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Breaking Free From Body Shaming

Breaking free from body shaming

March 14, 2022

Body shaming is increasing every day, social media has made it more pronounced, and people are continuously body shamed. The earlier this is nibbed in the bud, the better for the next generation. Breaking free from body shaming is essential; it boosts self-confidence and self-image.

What is body shaming?

Body shaming is an act of mocking or ridiculing an individual because of their body type, body feature or shape. Body shaming is very unhealthy for society. It is our collective responsibility to stop this act in our community.

Body shaming is a male and female issue. It is not restricted to a particular gender, even though women are more vulnerable because of societal norms and cultures. Many women speak against this act, but men tend to be quieter, and they tolerate these abuses silently.

Things men get body shamed for

Breaking free from Body Shaming
Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Body shaming is damaging. Image Credit: Freeda

  • Receding hairline
  • Big belly
  • Six pack
  • Height
  • Fat or thin
  • Profuse sweating
  • Hairy
  • Size of private part
  • Voice 

Things women get body shamed for

  • Fat or thin
  • Hair
  • Height
  • Size of breast/bum
  • Complexion
  • Leg
  • Disability

Effects of Body Shaming

  • Anxiety
  • Eating disorders
  • Depression
  • Low Self Esteem
  • Body Dysmorphia

Anxiety

People tend to feel fear when they don’t feel loved or accepted. We all want to feel loved and appreciated the way we are. When this need is compromised, fear and anxiety set in. the fear of being mocked or marginalised in society causes stress. A plus-size woman may feel overwhelming fear to audition for a modelling job or be in the spotlight. 

Eating disorders

 Eating disorder is gradually becoming a challenge, and body shaming is one of the root causes. People who are body shamed and labelled fat tend to avoid eating in a bid to lose weight. While this may seem logical, it isn’t true! Not eating regularly may not translate to weight loss. What you eat when you eat is more important.

People who are slim also try to eat indiscriminately, which is harmful. Eating disorder is a negative effect of body shaming. Many people are struggling with eating disorders because of negative comments made by others. 

Depression

Depression is a silent killer. It is the primary cause of suicide in society. Many young people are suffering from depression, and it is rapidly increasing. Young men and women have been configured to accept the ideal body shape portrayed by the media. Those who aren’t looking that way become depressed and dejected. 

In this part of the world where I live, many people indulge in taking concoctions to maintain a good body image. Some people have fallen critically ill from drinking this concoction, and some have lost their lives. 

Hoping to overcome depression? This article is all you need

Low self esteem / Negative Body Image

Negative body image is the most common effect of body shaming. Some men body shame their wives or fiancée, keeping them under their control. The woman begins to feel totally helpless and losses her self esteem (men are also victims). 

Some parents are also culpable. Instead of helping their child build a good body image, they mock their bodies. Negative body image affects mental capacity.   

Body Dysmorphia

Body dysmorphia is a condition where someone is overly excessively concerned about flaws in their appearance. It is a mental condition. People with body dysmorphia may spend hours and days fixing the perceived flaws. Some go on to have multiple cosmetic surgeries to correct these perceived flaws. Some people eventually get addicted to surgeries.

Causes of Body Shaming

  • Media
  • Inability to appreciate diversity

Media 

While growing up, advertisements aired were full of hour glassed shaped women with light complexion gracing the screen. It was almost impossible to see other body types on screen. Men were also muscular with six-packs. This was the ideal body portrayed by the media. 

Social media has made it more pronounced these days, and people are continuously body-shamed by social media bullies. Some people have found it difficult to post their pictures because of fears of negative comments about their bodies. Social media is steadily increasing the trend of body shaming. 

Inability to appreciate diversity

Have you ever wondered what the world would be like if we all looked the same? If everyone had the same complexion, height, body shape or nose. The world would definitely be boring. When we fail to appreciate diversity, we tend to condemn other people. 

Diversity is the spice of life. We may not always have the same preferences. It doesn’t mean we have the right to ridicule or undermine another person.

Breaking free from body Shaming

Everyone is beautiful. We must learn to accept this truth. Breaking from body shaming takes a lot of courage. I have highlighted three things I did that helped me build a good body image.

Self Assessment

I believe a battle won in mind is a walkover. Do a proper self-examination to understand if your look is your fault. Are you gaining/losing weight because of your negative choices? Do I have control over how I look? Are my body features something I can control? Ask yourself honest questions and use the answers as a shield.

I have learnt over time to honestly access situations and comments from people. This helps me to build a wall of defence around me. Being healthy should be your first goal, irrespective of your body features. This includes knowing your BMI and making healthy lifestyle choices.

Body Shaming: Body Mass index
Index mass body. Rating chart of body fat based on height and weight in kilograms. More details about BMI here. Image credit: cdc.gov

Even when you try all this, it doesn’t mean you can change your nose, lips, or bum. Although this is possible with plastic surgery. Watching Botched has made me remove such tendencies from my mind.

Have a positive self-image

When you answer these questions in your mind, decide to be happy irrespective of the truth. People tend to oppress when they see that you’re vulnerable. Some people also try to transfer their own insecurities to others. Positivity is a weapon for rejecting every negative energy. Appreciate your body. The decision to love your body is first yours, don’t let anyone make that decision for you. You are beautifully and wonderfully made. 

Work on your self-esteem

Stay Positive

Make necessary Changes

Who are the people making these comments? Negative comments hurt more when it comes from close people. If these comments come from close relations or friends, discuss with them, or distance yourself from such relationships. 

Toxic relationships are unhealthy. It is more damaging if it affects your body image and mental health. Detach yourself from every toxic relationship/friendship because your self-image is worth fighting for.

My Body Shaming Experience

While growing up, I was very slim. You could almost trace my bones on my flesh. Many people commented that the stature was ok because I looked like the media’s ideal definition. Slim, tall with straight legs and an hourglass shape. Fast forward to when I gave birth to my first daughter, and I gained a lot of weight. I moved from sixty kilograms to about seventy kilograms. This was when the body-shaming started. 

People started making negative comments about my weight gain. Words like: Is your husband not complaining? You will soon become grandma? Your old stature is better, and so on. Some went as far as commenting negatively on my body features. The most annoying was when someone said, “is your husband not complaining” I never allowed them to get into my head. I was grateful and happy for the weight gain. 

 My BMI was in the healthy weight terrain, and I was happy. I loved gaining weight; I rarely feel weak or dizzy. I was active and agile. I was literarily on the moon. I gave some people replies that made them stop the negative comments. I kept living my life without allowing their negativity. Funny enough, I have lost weight unintentionally, and people are complaining that I’ve become too slim.

Bible Verses to help you Break free from Body Shame

God has created us differently. We are all a masterpiece and he loves us equally. These bible passages emphasize the fact that you are unique and beautiful just the way you are.

Psalms 139: 13 – 15

For You formed my innermost parts; You knit me [together] in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks and praise to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was being formed in secret, And intricately and skillfully formed [as if embroidered with many colors] in the depths of the earth

1 Samuel 16:7


But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks [b]at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Ephesians 2:10

 For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].

I am sure you have got what it takes to break free from body shaming. Go live life without bias.

Are you struggling to discover your true self? I have a ten days self discovery plan for you here

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