Friday, May 20, 2016

Body Shaming, a Sin

Body Shaming, a term that has become popular when many celebrities started opening up about their own experiences of body shaming. Though the term was coined recently or at least became popular recently, this kind of act has been in there in our society since many ages. Not just our society but everywhere in the world, sad that this is existing even in this day and age.

 Bullying at schools is very common, but how far this bullying goes is something that has to be monitored by teachers and parents. Generally bullying doesnt account for a serious wrong doing but it creates a social stigma in the victim, be it about his/her body or about the society's perception towards him/her. One would start cringing in shame or die in fear unable to combat the bullying. 

When I was in high school, I was very lean and not so like the other girls in my class (I do not want to say I was not beautiful, because that feeling was what made me cringe in shame), I was just not like others. I was what I was and sad that I did not appreciate myself. I was bullied for having a lean body with no attractive stats like them. When each of the other girls would boast of their growing vital stats, I couldnt talk of any. Neither I was rich enough to battle those bullies with flamboyance nor I was bold enough to beat them out in verbal combat. I was pretty good at studies, indeed much better than my bullies, but even that did not save me from what I had gone through.

Ironically, the bullies were also my friends. There were times I would come home and cry in silence, and hated to look myself in the mirror. I never counted my blessings. I kept going through these bad experiences that made me loose many opportunities. There was an audition call once for a skit to be played at interschool competition, I was very enthusiastic and enrolled myself for the audition. I was selected for a role. With lot of excitement, I attended the first rehearsal class too, my instructor was quite impressed with me. But my bullies started bullying me for the role I got. I was given a beggar's role in the skit. I thought I was good at acting but then I was told because I looked lean and ugly, I was given such a role. Ashamed, I decided not to be a part of it. My instructor sent a word with other participants many a times and I lied I was not keeping well and I will not be able to continue. I hid myself whenever I had to face him. My bullies got better roles in the same skit and it also won the best skit award in the competition and the girl who played the beggar's role got best actor award too. She came and thanked me for leaving the role. I felt very sad but did not overcome my fears. 

I was pretty good at singing, but I never dared to sing in the school competitions, I was decently good at speaking but I avoided taking part in the debates. I had great interest in hockey, but my instructor shamed me too calling that I was leaner than the hockey stick and next day I stopped going back to the hockey game. I kept giving reasons of illnesses to avoid being called by the coaches and teachers. All because of my body that was shamed to be ugly. 

At one point I broke down in my mums presence, that is when I knew that what the bullies in my class were doing was absolutely wrong and there was no need to be ashamed of my own body,.that everyone will have their own growth patterns, and school is not where you go to appreciate each other's bodies but learn good things for life, that I should appreciate my best blessings and focus on that instead of trivial things like shape of the body. Thanks to mum for instilling so much confidence in me and standing by me when I almost collapsed. The last year in high school was eventful for me, I did take part in many competitions, skits and stage acts. 

Thanks to her for teaching not to body shame anyone. I remember an incident when my mum gave a hard warning slap when I called a lady fat in a slang. That was not a hard slap on face but for my mind which meant I was very wrong. I never dared to repeat such. Often my mum would associate body shaming as a sin because if we do that to someone we will be returned with the same at some point. I wish my bullies had mothers who were like my mum or may be they had a double face. 
In no time what my mother said came true, in my bullies terms, I grew into a pretty betty while they turned into big and round figures. I did not smile to shame them but I went on to improve my confidence. After that I never felt bad the way I looked and I will not let that happen to my daughter too. 

Just like my mum, if all other mums out there can teach their kids about not body shaming others and feeling good in their own skin, the world would be a much better place.

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