Have you ever been bullied or have you ever bullied anybody in school? Although it may have been light hearted jest, the implications are far reaching than ever imagined. Body shaming can affect the victim’s self-image, cause depression and anxiety.
Stigmitisation is also associated with more frequent binge eating, and difficulty in pulling down weight. So the person ends up in a vicious cycle of obesity. Studies at the University of Connecticut Rudd Center have found that body shaming leads to socially undesirable behavior.
The worst part of this tragedy is that children are ingrained into implicit weight discrimination as early as at the age of 3, and that too unknowingly. Parents discussing their weight issue in front of children and other influencers, has led kids to discriminate body types more openly than racial difference. Duke University, US points to the cultural emphasis on slimness as the root cause of this biased conditioning.
Indian women’s cricket team captain Mithali Raj shut a troll body shammer on twitter who pointed out a sweat patch on her picture. Her epic reply, “I m where I m because I sweated it out on d field!” has garnered more than 600 retweets and still counting.
Many female voices are speaking up against body shaming.
While celebrities and social media encourage us to be more accepting of ourselves and others, there is a need to be cautious of our natural tendencies towards implicit weight discrimination.
While we are moved by videos and articles that challenge body shaming, we like them and share them on our Facebook walls, we need to be accepting of the undercurrents that may be shaping our conversation towards the issue.
So the next time, we crack a fatty joke, or stare at somebody, let us remind the child in us to behave better.