“Thick thighs will never get you a date darling.”
“You can’t reach my height, much less my standards.”
These statements can ruin lives. These statements can leave deep scars, which won’t be healed. Body shaming has existed for decades, but only recently have we recognized what it is, and hence given it a name. It’s tough to understand something or even know that it exists until it has a name.
What Happens And How It Happens?
Pulling someone down because they don’t meet the standards set by society, media or a model is wrong. It is abuse. It can cause a number of psychological disorders.
Calling someone fat can make them self-conscious, stress them out, make them anxious and trigger eating disorders which will ruin their lifestyle and health to a great degree. Overweight teenagers and even adults, when shamed, have suicidal thoughts, isolate themselves, and even fall into depression. One of the worst parts is that they will act as if your comments don’t hurt them or respond with violence which encourages you even further. There is nothing funny about abusing someone. Period.
If someone is teased about a characteristic like height, they let this one supposed ‘imperfection’ define them completely. The only thing that they are is short. These can bring up many negative feelings on the inside.
When a person is shamed, they have negative feelings towards their abusers and soon they believe that everyone thinks of them the same way, which makes them hate everyone and behave towards them in a rude way. Shaming makes people form negative qualities, and the people who do this, wonder why politeness is so rare.
This is one of the worst things and can be triggered by a number of factors. Maybe you were teased a few times and think about yourself that way. Maybe you saw a model, an actress, a celebrity on TV, social media or the newspaper and now how they look is the only right thing. You will lament over it and neglect yourself, all the good about you, think that everyone thinks that you’re wrong the way you think that you’re wrong.
You will not accept if you’re told otherwise. If someone says that you’re not fat, you’ll think that they’re lying even if they are completely genuine.
Why does it happen?
There is no solid reason yet, but there are various theories. One of the common theories is an ego boost for the abuser. Pulling someone down makes them feel good about themselves. And self-shaming might be a projection of other environmental factors like neglect by parents, i.e. these factors manifest as self-shaming in a person.
Again, these are just theories, and there can be numerous causes for the same consequence.
How to stop it?
- Concentrate on what you like about you, but don’t let that define you either, narcissism isn’t a good thing to practice. Try to look at yourself wholly, good and bad qualities, embrace them, then slowly try to reduce the bad qualities.
- Confront your abusers, maybe they’re going through a negative phase and taking it out on you, ask them why they’re doing it and help them see that their reason isn’t justified. Remember, your abuser can be you.
- Be around body positive or even body neutral people, surrounding yourself with people who continually body shame you, or who even body shame others, can have negative consequences on your mental health.
- Don’t abuse others, as much as you can stop others from abusing you, you have to stop abusing others as well. Everyone is an abuser, even if they’re not a victim. Maybe the abuse changes, and it might not be body shaming but physical abuse maybe. Nevertheless, everyone is an abuser.
There is no perfect ideal of a body, no matter what the fashion industry tells you. There is no correct skin tone. There is no correct weight. There is no perfect height. Unless any of those things have adverse effects on your own health, every body type is normal. Let’s normalize all body types.
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