We are all different.. This extends to physical, emotional and mental frameworks! The sooner we accept this the happier we will be.. I get that we are all in some race, not sure what awaits us at the finish line, but all are racing towards it. Along the journey, sometimes we lose sight of the important elements and start following the crowd, giving in to pressure.
Even though over the years, we have changed a wee bit, listening to our mind, paying attention to what is around us, there are some aspects that haven't changed. One of them is the importance given to appearances. The most dangerous of them all, if you ask me! From an early age, we are taught to conform to the norms, pay attention to those around us and look like them, fit in, else we shall be ridiculed and mocked endlessly.
And this mocking and ridiculing just goes to our head, haunting us for the years to come. Over the years, I have learnt to not let that happen and taken charge of my mind.... But something that happened few days back shook my world, taking me back to my young years and thus was born this post... It hit me.... Body shaming starts younger than you think, I should know!! And of course, it only gets worse as we grow older..
I have written and shared stories from adults who have been body shamed, have issues with how they look, and the things that have deterred them from moving ahead in life. This time it is about children, those under the age of 15/16 who are subjected to body shaming- not just by their classmates/friends but their own family, their mother no less.
Having grown up in small towns, I know how painful it is when other kids and adults mock you for your size. Oh my god, look at how big & tall she is.. Well, that sentence doesn't sound so bad in english, but when you hear it in tamil [regional tongue] all you can do is bite back tears and run home.. Well, there you are welcomed by a parent who continues what you thought you dodged... Goodness me, the uniform has gone tight already...
I have a question to ask the parents-
Aren't you the ones feeding us, telling us what to do till we are like 12/14yrs of age?
Aren't you the ones who get clothes for us and groom us till then ?
So, how is it that suddenly one fine day you look at your child and question how they turned out the way they did..
It's not like the child went away on exile and came back to you after a long gap, right?
Recently, I witnessed a woman body shaming her 10 year old son saying he was fat and that he needed to literally like stop eating. I gasped and shuddered, suddenly all memories that I thought I had beaten came flooding back. But this time, I did not cringe, but I found my voice and told her to not do that. She wasn't helping anyone and more so by doing it out in public, in front of us friends and other kids...
Here too I know for a fact that the mother is also on the bigger side but she has lost oodles of weight by going on xyz diet... She is also someone who loved her pasta, cheese and sandwiches and coffee, but now suddenly they are all frowned upon. Alright, well, that works for her! But then when you continue to get your kids things they love and enjoy, be it mac & cheese, pizza or shakes, you have no right to shun that child... Well, genetics and DNA play a big role in our body shape, metabolism etc... And I have seen kids go from chubby to lean or continue to remain chubby.. Again, there are more than one factor in play and it is not always food driven.
For example, I have never been a big eater, and was never into cheesy deep fried stuff... But genetics and body composition is such that I am big built and have been struggling to lose weight forever. On top of it , I have PCOD, so it is a never ending battle.. Apart from growing up with body issues, I also grew up wearing baggy clothes, a good way to cover up, the only way people will not see the real me. Until recently when things changed, when I discovered I too can carry off a shirt and trouser/jeans, dress and even sleeveless clothes. But it took me a decade or so to get over all the childhood trauma, body shaming and build self confidence...
What am saying is that we grow up with what we see around us, what we hear and if all the time we are told - you are fat, you are ugly, you shouldnt eat this, you shouldnt wear this, you shouldnt go out much cos people will mock you, that is what is ingrained in our brains... It affects us so deep, it will take years of therapy or unlearning to tide over..
Oh and if your child grows up either completely withdrawn /silent or becomes a bully, you are the one to be blamed... You CANNOT blame the child for their behaviour because this is their defence mechanism, the only way they have learnt to deal with life..
[infographic source- https://feminisminindia.com/2017/06/21/infographic-guide-body-positive/ ]
Few interesting articles I read about body shaming kids...