“ You should eat more; you are too skinny!!!!”

“ ohh, you have become so fat!”

“ Doesn’t she look too fat, go on tell her, she will not listen to me.”

“ Eat something or you’ll blow away.”

These are a few among numerous comments that people are subjected to on a daily basis. The target can be anyone because no matter how they look, people will find faults. Talking about someone’s weight has long been normalised. In fact the topic comes up in everyday conversation as often as the weather. Body shaming starts from a young age, with every compliment or criticism connected to the body and it continues on at school, college and workplaces. Marriage, job opportunities and other endeavours all take our body into account. Nowadays everything depends on the body, its shape, weight, height. The societal pressure to be perfect no matter what does fall more on women than men but they don’t escape the shaming either. Men should have certain attributes to be considered masculine or like a “real man”. Women are constantly shown in the media through a male gaze; petite, fair, short, beautiful are all the necessary components to be seen as attractive. Lately there is a shift in the way the issue has been addressed, with the body positivity movement people are being educated. But there is still a long way to go to fully eradicate this malicious problem.

The normalisation of body shaming is mostly due to people believing that they have the right to comment on anyone’s body. This culture affects people on a molecular level and has severe consequences. It causes body image issues, eating disorders, mental health issues and even our physical health. Fat shaming can lead to severe diets and extreme exercises that strips the person of  their small happiness and peace. Thin shaming on the other hand is mostly meant as a compliment or as a joke to point out their “frailty. A very common question skinny people are asked is whether their parents feed them. The so-called joke gets old quickly with its constant presence. 

The educational system plays a huge role in developing the minds of children. Reprimanding a child by pointing out their weight or height is a common punishment seen in modern society. It has so much to do with the educational system, as it’s common that the teachers always have nicknames given to the students for fun and almost all of them will focus on their body.

Marriage is yet another social setting where body shaming is normalised. The first thing anyone looks for as the requirements for a bride are always the stereotypical  structures developed within the patriarchal framework of the society, wherein  the physical features ‘normally’ analyzed are; a slim body, fair skin, shorter than the groom, while men are chosen according to their height, body muscles, even body hair. The amount of disgusting comments thrown at a couple in the wedding hall by practical strangers is incredibly demeaning and disturbing.

The role of the media in propagating this is deeply unsettling. The various promotions of diet culture and tricks for the “ perfect body” are very upsetting. The social media with its various features turns the users into maniacs, always dissatisfied with their own body. Photos are critically examined under  microscopic lenses for any minor defect before they are posted on any social media platform. This toxic culture has grown so big that nobody is safe from the prying eyes of the perpetrators.

There are very serious consequences resulting from body shaming. Long exposure to it can cause body dysmorphia, eating disorders, extreme weight loss, over exercising, and even death. People go as far as to multiple plastic surgeries to get the perfect body. But the degrading comments never stop, people can find fault at everything and anything. One of the reasons for its chokehold on the people is that it’s a cycle, the victim can easily become the culprit to fit in or to take some attention away from them.

For the past few years there have been body positivity movements which focus on accepting people as they are. It helps in building good mental health and stops spreading hate. Eating healthy and exercising for fitness helps physical and mental health, while extreme diets make it worse. Everyone has a different body type and no matter what they do it will remain the same.


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