Body shaming is a prevalent practice of bullying people. It ritually starts from day one of your life on earth. It embarks not from the insecurities you’ll have later in life but the insecurities you’re programmed with, due to the people who are responsible to make you feel this way.
Imagine a world without body image issues. Impossible! Everybody wants to look extraordinary. In the pursuit of such aspirations, you tend to look down upon yourself and others.
“I was on a prescribed course of antidepressants because I was skinny and brown“, says Faisal Shaikh, a fitness coach from Mumbai who agreed to speak with me on the subject. “But now, brown is the new sexy!”
In this era, you’re set to a standard of looks and appearance. Nevertheless, you still will be picked on.
“If you aren’t fair, you’re not desirable,” says Avanthi, an employee from Uber, India. After chatting with a lot of men and women, I could list down the Internet, cinema and social media as the major reasons for being body shamed and developing body image issues. Avanthi also added, “Even if you have food, shelter, clothing, none of it would matter. Body shaming shall never stop.”
Happiness is difficult to come by when it comes to our own perception of body shaming. Although there is enough motivation lying around, we crave compliments. I can conclude that it is a rough path to self-acceptance.
Our brain is a complex mechanism, subconsciously, you are always judging your own choices, actions, and thoughts. One seeks validation on everything they do. Body shaming destroys your mental health. In a few cases, it is even fatal.
I spoke to Ajit Pratap Singh, an alumnus from IIT and IIM, who said, “Defence mechanism is altered when you accept yourself and embrace your blessings.”
Body shaming doesn’t end with attitudes towards bodies, it also affects personalities. Akash Rajput, a fashion designer from Jhansi, shared his story with me: “I felt intimidated by my father for being myself in my own house because I behaved effeminately.”
Ajit also mentioned, “My introverted personality led things to happen to me and now I think I behave extremely extroverted and those things have suddenly stopped. Now I have six-pack abs, and people don’t pick on my height like they used to.”
In this race of XS vs XXL, size never defines your inner beauty or your mind. You will be found in selfies with friends but not in selfies on dating apps because you know you will be body shamed in particular. You will use filters and you know the reason why. You will act differently because validation is important.
When I interviewed Lucknow-based software engineer Shrey Pratap, pointed out something interesting to me. “A child’s behaviour outside home,” he explained, “depends on the tranquility inside the home and their foster method applied by their parents.”
However much you want to eradicate this social-evil, the paradigm takes a shift on its own. I am leaving you with the question—will it ever stop? Would you ever stop body shaming?