To name and shame is an offence to human dignity and identity and an unforgivable sin worthy of the severest form of retribution.
In my childhood, I was teased and bullied for being fat. Monikers like tubby, roly-poly and plump were so frequently hurled at me, that my gullible nine year old self lost her identity (and eventually, sanity) to these derogatory labels.
During my teenage, I was teased and bullied for being skinny. This meant dealing with the censure and disdain of ‘concerned’ friends and family, who did nothing but accuse me of harbouring disorders like bulimia and anorexia (when, in fact, I was certified healthy by the doctor). So you see, it appears that all my life, I have been a victim of body shaming, having experienced a bitter dose of both its nasty faces.
Body shaming is defined as inappropriate negative statements and attitudes towards another person’s weight or size. Many misunderstand it to mean discrimination against only the overweight. However, today even the skinny aren’t spared with the humiliation and shame. Body shaming occurs when: a) one criticises one’s own appearance, b) one criticises another’s appearance in front of them, or c) one criticises another’s appearance without their knowledge. Whatever be the form that body shaming assumes, the ugly fact of the matter is that a practice like body shaming upholds the idea that one’s appearance is the all-important and sole parameter for judging a person’s personality and character.
The irony of a notion like body shaming is that the one who victimises the overweight/skinny for being physically ‘unhealthy’ is in fact, himself/herself mentally ‘unhealthy’ for perpetuating such a sick and deprecating opinion. But my problem with body shaming doesn’t end with one complaint.
Body shaming is defined as inappropriate negative statements and attitudes towards another person’s weight or size.
Firstly, I hate the idea of sizing up a person (quite literally) for what they look like. Secondly, I fail to understand who gets the authority to decide what looks good, healthy or desirable and what looks bad, unhealthy and ugly. And finally, the ruthlessness with which the media champions body shaming and the shamers (sometimes subtly, but mostly with a laudatory stance) is not just infuriating personally, but also quite chilling, given the media’s mass appeal and influence.
Body shaming reflects society’s hypocritical method of appraising human beings. While at one end, it encourages and rewards distinctiveness of merit, intelligence, skill and ability, at the other end, it censoriously mocks the uniqueness of size and shape. Body shaming is akin to a heinous crime, with dire consequences on one’s mental health and self-image. Body shaming must end.
Watch this space for more in part 2 of our three part installment article on Body Shaming.
Featured Image Credits: www.relatably.com