Hazardous Effects of Body-Shaming
By - Harneet Kour
The other day, I was browsing TV. Suddenly, something piqued my interest. It was a commercial for weight balance pills. I kept the remote to myself and started listening with great interest. Shockingly, what the marketer intended to convey through the ad, left me smouldering with anger.
As per this marketing team, people who do not have this so-called “ ideal body type” or “ the right sizes and numbers” suffer in every aspect of life. They are doomed to be rejected by family, friends, peers and the wider community. They would never get a placement in a reputable company because of their weight regardless of their scores and abilities.
If you are overweight and underweight, you are doomed. Even if you got the job, you could never find a suitable marriage alliance. The freedom to choose what to wear is taken away because of the idea that a fat girl cannot wear a dress well.
You are to become an object and an object of mockery and laughter.
And if you want to save yourself from all these horrific experiences, the only thing that can help you is weight balance pills.
I wanted to sue the company for a marketing strategy that was insensitive and cheap. Have you ever considered what body shaming is all about? It's all about making another person feel humiliated and depressed about their appearance. You may have joked about their appearance or some physical characteristic, but do you know what profound impact you have left on their psyche?
Here are a few hazardous effects of the body-shaming:
Loss of confidence. A person who has been intimidated or humiliated is prone to losing faith. It is understandable that the person feels out of place and finds himself in a shell. The constant pressure of being unable to look "ideal good" hinders confidence. Many adolescents go into a deep depression because they start to question their abilities and existence. They cease to interact with others, cease to participate in co-educational activities and begin to live a lonely life where they hate their being.
Increase in Panic attacks. Because of Body-Shaming, the victim goes through psychological trauma. They have a propensity to develop negative attitudes and perspectives. This excessive negativity in their minds translates into frequent panic crises.
Self-Isolation. A person, in the face of personal humiliation, often goes into isolation. He avoids attending social gatherings and social interactions. He might start developing communication problems, such as fumbling or sweaty palms while talking. Loneliness becomes, at first, an escape and, at last, a refuge.
Developing Unhealthy Eating Habits. If you ask any person suffering from an eating disorder, they recall their constant bullying and body shaming as the trigger for their eating disorder. In our society, there is that particular size and number regarded as "sexy". There is no acceptance of anything lower or higher. Girls in high school are not under as much pressure to get good grades in mathematics or science to maintain their weight and body shape. Young girls don't eat what they love anymore. They starve themselves into weight loss. The result is even more disturbing. What begins with the avoidance of overeating ends with bulimia.
Problems in Intimacy. Here is one impact we talk about the least in our society. A woman hesitates about getting close to a partner. She either avoids or postpones having sex, even if she longs to have it. The whole idea of being sexually satisfied seems a blur idea because she is no longer confident about either her body or what gives her pleasure. You worry about being rejected or humiliated by your partner all the time. The result is immense frustration, self-hatred and marital confrontation.
Suicidal Tendency. According to the medical investigation, bodily shaming can affect anyone. However, adolescents suffering from psychological trauma caused by physical humiliation face a high risk of depression, anxiety and even suicide. They find it unable to cope up with the rejection they constantly face from society because of how they look. Death seems much easier to them than living out their lives as they are. It's not easy to kill yourself. Imagine the pain, agony, disappointment and anguish they face before losing their lives.
Let’s start by educating ourselves and the young generation the importance of respecting each other irrespective of body type. Here, the family has a vital and irreplaceable role.
Parents must spend quality time with their children while observing any negative traits or symptoms removed. Facilitate communication. Make yourself available to your children. Let your child know that you may have disagreements, but you are always appreciative of their thoughts and love them. Do not be judgemental. Help children understand that this is not just about their skin colour, shape and weight. Help them understand the value of healthy living and eating nutritious food.
Life is about more than showing filtered images on social media. It's about loving and appreciating yourself and the people that surround you the way they are. It's about going out and making real friends, eating food you love, dressing up the way you want and if not achieving but at least starting a journey towards your dreams. Follow your passion. Improve your being. Focus on the path.
Love yourself regardless of colour, height or shape!