Friday, 26 August 2016

Body Shaming: It’s time to get over it

Considering body shaming to be such a natural phenomenon, which is although unacceptable, has been accepted by our society in its entirety. Body shaming, that is, criticizing yourself or others because of some aspects of physical appearance leading to a vicious cycle of judgment and criticism, needs to stop. We need to give it a rest. As humans, we tend to forget that we all have these wonderful bodies that we should be extremely proud of, no matter the size. After all, the human body is a power house. It allows us to do everything we enjoy whether it is hiking, reading a book in bed or devouring five pieces of chocolate cake. It is the reason we wake up every morning; the reason we are alive.

So, why is it that we look down upon our bodies with such disgrace? Maybe because we want to conform to the ideal size box that the society has set for us. And not only the superlative size image  but also straight teeth, radiant skin, the right clothes, perfect hair; the society has established varied categorizations to make it easier for everyone to review and evaluate others on such ridiculous labels.

With magazines offering us tips on how to lose weight instantly, appear slimmer or how to get that bikini ready body, with various sitcoms using the bodies of overweight characters as a gateway for cheap comedy, I think that no matter how body shaming manifests, it often leads to comparison and shame, perpetuating the idea that people should be judged mainly by their physical appearances. The society will always throw us into a stereotype. People will always try to make us feel awkward and awkwardness with our bodies will remain a constant, unless of course, we change our mindsets and start accepting our bodies the way they are. It is just a matter of the body meeting the mind. There are skinny people that eat a lot of junk food and don’t gain weight, and there are people who eat healthily and still fall into the heavier-set. There are a lot of factors that play into what our bodies look like. The fact is that we are all different. And sometimes, life just happens. Sometimes, you don’t have the time to hit the gym on a regular basis as you work ten hours a day on your new job. Sometimes you fall sick. Sometimes you grab a quick snack when you are juggling between continuous classes in college. We have no idea about what others are going through in their respective lives, and we certainly have no right to disrupt each other’s personal boundaries and proceed to attack based on how we look.

As long as a person is happy and content with the way they look, who are we to comment?
Let’s learn to be comfortable in our own skin. In today’s scenario, where we talk about equality, even men are judged on the basis of their bodies. From jabs on weight, hair loss, and skin color, to being called effeminate, they suffer too. But unfortunately, we live in a patriarchal society, implying that the pressure on women to be “perfect” and look beautiful is huge when compared to that of men. Although, this does not deny the fact that men and women alike undergo body shaming at some level or the other. We need to be healthy, and apart from the contrary belief, it has nothing to do with weight. A healthy lifestyle is not denoted by size and being healthy would mean something different for each and every one of us. Perhaps, healthy is truly an outfit that looks different on everybody. Being healthy and fit should be the goal. One can be fit and toned at so many different sizes. That is what the society needs to realize.

Remember, confidence is beautiful, no matter your size, no matter your weight. So if you can rock that dress which is dumped in your locker, then why not. Don’t care about what others will think. However, if your main goal is to be someone’s body goal, you need to reconsider your attitude.

You’re wonderful, don’t forget that. As long as you are happy and healthy, it doesn’t matter.

Written by Chhavi Minhas
“A free spirit, dreamer and admirer of this puzzle called life”

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