By Bernice Harrison Yayra
Body shaming is the act or practice of negatively judging someone based on their physical appearance.
Typically, people are body shamed when they appear overweight or underweight or don’t fit society’s view of “thin and beautiful”. Many people in society, even strangers feel they have the right to tell people they don’t look good only because they don’t appear to be skinny like other people.
The issue of body-shaming is seen to be one that affects all society, regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, disability, body size and shape. Some groups were seen to be ‘more vulnerable’ to body image concerns, including children and adolescents.
Having body-image issues and being verbally attacked for the way you look can be incredibly damaging to mental health. People do not know the effect this tends to have on the victims.
Social media has also become a major tool used by people to come at their victims. They comment about their bodies under their photos using very mean words. These victims have lost their confidence and do not feel they have the right to come out and post pictures showing even just a little bit of skin. Celebrities, as well as other public figures, are constantly in the news defending themselves against ‘trolls’ who comment negatively on their social posts.
What body-shamers do not understand is that this practice stems from a problem with their outlook and perspective, which could also be the reason for a mental disorder for themselves, not just for people who are being shamed. A body shamer may end up criticising his/her own appearance and have trouble accepting their own body for what it is. This may lead to a low self-esteem and self-confidence and they may have to pay the price for this by professional or personal failures.
Body shaming can also lead to eating disorders (anorexia)where victims starve themselves in order to look skinny or accepted by society. Anorexia can also lead to irregular menstrual cycles in women.
Even though some people believe that fat shaming can help motivate overweight people to work on their body, the disadvantages of this act outweigh the advantages. People must learn how to talk to people so that it doesn’t affect their mental health, confidence or even their eating habits.
“Is fat really the worst thing a human being can be? Is fat worse than vindictive, jealous, shallow, vain, boring, evil or cruel? Not to me” – J. K Rowling.