Why Does Body Shaming Come So Naturally To Us:
Here are some simple comments which I come across in my daily life, though not all are targeted towards me –
- You seem to have lost weight, you look so great
- You are so thin, eat something…like burger or chicken
- You have such a pretty face for such a body type
- Wow! You are so bold to wear such an outfit
I am pretty much sure, in fact, highly positive, that we all come across such veiled comments regarding ours or someone else’s physical attributes on a day to day basis. For some of us, these comments may seem OK, or harmless. But are they really... HARMLESS?
From kids’ fairy-tale books to Disney princess movies… from cine world to our favorite sitcoms running in our living rooms, we all have been fed with the concept of how beauty is suppose to look like, from a very young age. Hour glass figure, perfect hair, lovely gowns, manicured nails, well mannered, can do anything for her prince charming… or rather "Handsome" Prince Charming (forget about a career or any goals in particular). And when faced with the real world, we subconsciously see the parallels being drawn. As a mid aged woman myself, to the eyes of a compassionate observer (as it can be a point of debate for some), I am KIND to myself now. But this was not the case for me always. I struggled with my body weight due to many reasons: medical issues, due to child birth and at times, even by stress. My weight gain or loss, is mostly not intentional. However, regardless of the situation in hand, I do try to maintain a healthy life. By healthy life, I am talking about eating well and doing some sort of a physical activity: a quick jog, cycling, a walk on the beach or even getting the home clean (jhadoo and pochha) all by myself.
The comments I mentioned earlier and many similar sounding well-meaning acknowledgments are mostly targeted without any knowledge about the receivers’ circumstance: emotional, mental or physical. And most of the times, the receiver doesn’t really know how to shoot down such queries or even express his/her displeasure. Or is this the case of being over-sensitive, at least that’s what I thought when I was young. However, a mature me is swift to pick such comments and categorize them as "Thoughtless".
Note: HIS/HER, body shaming is not gender specific
I am pushed to write this as I see so many articles, magazines, online videos, advertisements constantly pushing the idea or notion: “LOSE WEIGHT and LOOK GOOD”.
However, this statement does not hold any truth, at least to me. Losing weight and looking good are NOT at all correlated. In case I am overweight, yes I do try to lose weight by controlling my diet and adding some physical activity that is acceptable to my body. But looking good has nothing to do with losing weight. Looking good for me is mostly about how my mental health is. I have lost weight due to stress, long working hours, and I looked awful! So thanks…I am all in for the idea of being FIT and Healthy both physically and mentally.
And along with such advertisements, I see desperate queries on how to lose 10 kgs or more in three months… then one month, then 15 days…. then 10 days, and at times a week or even overnight!!! The constant bombardment of before and after pictures, with enticing weight loss reviews are definitely hard to ignore, for some. Miracle diets or foods, trendy work out regimes, and the associated numbers of weight lost and days involved is the new norm for many.
This is alarming!
Definitely a business model for some, but my question is, since when have we become so vulnerable towards such empty and thoughtless Ads. Does this vulnerability have anything to do with the thoughtless set of queries bounced on us, unintentionally (mentioned earlier)? My feeling is YES!
What do you think? Shouldn't we be a bit Kind and Thoughtful towards ourselves and others around us?
I would like to end this blog with a very famous phrase “Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder”. Hence the definition of beauty and ugliness is not definite. Societal standards for beauty are unrealistic and should not force us to adopt aggressive measures to alter ourselves.
Each one of us is unique and that is our beauty.
Our well-meaning comments DO matter. Be KIND.