Body Shaming and its impact.

The Need to Speak Out Against Body Shaming
Beauty standards. Unrealistic, impractical and degrading. 
The scale of beauty imposed by society is an inevitable part of our lives. The conventional idea of a thin, slender physique has often been an inescapable evil. Body shaming follows us around through our adolescence to our adulthood. 
“Woah! Don’t you think you should avoid carbs? You look like you should work out.” 
“You are so skinny; don’t your parents give you food to eat?”
“Lose/ Gain a little weight, who will marry you?”
 How many of us can actually say that we haven’t been a victim of body shaming? The unsolicited opinions seem unavoidable as people exhibit an entitlement to their much unrequired comments. No matter which route we take, it seems like an impossible task to win in the eyes of society. Fat shaming and skinny shaming are not only an unfair judgement but also an attack on one’s confidence.
What is body shaming?
  • Body shaming is the practice of disgracing and embarrassing an individual by critically mocking their body size, shape and form. Body shaming can be classified as a method of bullying whether done through casual joking or critical statements. 
  • This can lead to severe impacts on an individual’s mental, physical and emotional health. The impacts are even adverse when faced at a growing age. This scarring experience results in long lasting trauma.
Skinny shaming is just as traumatic and bad as fat shaming – 
While a petite, lean frame is considered the epitome of an alluring physique in society, being skinny is not a privilege. For some this idea may sound alien and maybe even a little ridiculous but skinny shaming is just as real. Some people may even question this concept and fail to understand why a skinny person wants to gain weight. After All they have the perfect physique, right? From being asked to eat more to being constantly ridiculed and degraded, skinny shaming is just as vicious.
An individual’s weight has always been a controversial issue. You can be curvy or size 0 but the society’s beauty standards seem beyond reach. The society equates a person’s body shape with fitness and health even though they are miles apart. 
Impacts of body shaming – 
  1. Body Shaming can cause eating disorder – 
  • The types of eating disorder can be categorized into anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and overeating. Developing eating disorders are some of the most lethal effects of body shaming.
  •  When a person is constantly body shamed, they may start acting out by indulging in one of the mentioned eating disorders. Even though it may start out as an insignificant attempt, it should be checked at its initial stages. Ongoing practice of such methods can lead to consequential eating disorders.
  • Roughly 91% of women are dissatisfied with their body and indulge in dieting. More than 1 out of 3 people who admit to dieting will resort to pathological dieting. Approximately 1 out of 4 of those will develop a partial or complete eating disorder.
  • Anorexia is the refusal to eat an adequate amount of food to even suffice oneself. This doesn’t allow the person to maintain healthy eating habits and lifestyle. The reduced intake of food causes an imbalance in the body’s functioning.
  • Bulimia nervosa is similar to anorexia. In this, the individual constantly binge eats and forcefully expels the food through purging.
  • Overeating is another eating disorder which can cause obesity and various other related health issues.
  • The death ratio in those with eating disorders is approximately 1:3. 
  • 95% of those with eating disorders fall in the age range of 12-25.
  • Only approximately 10% of those undergoing eating disorders seek help from a professional.
  1. Alcohol and drug addiction - 
  • The use of alcohol and drugs are very commonly observed amongst those suffering with eating disorders.
  • Some victims of eating disorders may consume excessive drugs and alcohol to reduce their appetite. 
  • In turn, along with the eating disorder the individual also develops an alcohol and drug addiction. Therefore, while treating the eating disorder it becomes imperative to simultaneously treat the alcohol and drug addiction too.
  1. Reduced self-esteem and body image issues – 
  • Individuals who are constantly criticized for their body shape, size and form can cause insecurities in a person. 
  • When the insecurity is highlighted continuously in a private or public atmosphere, it can cause feelings of:
  1. Embarrassment
  2. Low self-worth
  3. Body image issues
  4. Low self-esteem 
  • The individual constantly perceives oneself as those who criticize them and compares their self-worth to those who they think have a desirable physique. This causes them to doubt their value.
  • Instead of aspiring to achieve a healthy body, they start disliking their body. They then adopt severe methods to achieve the society’s beauty standards.
  1. Body shaming causes depression and anxiety -
  • Body image issues due to body shaming lead to persistent self-criticism. 
  • This causes individuals to compare their body to the “perfect body” as portrayed in society and media. They obsess over achieving the ideal body type. Inability to do so results in depression and anxiety as they spend hours consumed in criticizing themselves. 
  • This also leads to increased suicidal thoughts and even suicide attempts.
  1. Body shaming causes loneliness – 
  • Body shaming in private and public settings cause the person to alienate themselves. 
  • Due to the never-ending critical comments, they develop social anxiety. 
  • This fear of unceasing judgement causes them to estrange themselves from their surroundings. They spend more and more time isolated from other people. 
Why does society feel entitled to define what makes us beautiful and any deviation from the norm is ugly? What gives society the right to pass judgements and berate us on the basis of our body frame? Even after centuries of evolution, we seem to be evolving backwards towards a more orthodox societal structure. We must start encouraging the beauty in one’s uniqueness instead of trying to morph people into our idea of beauty. 
The goal is to lead a healthy and fit lifestyle, not a lifestyle pleasing society.


By shristi | Updated on Tue, September 29, 2020 - 06:59:34 AM

Tags Body shaming