“She’s so fat, it’s disgusting”, “She’d be pretty if she was skinnier!”, “Keep eating like that and you’re going to be a butterball,”. “Oh. Honey! You have such a pretty face, if only you were thin!” “You are too skinny for a girl!”
Have you ever heard, or said the above to yourself, then you have practiced what is known as body shaming, and you’re not alone. We have all been there, whether it’s us doing the body shaming or being body shamed or being the spectator of some else being body shamed.
People body shame for having curves or having none. No matter how many empowerment conferences, TED talks, and blog posts are out there, men and women keep tearing one another down over physical appearance.
If someone is overweight, there may be numerous factors, meaning it’s not always due to poor discipline or willpower. The human body has a tremendous capacity for variation, which is why everyone looks different! There are people who are happy with the way they look and there who desire changes in body image, the point is whatever it may be, only opinion that matters is their own.
It’s not like our society is typically bad and criticize people based on everything. You must have heard people standing up for each other when someone is criticized for their skin colour, sex or height.
Then why not stand up for criticism against weight?
Criticizing someone for weight is ironically considered acceptable.
Can you see the logic in this? It’s for the fact that someone’s skin colour or height isn’t something reversible but they can always reduce weight through diet and exercise.
So we assume if someone is overweight or underweight our criticism is not inhuman. Is it really?
Well I believe, It is as in-human as the others!
Research say some people are more prone to gaining weight, there are genetics involved. I am not saying every obese person can use this as an excuse, what I am trying to Imply is it could be one of those factors. Sometimes hormones plays the role and even certain people are more inclined toward eating high calorific food due to certain factors in brain, research is still ongoing.
But, such people can always eat healthy or do regular exercise, right?
Well, again that is not always easy. According to research by Cambridge University, where they examined 100 popular food items under Government criteria as healthy or not and the findings showed that healthy food costs three times as much as unhealthy food!
It’s not just the price it is the availability as well that affects. Junk food outlets like McDonald’s, Pizza hut, Dominos, KFC etc. are invariably available but how many salad or green veggies outlet do we have in our city?
Think it from the perspective of someone working 12-14 hours a day, getting just ten minutes lunch break. Would you go around looking for healthier expensive options or grab a bite of something that’s across the street and cheap?
Fine, now you would say even if we agree so far, ‘you have fair chance of being obese’, ‘not getting healthier options to eat’ but what about exercise? That is something all can do, right?
It is a good point but not always applicable as exercise requires time! Someone might be commuting 3-4 hours a day after a 10-12 hours job; someone might be raising children or nursing a new-born; caring for sick parents or spouse; someone with physical limitation; lack of safe places to walk or exercise. The reasons can be anything from challenging work life situation to psychological stress. Stress is also linked with binge eating.
What we need to understand and communicate is being ‘overweight’ is nothing to be ashamed of and likewise nothing to be mocked at. The reason to lose or gain weight should only come from your inner self, if that makes you happy and at your own pace. There can be times when you are too busy running to make both ends meet and you overlook your health and diet. But these are the times; you need to feel even more confident.
Find things you LIKE about your body. Maybe, despite your body image struggles, you love a new hairstyle you discovered.
Find something physical or nonphysical that makes you YOU and celebrate it every day!