I asked a friend one day, “Why do guys say mean things about girls?”
I asked this question after he told me a story of how a group of young men was talking about a young girl that walked past them. He laughed and said, “We’re all just trying to catch some fun”.
Then he went on to talk about my teeth. All the while, I acted as if it was alright to sit there and listen to this guy say all kinds of nasty things about my teeth like it was funny. To him, he was having the fun of his life; laughing about a feature of someone’s body, he didn’t create. To him, there was absolutely nothing wrong with it.
However, that was the last time we sat and had a conversation. I refused to see him again after that. It is quite uncivil to speak badly about a person’s body. It doesn’t matter what part of the body it is. It is called body shaming.
What is Body Shaming?
The Oxford dictionary defines body shaming as “the action or practice of humiliating someone by making mocking or critical comments about their body shape or size”.
It sounds pretty fun, right? Mocking someone. Like, “hey, your leg looks like that of a goat!” It cracks you up and you roll over laughing hysterically. But, will you still be laughing when the favour is returned? Probably not.
Still referencing my friend, I recall, quite vividly one nice evening, we were out, taking a walk, then a much older lady said to him, “Fine young man, your beards are fine, but it will look better if you trim and reduce them a bit. You’re too young to keep that much beard”. I laughed a little because it was a piece of harmless advice and I honestly saw nothing wrong with it.
Nevertheless, my friend was furious. If he were light-skinned, he would have turned red. After the lady walked away, he went on and on about how people should mind their business. The lady wasn’t body shaming him but he was still furious. What if she had body-shamed him?
Why Should You Stop Body Shaming?
Body shaming takes a huge toll on the receiver. You might be ‘catching some fun’ like my friend. But you’re causing enormous harm to the other person. Below, are some dangers of body shaming:
Unknown to you, the person you laughed at for being fat, might be battling depression right now. Yes, you’ve had your fun but is it worth it? The person begins to think all sorts of things about himself and if not helped becomes suicidal.
Your ‘5 minutes of fun’ can kill someone’s personality. The person begins to think less of himself. He becomes shy and ashamed of himself. He sits by himself and refuses to take part in normal human activities because he might meet you or the likes of you again.
Your victim might lose interest in eating because you called him fat. He may develop eating disorders that might endanger his health.
He becomes increasingly anxious and worried about his weight. This might hinder any progress he has made so far.
Suicide and Death
Depression, if not checked might lead to suicide. Even if the person does not become suicidal, he may, in order to get rid of the fat, involve in substance abuse.
Which might eventually lead to death. How will you feel, if you ever discover that someone died because of you?
There is nothing fun about mocking a person because of their body structure. Let’s all be more civil and say something nice about people Don’t think you’re perfect because upon examination, I’m pretty sure, I’ll find something laughable about your body.
My friend lost a friend, the day he chose to catch some fun with my teeth. How many more friends will you lose before you stop that shameful act? Stop body shaming today!