Body shaming basically means the act of people talking negatively about or making comments on how someone looks. It can take on the form of fat shaming and skinny shaming. Sometimes people even comment negatively about stretch marks and skin complexion. Belly shaming is not very obvious but rather common as well.
Body shaming can have insidious effects on one’s thinking and body perception. The comments can make a person uncomfortable. The general impression created is that ‘bigger’ is bad. Bigger becomes synonymous with ‘out of control’ and ‘unhealthy’.
In this interview, the speaker talks about her experience with her grandmother. “She insisted that I not wear a particular type of t-shirt, which is ‘modern’ clothing.” She was asked to cover her breasts better, all the time. “People force girls to wear a dupatta. Our body looks the way it does due to genetic factors that run in our families. How can we help that!”
“Even my grandfather used to comment on my body. He used to tell me to stop eating or that I will begin to look like a football.” Body shaming takes on the form of nicknames which friends and co-workers start using as a norm. These become hard to shake off.
Men are certainly not immune to bodily stereotypes. Many believe that men should be 6ft. tall and buff. A bigger man or a non-muscular man is often body shamed. Harmless-seeming questions like “Doesn’t your mother feed you?” is part of body shaming as well.
Being thin doesn’t save a person from body shaming either, as ‘too thin’ is also considered unattractive. Women often face comments on their hair and skin as well. The speaker in this interview recalls a tuition mate who was skinny and who was regularly body shamed because of it. “People would constantly tell him that he could fit into a window.” She feels that the ‘size-zero’ trend among models and other famous personalities doesn’t help, as it is often imitated by people following them on social media channels.
“I am quite happy with my body though I do feel that I could make some improvements to it. People’s perspective doesn’t really matter. Sometimes
people see others’ success as their own failure. Nobody has the right to speak about your appearance or shame you for it.”