By Ouk Suntharoth
Greetings! Welcome back to my blog post! How have you been? I hope you are doing fine.
Before I begin, let me ask you a few questions:
- Do you think that you are beautiful?
- Have you ever been told to change your appearance in order to be considered as “beautiful”?
- Have you ever felt that your self-esteem hits rock-bottom because of your body image?
If these questions often pop up inside your head, don’t worry, you’re not the only one. There are many people out there who are experiencing the same nightmare – body shaming.
Body Shaming is a form of bullying in which the victims are humiliated by others because of their body shape or size. It is a serious issue, especially among youths, because it ruins the self-esteem of the targeted individuals and can lead to other problems such as eating disorder, mental breakdown and suicide, just to name a few.
Despite the fact that there are many campaigns that advocate self-love and body positivity, many people are still suffering from the criticisms made against them on a daily basis whether online or offline. And with the help of today’s technology, the media and social media also play a part in instilling certain beauty standards among its users. For example, magazines, most of the time, choose to have barbie lookalike people on their cover page. Meanwhile on Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, there is no shortage of tips on how to lose weight (in days), and hide their imperfection in order to look like a certain celebrity without knowing anything about them nor their bodies. This implicitly encourages them to change their body image into a certain way to look “pretty”.
In our society, particularly, there are not many people who speak up against body shaming. Some people believe that it is ok to negatively judge someone’s body shape or size, since they think their action is for the sake of those people. However, in reality, it is actually a form of bullying. It is not ok to criticize someone else’s body image because deep down inside it really hurts their pride. This reminds me of a random quote on the internet that says, “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all”.
“You look like a walking stick, go eat something” or “You look like a pig, don’t eat too much” are the phrases that some people wish they could unhear, especially from their loved ones, because their hearts break into pieces realizing there is no one on their side to protect them from the critical voices. So you may wonder how can I know their hearts break into pieces?
Well, as someone who has gone through the same experience, I can clearly understand the pain and the sufferings that many people are facing. When I was young, I was a little chubbier than the other kids, so people usually made fun of my body size. At that time, I foolishly took their comments into consideration and forced myself to lose some weight through unhealthy lifestyles.
However, I was never happy with this achievement because people started to point out that I became too skinny, and I should put back on some weight. At that exact moment, I came to realize that people will always have criticisms and no matter what I do, I will never be good enough in their eyes.
So, do you know what my solution was? Well, it was prioritizing my own happiness, which was something I forgot about amidst trying to blend in with society’s beauty standard. Since then, I have understood real happiness and regardless of the many criticisms made against me, I am no longer bothered by them.
I want people who share the same or similar experience as me to stop trying to blend in; instead, start loving yourself and be comfortable under your own skin. Don’t be swayed by someone else’s opinions because your beauty is not determined by the numbers on the scale nor the opinions of others.
At the end of the day, no one knows or loves your body more than you, yourself. Remember that you are the sole master of your own happiness so don’t try to get the ideal body to match the always-changing beauty standards of society, and only change your body for your own desire and well-being.
For others, I hope my message can somehow make you understand the sorrow that the victims of body shaming are going through. I hope it makes you want to spread love rather than hate, and protect and support those who are fighting the battle against body shaming and searching for their happiness.
Embrace your own beauty and remember that no one is perfect and your imperfection is what makes you PERFECT.
Before I end this blog post, I want to know whether or not you have experienced body shaming and how you overcome this problem? Please let me know in the comment section below. I am looking forward to read all of your stories.
This is it for my blog post this week. It’s quite long but I hope you enjoy reading it.
Have a nice day!
See you again next week.
Views expressed here are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of UNICEF.