I will begin by saying, I was very apprehensive talking about this topic “Body Shaming”.
We are a multicultural platform. Often we talk about how various issues are dealt across different cultures. I for one is always on the lookout for things that might be similar across all cultures. One that tops the charts is “body shaming”, so despite my hesitation here I am.
The “culture of body shaming” is one concept that is consistent across all “cultures”.
No disparity, trust me.
If you have a physical drawback in one culture then you have it across all the cultures and you will be duly reminded of it. This begins from the day you are born.
So were you a cute as a baby or not so much? See what i mean?
DO YOUR PARTICIPATE IN BODY SHAMING
It comes in so many forms and is mostly termed harmless, even wrapped as “constructive” criticism.
If any conversation or comment about your physical appearance belittles you, makes you question your worth or as a result of which you gradually lose confidence in yourself then it is “body shaming”.
This is a very difficult and somewhat sensitive subject, all the same talking about “body shaming” is tantamount for a healthy childhood. Surprisingly it affects kids and at very young age too.
A flippant remark about someones physical appearance can change the way kids look at people. The worth of a person gets associated with how they look and a tiny seed of body shaming is sown.
Granted we cannot watch what we say all the time but being a bit more careful before judging someone solely on their physical appearance can go a long way.
How can we deal with body shaming? Here are a few things I feel might help.
PEOPLE ARE MORE THAN A BODY
One morning in 1994 thousands of teenage girls across India waited with bated breath in front of their television screens as Sushmita Sen was crowned “Miss Universe”.
These pageants are supposed to be all about physical beauty but it also signified something dramatic, something more significant.
That moment is etched on so many minds as a declaration to the world “we girls of India have arrived, we can touch the sky”. For many teen eyes it was about what a girl can be and achieve in new day India.
Sadly, overtime it became all about physical beauty and even Sushmita Sen was not above body shaming.
The Miss Universe straightened her crown and proved to the world she is more than a beautiful body. An epitome of inner strenghth. A person who owns her decisions and grows with them.
Every strong person who can forge their own path and gets back up after each fall is a beautiful person. Beauty is as beauty does.
ENDORSE SELF LOVE
It’s so easy to count your physical flaws everyday for recreational purposes. But when your 6 year old tells you they don’t like their face it hits you hard.
It won’t matter how many times you tell them they are perfect as they are. It has to start with you.
Children imitate what they see including body shaming.
To endorse self love in our kids we need to endorse it ourselves. Love that not so perfect nose, flabby tummy, the skin that could have behaved better at ageing. Everything.
We need to learn “If i love my body no one has the right to tell me otherwise”.
Be warned Self love is very difficult. I have had near strangers remind me to be unhappy because of my body and how it looks “ugly”.
Their duty done, all in the name of promoting a healthy life, sprinkled with the holy knowledge that guarantees longevity. Only forgetting to mention “Also be very careful while crossing any roads, use zebra crossings, and you will live to eternity”.
Though only what is does is, add one more miserable person to the bandwagon of self haters with a few million more to go.
Your body has only you to love it, improve it if possible but do not hate it. There are enough people doing it for you.
PROMOTE A BETTER OUTLOOK
My children need to learn that no persons body gives them the right to shame it. Nor does anybody has the right to do the same to them.
I highly commend those people who change their bodies for the better. What if some one is incapable of doing so? Don’t they deserve a happy judgement free existence?
As it is the world has too many broken people, no one needs to add to it.
There are people who were born with severe physical imperfections but have thrived and lived successful lives. It’s a person that rises above the odds not just a body.
“If you see a person struggling give them a hand, don’t pull them down further”. This might just be a statement but it has the potential to change the mindset of an entire generation.
So if you have ever been body shamed for height, weight, complexion, a disability or anything it’s time to put your foot down.
To all those whose sensibilities get offended by all of our “not-perfect” bodies, there is a simple science, please look away.
There are hordes of people whose intellect frustrates me or personality I might not like, but that does not give me the right to shame them.
No ones physical appearance makes them lesser human beings, neither do they deserve to be treated unfairly.
As we step into a new year, we all resolve to be better parents, friends or life partners. I also resolve to be a more tolerant and body confident person.
Have you also encountered body shaming? Do share your views on the subject.