By Bhumika Bhartiya
]We are separated from each other by our innumerable differences. But we are connected to each other by what we feel. Knowing that someone else is going through and feeling the same things as we are, brings us some respite from the torture that our minds project upon us. This post will speak about one such outrageous act that every person- rich or poor, fair-skinned or dark- has gone through and that is body shaming.
Skinny, chubby, tall, short, we’ve all been at the receiving end of body shaming. We’ve had to bear the ignominy and the inequality inflicted upon us. If we have a chubby body, we’re told we can’t wear short or revealing clothes because apparently, “we’re not beautiful enough to expose ourselves”.
If we’re too skinny we need to get some more muscle on ourselves because “who will want to be with you when you look like you’re ailing?” As Taylor Swift spoke up aptly, there’s always some standard of beauty that you’re not meeting.
Every model that we see has got the “perfect” figure!
We are told over and over to eat right, to keep fit. All the Barbie dolls have got the “perfect” and idyllic figure. Body shaming happens all around us and we overlook it and deem it unnecessary to voice our disagreement. We are taught by, since our diaper days, all these irreverent things that beauty is the face and in the body. And as we grow up, we realize just how hypocritical society is.
On the one hand, they preach that beauty lies on the inside, and on the other, they tell you that you always have to look “good”. Their “good”, as we learn in our adulthood, is just a euphemism for having the idyllic body.
The problem doesn’t end there. Body shaming affects the transgender and the intersex community worse than females and males. Transgender and intersex people have to learn to live with body shaming. Is that not concerning enough? No one deserves to learn to live with pain. If there’s a form of structural inequality in society. In this case, body shaming, then it has to be reform.
Schools are yet another source that supports the practice of body shaming!
I have a friend who is one of those people who have had their school teacher’s body shame them. He is a transgender and gay man, proudly not-closeted now. We are in the middle of a class when he unbuttoned the top of his shirt to cope better with the heat.
The teacher gave him a dirty look and proceeded to say, “this is not a strip joint. Button up your shirt, your breasts are spilling out”. If this is how all teachers are with their students. I can very well see why the generation is resorting to practices like bullying and body shaming. “Our teacher did it, so can we.” The practice of body shaming is often “justified” by body-shamers by reference to history.
Body shaming has led people to go to great heights to prove that they are beautiful enough, they are pretty enough. We let the harsh words of society take a toll on us. No matter what we are told, no matter what the society believes, you are beautiful. Your scars, your body hair, your protruding Adam’s apple. Your chubby or your flat tummy, your tall or short stature, they’re all beautiful. You are beautiful and rare. Do not let yourself believe otherwise.
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