Body shaming has affected humans all over the world for decades now, and its growing day by day. With social media factoring in towards such toxicity, it’s what our loved ones say, that matters most. While some people face degrading comments and messages from strangers online, some people have faced this issue with their family members and friends.
Most of the time, it’s the female population who have experienced body shaming. But this isn’t that shocking, is it? Although, what is shocking is the fact that most girls are body shamed by other girls!
Women say things like – “I’m not like other girls” and “She doesn’t look beautiful” or “What is she wearing that doesn’t suit her body type.” But what they don’t get is that every girl is amazing, in her own way. Maybe, once in a while, you may point out to one person and say you’re not like them. But there is no point differentiating between us girls, especially as we have bigger issues on hand right now, with the other gender.
Such incidents, where women project sexist behavior and attitude towards other women/girls, is called Internalized misogyny.
Society plays a vital role in this as well. Who do you think, according to the society, is the ‘other girl’? Roshini Jacintha from Bangalore thinks that the other girl , according to society is, the girl who has too many male friends, who don’t dress up according to what they (the society) have in their head, or how they (the society) expect us too, girls who want to do every normal thing a boy would want to do. Basically, the moment you try to act equally, you become the other girl.
While we’re on the subject of society and Roshini, we should also talk about growing out of the society’s mindset of women. Some people, as they grow older and become more mature, eventually grow out of it. But for some people this isn’t the case. Let’s see what Samiksha has to say about this.
Q. When and how did you grow out of society’s mindset of women?
Ans. Honestly, I don’t know If I’m completely out if it because patriarchy is so imbedded in our mindset that every day, I learn something new about hoe we have compromised so it’s easier for men. It was a learning process for me because I was willing, and I am still willing to change. I remember how I had slut shamed a senior in school when I was 13 and now that I think about it, I feel ashamed of my mindset and wish I could change it. But the thing is, it started with small steps, there were always statements like “women shouldn’t wear revealing clothing” or “they should wear a bra”, but WHY? The change started when I started questioning the society, like my parents, grandparents, and they never had a logical answer. That’s how I realised that I need to change in order to let the society change as well.
Body shaming is also one of the toxic traits Samiksha had to grow up with. For those, who are new to the concept, Body shaming is the act of deriding or mocking a person’s physical appearance.
The society’s view of women on how they should be ‘thin and beautiful’ is something we need to change. Fat shaming is not only a problem in our country, but also all around the world. Each body is different, and beautiful in its own way. Fat shaming leads to stress, depression and eventually, in some cases, suicide.
What hurts more is to see that its done more by girls to other girls. Degrading and demeaning other women on a regular basis, passing mean comments, calling them out, and so on, is just a part of what a woman has to suffer through each and every day.
Social media has escalated the situation instead of helping it’s audience. Models, actresses, influencers posting content on how women need to always look perfect and stylish and thin. Although, a lot of development has happened here. After a lot of protests, emails, stories, articles; celebrities have started to post content from their daily lives and their regular looks. But the community brought them down too, by unkind comments, death threats, rape threats, hence bringing down morale.
This is just one example, where a very plain, regular picture was posted, but the community had to bring it down.
The hatred, dirty looks, threats have not only affected girls, but older women too. Some get terminated on the basis of their looks, while other’s don’t get enough acknowledgment just because the company wants to maintain an image. What they don’t get is that your qualities put you apart, not looks or beauty.
But as we confer about the modern era’s role in this, we should also address, the rising problems of the LQBTQ+ community. For instance, when a trans person decides to go through surgery, and become male/female, they are still regarded as nothing. They’re also humans, and if they choose to become girls, we should be proud that we have created such a profile where some people choose to be like us, and that more and more people are contributing towards it. They are part of our team, and we should have each other’s back rather than criticizing them.
It’s a pity that the younger generations will have to grow up in such a toxic environment, where people have started using simple adjectives like fat and thin in a negative voice. It’s our duty to teach them how to embrace their scars. Everyone needs to understand that belittling someone is not good, instead we should appreciate one another and live happily.
What kind of a world do you want to live in? One, where people judge you on the basis of your weight, color, sex, job, caste, religion, gender, and the like OR one, where you are accepted for just being yourself and nothing more or less.
Nandini is an aspiring writer and blogs about books and movies on her insta handle @_book.bytes_