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“Body Shaming” has been normalized so much that we have started to balance an individual’s talents to a shallow value system based on “looks.”
I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed recently when I came across an adolescent girl’s painting of a street light on the website of a well-known international organization. It struck me instantly. She was only 12 years old, but her brushstrokes were absolutely meticulous. Immediately, I thought that I needed to express my feeling and congratulate her.
As I pressed on the comment section to write down my congratulatory message, I was blown away by the extent of negativity about the way she looked from other Facebook users! There were comments such as she looked like a mother, people not believing that she was only twelve years old and comments that indicated that the painting was edited and posted on the website.
It totally startled me that instead of focusing on such a beautiful work of art and appreciating talent, people had such horrendous things to say about her look or appearance. What was worse was that even ladies participated in this terrible act! I wondered what happened to sisterhood or women standing up for other girls? The saddest part was that they were making these snarky comments without even being aware that they were actually cyber bullying her.
I wondered why did they not realize that they were doing something wrong? Then it came to my mind that because it was so normal or typical! Just think, we frequently body shame our family members or friends on a daily basis whenever we meet them. It is common for us to say to our best friend in the university cafeteria, “Eat properly, no one wants to marry a bag of bones,” or “You better lose a couple of pounds this summer or your hippo ass won’t fit into a swimsuit,” to our favorite cousin.
But is this what should be the essence of a marriage or spending quality time with family- changing ourselves or the way we look so that others or the society accepts us? I had thought a good marriage depended being there for each other, supporting each other through thick and thin and spending quality time with family would entail listening to each other and having patience when things would not go according to plans!
What I am trying to convey is that, “body shaming” has become a part of our every day life. We brush our teeth every day, we go to work every day, we also directly or indirectly body shame those who are surrounding us without a thought about implications.
The unfortunate truth is that now a days, both men and women are doing it because it has become such an acceptable norm. We think that it is normal and an acceptable behavior to comment on another person’s body weight, features, skin tone, hair color and what not. But is such an act really acceptable?
Basic manners teach us to treat everyone equally despite differences in our race, culture and religion so why do we judge physical appearances or looks differently and participate in passing snarky comments when someone’s features do not meet our usual standards or requirements?
It is high time that we stop body shaming for the sake of our future generations because by doing it not only are we going to box their lives but we would also cut their wings which will not allow them to be open, free and develop the ability to accept and love themselves as they are.
We must realize that what we have been doing unintentionally is truly wrong and unacceptable because not only are we hurting others with our action but also demonstrating that we have not become truly civilized yet. The world has plenty of problems already, let us try to accept and embrace each other because celebrating diversity is unity.
Image source: Pexels
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