Photo by Alexander Krivitskiy: pexels

"You are so skinny. You should eat more" or "Look at yourself fatso. Get a shape" or "You better get a proper skincare for yourself nerd or else no one will like you" etcetera are some of the very common statements many people get to hear from society. Under the banner of 'Beauty comes from within' people continue to pass their judgements and mean comments on others to make them feel the worst of themselves. From celebrities to common people who just want to live their lives on their own terms are being affected by these. Though some of the targeted audience deal with these bravely, a huge portion of those targeted audiences are still waiting in hope that the world will change. Sometimes they become so hard on themselves without even realizing that they end up in a life or death situation. In some cases, they choose death because living a life in a constant fear of being judged every time, everywhere, by everyone is unbearable. Being body shamed not only affects a person physically but also mentally and emotionally. 

A huge part of society uses the term 'perfection' to judge a person on a daily basis. What is the actual meaning of the term 'perfection'? How can one describe a 'perfect person'? Is just being beautiful makes a person perfect? Well, the answer is no. Hiding flaws and pretending to be someone else in front of society won't make a person perfect. Currently, we belong to a society where people believe or depend on the virtual world rather than the real world. People claiming themselves to be beauty influencers are mostly just exposing their bodies to the rest of the world. According to them, in order to be perfect one must either have a good figure or the courage to expose their almost naked bodies through the internet. In a study it has been found that in 2019, a total of 5.11 billion people used mobile phones out of which only 2.9 billion of them had smartphones. But surprisingly by 2022, the number of smartphone users has increased to 6.64 billion and it will continue to increase in the upcoming years. And this number includes children, teenagers and young adults i.e., the age where diversion in concentration and deviation from the right track is a common scenario. Opening the internet and seeing things that can mislead a person is not what the internet was made for in the first place. But the sad reality is that the internet is full of such inappropriate and misinformative stuffs. It can be concluded that a huge portion of the population are being misled on a daily basis. The word 'cyber bullying' is not a new word. Earlier bullying was limited only to educational institutions, neighborhood and in some cases, home. But now it has gained control over the internet. People are being compared to those models who can go to any extent to make themselves appear perfect in front of the viewers. Taking inspiration from a model online and applying it on your real life partner isn't a very smart thing to do. Body shaming a person can be entertaining for some but it can leave a deep and permanent scar on that person's mental health and emotional well-being. Being obese or skinny, tall or short etcetera is not a person's own choice. Rather thousands of reasons lie behind it which includes genetic factors, personality traits, mental health status, environmental issues, any other internal disorder or disease etcetera. This modern day society has become too judgemental to even let its residents breathe freely. No one knows why people are becoming less considerate towards others' situations, that is, they judge others very quickly even before knowing their back stories which later on ends up in increasing the mess in that person's already messed up life. People are being body shamed on various grounds, for example, being too skinny, too healthy, having less or damaged skin, hairs, suffering from any skin disease, being too tall or being dwarf etcetera. Does being body shamed for different conditions hurt differently? Well, no. No matter on what basis a person is being body shamed, it hurts the same. It leaves the same deep scar on the person's self confidence and thought process. Body shaming acts like a fuel to the fire (that is, the already existing insecurities).

In India, it has been found that movies and television shows are a very powerful and popular mode of communication. An approx. of 2000 films are being produced per year among which the maximum portion is contributed by Bollywood only. In movies one can always notice that the actresses appear to be fair skinned, have desirable body proportions, have strong personalities and have the capability of attracting any person toward themselves. But sadly the reality behind it doesn't even appear to be anywhere near. Even some of the advertisements depict that being dark skinned can make your life difficult whereas being fair skinned will help you gain a lot of attention and popularity. The main target of these advertisements is to make people feel more insecure about themselves so that they can come out and purchase their product. Here, someone's insecurities are being used as marketing strategies by someone else. As a result of all the above mentioned facts, half of the population are suffering. They are not only being body shamed in schools, colleges, workplaces, on the streets or any other public place but also inside their own houses by their own family members. Earlier, parents used to compare their kids with other kids on the basis of studies but now kids are being compared on the basis of looks also. A chubby person can be beautiful, a skinny person can be an intellectual, a dark skinned person can be more successful in life, a person with acne can also serve as a glamorous model. They just need the right opportunity to prove themselves. But here is where society creates a blockage. For them all these persons are persons with deformities and they should not be provided with any opportunities. Instead they should be suppressed and cornered so that they don't even have the courage to come out of their houses. Apart from India, USA, United Kingdom, Germany etcetera are some of the countries where body shaming issue is at its peak. 

Body shaming is not only seen amongst adults but in children too. In a study it was found that those children who are being used in films regarding the importance of appearance are taught beforehand that appearance is a major factor in any relationship or interpersonal interaction. In childrens' movies one can easily notice that obese characters are being used to portray the bad, unattractive, evil, and not friendly. And it is also portrayed that these characters have an obsession towards food. It is a universal myth that people get fat because of eating too much food. There are many examples of people who are foodie but are still slim while some others follow a strict diet but are still chubby. Nowadays body shaming is no longer limited to fat, slim, tall etcetera. Instead it has spread its roots towards masculinity or femininity. There are men out there who either prefer clean shaved over having a beard or are having trouble while growing a beard. There are also men who have a broader hip. These men are being shamed by being called as feminine. In cases of women, there are women with body hair issues or have small breasts. They are being shamed by being called as masculine. Raising questions regarding one's masculinity or femininity will not only break a person's self esteem but will also take away their courage to take a stand. In a survey, it has been noted that body shaming issue is the fourth leading cause of suicide among the teenagers. Body shaming itself is a major issue which later on gives birth to other issues like depression, body image disturbances, eating disorders, body dysmorphic disorders, anxiety etcetera in the minds of its targeted audience. 

In a world where change is inevitable, these issues are also going out of hand. Hence an immediate action should be initiated just to bring them down. Is it possible to forcefully change people's minds in order to stop these issues? No, it is practically not possible. People will continue to watch movies, and the same kind of stuff on the internet. Hence, people should rather be taught about choosing their idols wisely. Instead of choosing idols who never remain stable on their own grounds, and can change themselves under the influence of money and public demand, people should choose idols who share a strong opinion and teach people to accept their own selves. Celebrities like Lizzo, Adele, Jennifer Aniston, Vidya Balan, Priyanka Chopra, Leonardo DiCaprio, Grant Gustin, Vin Diesel and many more are beating the system and slamming shut the mouths of the critics and that too keeping a straight face. "Too fat, too skinny, too short, too tall, too anything. There's a sense that we're all 'too' something, and we're all not enough. This is life. Our bodies change. Our minds change. Our hearts change." was said by a well known American actress, Emma Stone. It is a universal truth that the looks a person has today may not remain the same tomorrow. People should be more compassionate and empathetic towards others and should accept them as a part of society. More campaigns should be initiated where the population should be taught about the importance of self love. Afterall, a person's strong opinion, good deeds and legacy will continue to survive in this world even after that person leaves the living world.

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