Body shaming and the fallacy of an ideal body type

  • September 4, 2018

Recently, while surfing channels on the television, I came across a ‘magic-belt’ advertisement. What was so ‘magical’ about that belt? Well, as per the ad, a girl who was failing at interviews due to a bulky-belly, elicited the confidence to accomplish her dream job by getting a ‘toned stomach’ after wearing the belt for a stipulated period of time. I flipped through the channels and found another commercial where a youngster, considered a social misfit because he was too skinny, apparently got acceptance in his peer group after gaining weight by dumping oodles of a certain powder into his body. Because only the ‘ideal body’ matters and honesty, sense of humour, compassion, and other such traits are secondary. At least that is what the contemporary media is propagating.  And if you do not qualify the socially constructed ideas of beauty, there is a swarm of people to remind you about your ‘imperfections’.

 

What is a perfect body anyway?

We live in a world that is becoming increasingly hedonistic; making a hobby out of criticizing the physical appearances of each other. What is a ‘perfect body’ anyway? How can there be a wrong way to have a body? Even Kate Middleton was body-shamed for not having the ‘curves’ required to drape a sari.

Men worry about the lack of chest hair; women have to worry about getting their unwanted hair removed. Too thin, too fat, too dark or pale, flat- chest, or a huge bosom, wobbly, bony, scrawny; there is no end to this incessant scrutiny.

 

Succumbing to the pressures of beauty standards

However, those who indulge in body shaming do not realize that their unwelcome comments and insensitivity can have a deep psychological impact on others. It can ruin the mental and physical health of people, gradually wrecking their confidence. People can develop serious eating disorders, dwell into anxiety and depression and may even commit suicide, succumbing to the pressures of the fallacy of beauty standards.

The sacred relationship between you and your body

Instead of focusing on the insults, take time to meliorate your body for your own sake. The relationship you have with your body is sacred. And like every relationship, do not give anybody the right to interfere between the two of you. Give yourself a dose of confidence by concentrating on what you are good at; remember, everybody has insecurities, even the ones you consider flawless have body issues. However, it is none of anyone’s business to keep pointing them out.

To quote Dennis E. Adonis: ‘People would say bad things about you because it is the only way their insignificant self can feel better than you.’ Remember, you do not exist to please others.

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