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Trending: Call for Papers Volume 3 | Issue 2: International Journal of Advanced Legal Research [ISSN: 2582-7340]

Body Shaming

INTRODUCTION

Vanshika enters the classroom; the whole class starts shouting Jumbo! Jumbo! Jumbo! Vanshika felt an embarrassment in walking among her classmates. The scared girl then sits at her place. That making fun of her by the children is not fun for Vanshika. This incident buried her confidence to stand before her own classmates, she starts feeling like, God made her so ugly and fatty that she is not worthy to be loved or be treated properly, she starts doubting and blaming herself for her fat appearance.

I made this story up to let you all know that it is not funny to make fun of someone because of their appearance. The girl Vanshika could be anyone with overweight, skinny, or shorty in appearance for others. This does not mean you have the right to criticize them for their appearance. Your fun of 2 minutes might destroy anyone’s life; mentally as well as physically. Such acts sow the seed of self-doubt, & lack of confidence in the mind of the victim.

This absurd act of making fun or talk about someone’s appearance to make feel him/her inferior is called body shaming. According to Marriam- Webster, Body shaming defined as- “The act or practice of subjecting someone to criticism or mockery for supposed bodily faults or imperfections”[i]
Body shaming is nothing but an illusion that enters into our life by way of criticizing our own appearance or another person’s appearance in front of them or another person’s appearance without their knowledge.

BODY SHAMING IS MORE DANGEROUS THAN YOU THINK

Everyone is unique in his own way and we should remember this always before comparing ourselves with anyone based on our appearance. A study conducted by Fortis Healthcare involved 1244 women from different parts of the country to know their perception about Body-shaming. It finds that 47.5 percent had experienced body shaming at their school or workplace. The person who experiences Body shaming goes through many things like embarrassment, Anxiety, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Low Self-worth. This act of body shaming has multiple harmful effects on the victim-
· Depression People who are discriminated due to their body weight, short height, and dark skin tone are at a greater risk to get depressed and suffer other mental disorders. One study found that those who had experienced weight discrimination were 2.7 times more likely to become depressed.[ii]
· Eating disorder- Fat shaming is linked to an increased risk of eating disorders, such as binge eating.[iii]
· Reduced self-esteem Self-esteem encompasses beliefs about oneself and after experiencing the victim starts alienating his own worth.
· Others- People starts using different cosmetics, tablets and go through plastic surgeries to look up to their expectation and these processes have their own side effects.
These are some harmful effects of Body- shaming on the life of the person who experiences it. This depression, self-doubt, anxiety sometimes leads the victim to finish his/her existence and commit suicide.

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?

Comparing ourselves with others and criticizing ourselves for not looking up to the expectations related to stereotypical physical appearances, which can be in person. This is something, we knowingly or unknowingly do to satisfy our conscience. Who is responsible for this? I think these three things mentioned below plays a great role in bolstering Body-shaming.

1. People – yes, the people are the big reason behind letting down anyone’s modesty. They talk, and they mock about one’s appearance. “Did you see what she’s wearing today? Not flattering.” “At least you don’t look like her!” comments like these do not allow anyone to stand confidently before these same people. If anyone continuously receives negative comments about their body, it will for sure negatively influence their self-esteem and will lead to anxiety or depression.
2. Media and advertisement- Media and advertisement is another big reason to shake someone’s perspective about ourselves. With the media looming large over our households we blindly follow advertisements to improve our appearance. This is the advertisement only who make everyone feel that to have a white skin tone is important, to look attractive they have to buy their products, to get a slimmer body this product will help you. They directly influence you to buy their product and indirectly telling you that you have a dark complexion, it is not good; you are fat; you are not attractive without their product, etc.
3. We ourselves – Yes, we ourselves are responsible for our belief that “I’m ugly.” “I’m not that much attractive as she is.” “I’m not worthy to be loved for my complexion.” This is nothing but our false belief. we need to believe in ourselves. We cannot change the mentality of every person. At the end they are people and they are gonna talk and mock about other people. We have to be confident enough to stand before these people. We have to love ourselves above all to look attractive. We need not to compare ourselves with anyone to look good.

CONCLUSION

‘Beauty is skin deep’ which means inner beauty is more important than the physical look. If you really want to look good then work on your inner beauty, not the outer beauty because at the end what remains is your inner beauty. No-one is perfect, imperfections are part of life. To look slimmer, taller, and good-looking, to hide our imperfections, we start criticizing our own selves in front of others and also accept the criticisms that are thrown at us.[iv] We do not think twice before shooting any comment on anyone’s appearance. how much it hurts the person who’s being criticized? how much it puts them into low self-esteem? These are some questions everyone needs to ask ourselves before firing any comment on others.

People who are weight or skinny and the people who are in the belief that they are not attractive, start looking for ways to lose or gain weight and use chemicals and cosmetics to look attractive. These ways are not at all good for their health and have the possibility of having side effects.
If you want to criticize something than criticize the discrimination based on appearance. because in the true sense appearance is not the basis to separate anyone from others.

“What matters is the permanent beauty of the Soul not the temporary beauty of the face.” 

[i] https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/body-shaming
[ii] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1038/oby.2009.131/abstract
[iii] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/fat-shaming-makes-things-worse#other-harmful-effects
[iv] https://worldofjustice.in/justice/body-shaming-can-it-be-combated-legally-in-india/
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This blog is authored by Mr. Ayush Mogre

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