Body Shaming is Bullying, So Stop It!

Thursday, 05 October 2017 - 13:55:13 WIB
By : Inka Prawirasasra | Category: Health & Beauty - 3713 hits
Have you ever been trapped in an awkward situation of body shaming? And the ones doing the body shaming are those you considered your girlfriends?

Some women I know like to joke about my physical appearances. My breasts are too small and so are my eyes. To them my small eyes and fair skin exemplify a particular race. They tease me for lacking the so-called womanly curves or criticize my choice of make-up and dress. I thought bullying was a thing that I had left in high school, but I was wrong.

Sure I can easily shrug it off and not take it personally. But the more stories of body shaming I hear from my girlfriends and how it affects them, the more it bothers me. Body shaming manifests in many ways, but, essentially, it is a form of bullying. It leads to comparison and shame. It’s rude and it’s not funny.

I know I’m not the only person experiencing these uncomfortable situations. I was a victim of verbal bullying in school decades ago. Some seniors, all girls, often shouted at me for my choice of sweater (they said it was too bright and provocative for a junior) or for being bubbly. They ambushed me after school, shouting nasty words. I remember how words hurt, causing me deep shame and pain. But I’ve learned the hard way to never let bullying put me down again, but it took me some time to get there.

We were not born hating our own body or how we look until society teaches us to, one of which is through the media’s reinforcement of the patriarchal view on body image. So why is body shaming so common among women? Don’t all of us want to be appreciated and not torn apart?

Here’s what I’ve learned about body shaming and those who do that:

1.     It’s never about you. The mean things other women say reflect their own judgment and misconception about their own body image. Perhaps putting down other women is the easiest for them to feel better and to compensate their own insecurities. At least now you know which are your real friends and which are not.

2.     If you want to confront them directly, go ahead and speak kindly. But if you don’t, that’s okay. Let it go. Some people don’t deserve your energy and your sanity.

3.     Anger is okay. Feeling humiliated is human. But turn the negative feeling into real action. Buy yourself a nice dress, book a manicure-pedicure session, do yoga or go to the gym, watch a movie, feast at a nice restaurant – anything that makes you feel better. Take a break from the nasty groups, or leave them for life if necessary.

Some may say: “Oh, relax! I’m only joking, don’t take it personally.” Still, you don’t have to listen to their explanation. Body shaming does not merely reflect female misogyny, it’s also about compassion, the lack of  empathy. It is neither tough love nor funny jokes. As body shaming is bullying, it is never okay. It’s not okay to bully fat or skinny people. It’s not okay to bully people with fair skin or those with dark skin. It’s not okay to joke about certain race. Whatever makeup or wardrobe we choose, we don’t deserve to be shamed. We must not tolerate it.

We have an obligation to kindle compassion and kindness in the next generation. We also need to teach them manners, and that freedom of speech does not equal commenting freely about other’s physical appearance. Instead of body shaming others, our daughters and sons must learn to empower each other.

Inka Prawirasasra is a specialist on building TV stations from scratch. She is an ambivert who doesn’t tolerate banality, nonsense and small talk and a selectively social creature, who prefers being alone and read book, than being a sheep that goes with loud herd. 

Got an opinion on this issue? Let’s talk about it in the comments section below.

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Lara | 05 October 2017 | 17:39:40 WIB
Interesting, I am also still considering how much freedom is allowed, is it including words that came out from individual, stare and leering that's being done by someone and how the freedom of using it can be damaging. I realize that their eyes and tongue are their property, and it is up to them to use as they please, i'm also intrigued of how limit is being put in liberalism. Fist may hurt physicall, words may not but how about mental abuse? On the other side, I also oppose banning things as form to control some immature savage individual in society that use their mouth to exert shit mostly
Ruby - Astari | 06 October 2017 | 08:46:48 WIB
Once or twice this girl joked about my body, I let that go. The worst part when she criticised my eating habit in public, in front of other people at the table. My thoughts? She was being a total bitch. The funny thing is, she hates people butting into her personal business and claiming they're so close-minded but look what she did. Sorry I have no patience for people like that! I stopped hanging out with her long after that.
Anna | 15 October 2017 | 20:29:03 WIB
Since I was in junior high school, it's the first time for me to get bullying almost everyday, because I have different race with them, they called me crazy, idiots. Not just that, I have snaggletooth and they bully me because of that too, they called me vampire or Dracula. That's really hurt me, almost my friends in my class called me like that. I cannot do anything, I just cried and I cannot tell my parents. Until now I still cannot forget or forgive them because that affect me until right now, I really scare with new people, I hard to make friends, I'm not confident about my body.
till now I still often to get bully, but try to against it I told the people the dangerous effect about bullied.
I'm sure most of the victim of the bullied never told somebody and just take all alone the effect that can lead the depression. I hope in the future there will be place for the victim to tell their problem.
*sorry for the English, I'm not good in English

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