If you have at some point experienced body shaming, you’d agree the experience deals a huge blow to not only your physical reception of your corp but also your mental health.
The modern age has created a friendlier atmosphere for individuals to share their body-shaming experiences but this has not helped curb the negative effects of this societal ill.
According to bodyshaming.org, body shaming is an ” inappropriate, negative statements and attitudes toward another person’s weight or size.” Perdeby, an online platform also goes ahead to describe body shaming as, ”a form of bullying and, as well as being humiliating, it can lead to short and long-term psychological and health-related issues.”
The site will go on to include that, ”Body shaming occurs in three main ways, criticising yourself, criticising someone else in front of them, and criticising someone else behind their back.”
For an average Nigerian millennial, any form of putting a name tag on personal issues is a taboo. Real psychological realities such as eating disorders, depression and suicide are rubbed off in a typical Nigeria scenery. This means that for every ten psychological cases for a Nigerian millennial in Nigeria, six might potentially be rubbed off as a spiritual influence or mere stubbornness.
In discussing topics like body shaming, an average mind would go straight to the unfairness of body shaming bullies. Forgetting that in one way or another, average observers like ourselves, body shame others.
Despite the need to deny being a body shamer, the Insider exposes twelve ways individuals body shame others. The grace these body-shamers may yet have is that they body shame unknowingly.
From simple expressions like ‘I feel so fat today‘, to the famous, ‘You’re not fat, you’re beautiful‘, this Insider article would prove that body-shaming might yet be more socially inclusive than one would want to believe.
This means that for every time your friend felt low for being overweight and you reassured her with, ‘you’re not fat, you’re beautiful’, you were technically, body-shaming plus-sized individuals. Arguably, one could say that this same scenario is absolutely off the body-shaming chart, but then again, arguably.
For a lot of us, describing our bodies on the feeling-not-so-great with words like ‘fat‘ and ‘pregnant‘ is both body-shaming and insulting to individuals with these realities.
With the introduction of the internet and the daily evolution of social media, individuals have found the courage to expressively express how they feel about their bodies and these stories have helped to re-educate some of us on body positivity and divergence.
However, despite the continuous exposure, it cannot be boldly said, that a good number of the world’s population have come to terms with accepting other body types as being equally beautiful to smaller body types.
Netflix’s new comedy series Insatiable sparked an online fury two months ago. Critiques will be highly concerned with why Patty (played by Debby Ryan) had to become ‘thin‘ to feel powerful and therefore seek revenge on other teens who bullied her when she was ‘fat‘.
A petition signed by more than 200,000 persons would also be passed out to pull the series down from Netflix. Vox would report this saying that, ”there is a Change.org petition that, as of publication, has garnered more than 220,000 signatures to stop Netflix from airing the show, on the grounds that releasing it will be damaging to young girls’ self-esteem and cause or trigger eating disorders.”
And despite the series’ writer and producer, Lauren Gussis defending the show on grounds of it being inspired by actual events in her life and the use of comedy to deal with vulnerabilities, a host of online individuals were not buying into her idea.
Seeing as a reference to a certain body type triggered this sort of online argument, it would be reasonable to question why such arguments never make it to mainstream Nigerian media. In the long run, one may agree that while on a few occasions Nigerian millennials make reference to weight as a delicate matter, there have never been concreate arguments or discussions touching the few percentages of Nigerian individuals struggling with weight problems.
We either laugh off matters associated with weight, focus on joining either the #FitFam #Gym communities and forget every other possible reality.
I remember hurtful comments made to plus-sized classmates I had in Primary and Secondary school. I vividly remember a teacher calling out a certain classmate of mine for sleeping during her class and associating her sleeping with her weight.
Once, two years back, I refused sexual advances from a certain guy and his friend would refer to me as being ‘malnourished‘ in front of others. I remember feeling sad and unhappy even knowing I wasn’t malnourished. I hated my body then and any other time I remembered this exact comment.
As much as I cannot say if his hurtful comment to me can be categorized as ‘body shaming’, I can also reinstate that they hurt me gravely.
For some Nigerian millennials, body-shaming may not immediately spark particular concern to them. There are a lot of other problems to focus on some may say. However, it is very important to always bear in mind that the world is constantly evolving and staying open-minded is a key to living decently in this era.
Note this, body types come in various shapes and sizes. These body types are both unique and beautiful and no one has the right to make you feel horrible about the kind of body you have.
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Image Credits: Body Shaming, Pexels