Body Shaming is Real and It’s Making Life Very Hard For Women
From anger and anxiety to nervousness and lack of confidence - body shaming puts women through all of these emotions
A survey by Fortish Healthcare has revealed staggering numbers regarding body shaming and how more women find themselves at the receiving end of it than men. It was conducted with 1244 women between 15 to 65 years of age.
The survey spanned 20 cities, including Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Mohali. It concluded that 90 percent women recognised body shaming as normative behaviour , while about 84 percent of them accepted that more women face body shaming.
The Source of Body Shaming
The origin of body shaming were several places for women - from their professional space to private, from family members to colleagues, from friends to plain acquaintances, women have heard comments about their weight, shape, hair, skin colour and even the kind of makeup they wear from all quarters.
Some key points provided by the survey:
- Women and girls who faced body shaming at work or in school: 47 percent
- Women who faced negative comments about their overall looks: 32.5 percent
- Women who believe that people don’t realise they’re body shaming others: 95 percent
- Women who believe body shaming needs to be addressed in schools: 97 percent
Mental Health and Body Shaming
Another very important aspect of body shaming is mental health. From feelings of shame and guilt, to self-hate and low self-esteem, body shaming has adverse effects on the mental well-being of the recipient.
Commenting on the same, Dr Samir Parikh, Director, Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, Fortis Healthcare, goes ahead to term it an act of harassment.
Body shaming includes acts of sending provocative insults, and harassing others based on their inability to match up to the expectations related to stereotypical physical appearances, which can be in person, but is also becoming increasing prevalent through the internet.Dr Samir Parikh
Here are some numbers offered by the survey:
- Women who found it important to look good to feel confident: 66 percent
- Women who felt anxious/nervous after comments on their appearance: 62 percent
- Women who felt anger at body shaming: 67 percent
- Women who feel they can’t stand up for themselves when their physical appearance is criticised: 28 percent
- Women who don’t feel like facing the world after such criticism: 31 percent
Media and Body Shaming
The survey emphasises the need for media literacy and its importance in reducing the pressure it puts on people regarding body types. Dr Parikh comments on this and says:
...excessive comparisons based on the media portrayals can also create a sense of social pressure and competition to fulfil perceived demands and expectations of our physical appearance. Such social pressures can often be translated into a form of bullying known as body shaming.
Following numbers are offered by the survey on the topic:
- Women who felt uncomfortable about themselves after reading about other people’s appearances on social media: 89 percent
- Women who believe that media leads to body shaming: 76 percent
- Women who believe media makes fun of people who don’t conform to the beauty standard: 90 percent
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