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Body shaming and identity

Body shaming and identity
So much importance is given to our physical appearances but rarely do we realize what it means to be bullied, to receive negative remarks over weight and height. It is always convenient to pass a quick comment judging a person on the basis of their appearance rather than waiting for the latter’s reaction. These days, there is so much noise around the ‘right’ body type. The desire to acquire validation and happiness stems from commercial advertisements that put too much emphasis on your body. Culturally, from early on, we are so used to societal standards that we forget we are much more than just our physical form. Even today, we think thinner bodies are preferred over larger bodies. Interestingly, back in the 1800s, paintings and portraits of ‘plump’ people were revered. For many years, people perceived larger bodies as having access to food and money while condemning thin ones for being poor. Amy Erdman in her book titled ‘Fat Shame: Stigma and the Fat Body in American Culture’ traces the transition of heavy bodies to the right body type. By the 19th century in England, everything was perceived the same way. Author Sabrina Strings states in her book titled ‘Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia’ that fatphobia was drawn from colonialism and race.

The body size parameters aren't supposed to be calculated, they are supposed to be compassionate. Believing that standard body types will make us feel good and look good has filled our mindsets. So, by comparing our bodies with that of siblings, cousins and friends, we are not just discouraging bodies but disconnecting from humanity just to fit in the norm.

Practicing to look the standard size has always had a negative impact on the body as it has often led to mental health issues, including depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. Body is always visible so what you think and feel exactly shows out. It is therefore important as a socially-inclined being to understand that whatever body it is, most important is your heart and head as they truly represent you. As kids, when they laugh and hide their mouths under shitty jokes, which they aren’t aware of, it’s not at all surprising because they too learnt from what they saw and heard. When you say things like ‘hey, you’re too small to play basketball! or ‘hey, my breath can blow you!’, many do not understand what it gives people. Just a quick pleasure of being superior? No one can ever be completely at ease with how they look because someone may always be better, smarter and two steps ahead of you. This doesn’t mean you should look for things that can change your body. You got to remember that you chose this body because it was meant for you. Remember, there is always a reason to be that way. And it’s completely fine. Many do not understand that the body is not an object to fixate. It's supposed to be unique. You and I, why we look so different is also the reason why this world looks so beautiful! That we do not need to look for our bodies but we want our bodies to look for what we are in the creation. The constant emphasis on bodily appearance means we will keep pretending, which will swap us from our original identity. This isn’t real and this isn’t who we are supposed to be. People associate with our identities more than our physical form. Our bodies just help people to visualize. Do you think all that is left of our identity is our body, even then? The author is a third year student of English Literature and Journalism. She is interested in reading and writing about society, gender and identity