Body shaming is not just limited to making fun of someone just because they are fat or thin. It has wide scope for shaming someone for their height, body shape, any physical mark, physical features, muscularity or femininity, or any other external elements on the body such as tattoos.
What is Body Shaming?
Body shaming is the mocking of people based on their physical appearance. Fat-shaming might be the most common shaming that you must be knowing, but that’s not the end. Today, people are even mocked for their masculinity or femininity (even lack of it). Some physical features are stereotypically gender-associated. Some features like- broad shoulders, hairy body, facial hair, muscular body, and short hairs are associated with men, while features like- broad hips, prominent breast, long hairs, and smooth hair-free skin are associated with women.
Sometimes these features, if visible in the opposite gender becomes the reason for bullying. A man having a prominent breast or a woman with small breasts are often bullied for their appearance and are put up with questions on masculinity and femininity. A woman with facial hair and a man without a beard (both of them are normal and naturally possible) are also mocked as they are expected to have the opposite.
Movies and TV shows have contributed to a great extent in developing such a mindset of mocking someone or judging oneself by comparing self with others based on physical appearance. You must have seen, a ‘fat’ or a ‘bald’ character is always a subject of a joke and is bullied and called names. These visuals leave a psychological impact on the viewers and make it seem normal to bully someone for their appearance.
Body shaming can take various forms;
- Judging and commenting on someone’s physical appearance on their face.
- Self-judging and comparison of one’s physical appearance with others.
- Mocking on someone’s appearance without their knowledge.
Body shaming has increased with the increase in the use of social media. People tend to put up themselves much different way than they are in real life. People get flattered with other people’s posts and want to have such lives or look the way the other person looks in the posts. Also, the photo filters or filter apps available make them want to look “perfect”, without any flaws. These filters can make you look thinner if you are fat or vice-versa, make your skin look smooth and flawless, make you look tall if you are short, or the other way.
Bullying people traumatizes them and leaves them in self-doubt and immensely low self-esteem. Having acne or marks is all-natural, but the fear of your appearance not getting accepted by people makes it difficult to accept oneself the way you are. Every individual has their natural height, hair type, body shape, skin type, and skin colour. Sometimes few of the physical aspects evolve because of underlying disease or health issues. You never know what someone might be going through.
Your physical appearance doesn’t define you. What makes you stand out is how your behavior and actions. Beauty is very distinctive for everyone. What might not be appealing to you might be liked by someone else. That’s why it’s said, “beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder”. There is no standard appearance to be socially accepted. It’s just made up of people around which has no significance. So, neither bully someone for their appearance nor stay quiet if you see anyone bully someone or you. If you see someone body shaming someone, take a stand. Stay positive and love yourself and everyone the way they are.