgement of others. Our bodies do not define us, although society seems to forget that. The media likes to constantly remind us to second guess ourselves and push us to feel inadequate. We are either too fat or too thin and we despise it.”
The work below is a take on all the magazines and their beauty standards.
Andrea Watcher, a psychotherapist and author says, “I have learned that changing my body will not make me feel loved, loving myself will. To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance and all women and men have the right to accept their body. The shame is on the ones who use that to attack their self esteem.”
Let’s stop any kind of body shaming, now and together.
On various social media platforms, I asked people their opinion on body shaming. Shown below are some of the responses that I have gathered from different parts of the world.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)