Updated: May 14
Did you ever think about how you look? How you dress? How everyone perceives you? We read different articles about ways to change ourselves, our body, our hair and so much of ourselves to please others without any concern for ourselves. Body shaming has become so normal in our world that from the moment we are born to the day we die, we are judged for every single part of us. This affects teenagers and young adults the most as they are in the phase of their lives that they need the most support and help and yet are torn down by our community and even their own family. A girl’s character is entirely based upon her dressing sense and a young boy has to dress in a certain manner to prove he is a man. Such social stigma not only leaves self doubt in them but also a feeling of inadequacy that later controls their life. TV shows so frequently use overweight characters’ bodies as the basis of many of the show’s jokes. Messages from the media and from each other often imply that we should want to change, that we should care about looking slimmer, smaller, and tanner. And if we don’t, we worry that we are at risk of being the target of someone else’s body-shaming comments. All these examples create a negative mindset and cause depleting mental health that affects them in an unhealthy manner. It not only affects them but those around them too. If body shaming is too frequent or has more impact due to any reasons, it may also lead to anxiety, depression, and social isolation. People with anxiety tend to over think everything, and when it comes to remarks about their bodies, it is no different. Constant negative remarks may make people anxious to the extent that they suffer from panic attacks and depression phases. It makes a person extremely self conscious that they cannot do basic tasks without the fear of judgment. Body shaming has been reported to lead to eating disorders like anorexia where a person starves themselves obsessively to lose weight if they are too fat, according to the conventional standard, or bulimia, the opposite, where a person eats obsessively to gain weight if they are too skinny. Staying fit and healthy is one thing, but trying to fit into standards of other people that are defined by unreal parameters can lead to an even unhealthier life and body - physically, mentally, and socially. Mental health needs to be the primary concern for us as the body needs a healthy mind to function properly. The awareness regarding the negative effects of body shaming is increasing and we can observe a move towards body positivity. Body positivity is the acceptance, appreciation and even celebration of all body types. It is the belief that all individuals should have a positive body image and should accept and be comfortable with their own body and that of others as well as be accepting any changes that may occur due to age, time, and nature.