“You can’t hate yourself happy. You can’t criticize yourself thin. You can’t shame yourself worthy. Real change begins with self-love and self-care.” — Jessica Ortner
Body shaming is the act of bullying, discriminating, defaming, humiliating someone based on the shape, size or appearance of their body. We often make/ come across statements like “ She’s so fat “ , “ He’s too skinny “ , “ Eat less “ , “ Don’t you get enough food at home? “ during our school life. These are the seeds of body shaming which gradually leads to serious mental illness of the sufferer. We compare ourselves and others to that “PERFECT” body size. Why does it even matter? Is it above our character and humanity? No, it is not.
The roots of all these come from our movie heroines, models and fashion bloggers who advocate this PERFECT body shape and build an environment where being fat or skinny is thought to be a crime. Advertisements and magazines constantly offer tips to loose weight in 7 days to hide our imperfections. Comedy shows use the overweight characters as the only source of jokes. All these are the building blocks of judgement and criticism.
Body shaming is practiced in many ways-
- Making absurd comments on someone’s body shape.
- Body shape related comments on social media.
- Criticising another’s appearance without their knowledge.
- Giving weight lose/gain tips without other person’s consent.
These practices can gradually lead to mental disorder known as BODY DYSMORPHIC DISORDER (BDD). It is a body image disorder characterised by persistent and intrusive perception of defects in one’s appearance. People with BDD can’t control their negative thoughts and don’t believe others who tell them that they look fine. Their thoughts may cause severe emotional distress and interfere with their daily functioning. They may miss work or school, avoid social situations and isolate themselves, even from family and friends, because they fear others will notice their flaws.
BDD most often develops in adolescents and teens, and research shows that it affects men and women almost equally. In the United States, BDD occurs in about 2.5% in males, and in 2.2 % of females. BDD often begins to occur in adolescents 12-13 years of age.
The causes of BDD include genetic predisposition, neurobiological factors such as malfunctioning of serotonin in the brain, personality traits, and life experiences (e.g. child maltreatment, sexual trauma, peer-abuse).
It is high time when we stop this mental bullying and encourage our fellow mates to accept themselves in the most beautiful way. No one is PERFECT. Everyone has their flaws. Everyone is fighting their own battles. Let’s be pacifiers and support each other at every step.
Be your own kind of beautiful!