We are a heterogeneous group of people at home. Of course, different in character and nature, but it is nothing special. People are supposed to be different from each other. But when I say heterogeneous, it means variety in appearance. In height, in health and in looks. And this article is about how that difference in appearance from the norm, affects me and people like me.
To cut the crap, I am just trying to describe body shaming in a sophisticated manner. In a way that it may not feel bad to say. But body shaming is pretty serious, irrespective of how it is packaged.
Body shaming is a very common phenomenon in today’s society. Something which is as normal as cracking an ‘elephant- ant’ joke. An act which you may not believe can even take a life.
A few of us were talking to a girl in a bookstore, who was a bit overweight. Some due to her genes, some her lifestyle, some her medical conditions and the rest because she chose to be that way. But her endeavour with life for that body of her was something that triggered a fight in everybody listening to her.
Till the time she was a kid, she looked and was considered adorable. Round face, round stomach and a chubby glow. Then came her teens when people thought she should look like an ideal girl. She was constantly asked to reduce weight, to exercise, run and reduce her food intake. Then came the marriage age, the worst of her time. She was ridiculed saying that if you stay like this no one would marry you. She did all that she could do to actually lose weight. But when she failed, she felt like she had failed in life. She went into depression, lost her self-esteem, stopped socializing and shunned the world. Just because people did not like the way her body looked like. It snatched the happiness of her life. It was then when, in her own words, “I had reached to the bed of the ocean when I decided to bounce back,” she decided to let the world go to hell. She had to live her life her way. Those comments about her body had ruined her life enough.
The moral of the story is, body shaming may be time pass for you, but for us (yes for people like me too), it is abuse. An abuse which hits directly to the heart and sickens the brain.
Someone once told me, you should crack a joke only until the time when it does not harms a person. You may not even realise that when you call your friend, a buffalo, or elephant or a matter of fact even chotu, it is not at all funny for them. Not even when they laugh at it with you. Everybody thinks that mocking a fat person is normal.
They have heard stupid sentences mocking them countless times because they do not want to create a scene or start an argument or ruin the environment. But the fact is, at the end, they still feel bad to be judged the way they are. When you pass your time by mocking them saying, “Don’t sit on that chair, it’s not meant for elephants”, or check if the floor is okay after you trip and fall, or even when they say “don’t go out in the wind, you will fly off,” believe me, IT IS NOT FUNNY!
Being thin or fat, short or tall, is not a choice, but when you mock them and ridicule them just because you are getting bored, you are making them feel inadequate. A person who does not appear ideal in your standards is never able to come in terms of the ‘ideal appearance’ status which you feel they should be.
With every new sentence you throw at them, ‘just for fun’ they are losing a percentage of their self- esteem, their confidence and their pride they have on them.
They may have become used to it, or ignore it, terming it as your insecurity. Still, it affects them.
Next time, whenever you feel like you can laugh a little by mocking the person sitting in front of you, smiling on your stupid comments on their body, think about what would happen if they do the same to you? What would happen if they cry after they go home? What would happen if your body shaming may not be that casual as you think?