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Body shaming: Fat or thin, why is it a problem how I look?

By Bella Boson | April 20th 2021

“You are too skinny Bella!”

“You look like a toothpick!”

“You need to gain weight and a lot of fat, you are so bony!’’

I grew up listening to such comments from friends, family and even people I did not know. Everyone always had something to say about my body, and more often than not, some comments were never nice ones.

I never really knew how to respond to them. So, as they shared and laughed at jokes about how skinny I was, I laughed along, faked a smile here and there as my esteem sank deeper than the sea level.

At that point in time, I did not quite realise what those comments from so-called friends and family did to me. I don’t think they did either. Years later, the effects did start manifesting. That is exactly what body shaming does to people.

What is body shaming?

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Body shaming is the action or practice of humiliating or humiliation of people by poking fun at their appearance, body shape or size. It is humiliating and has painful long-term consequences. For me, the effects of constantly being mocked manifested many years later.

I was obsessed with gaining weight which led to some very unhealthy eating habits. My constant concern was what to do so I could gain weight. Society was not making it any easier for me.

One day, I heard someone on TV say that a real African woman is curvy. Things got so bad from there, depression and trying to be someone else kicked in. All this stemming from constantly being told “You need to gain weight to look beautiful’’. The worst thing about it was me trying to change so as to please society (which is quite impossible to do. We live in one hell of a society).

Finally accepting my body

After years of mental torture, I finally came to terms with the fact that my metabolism was a female dog and no matter how hard I tried, I would never add weight. My mother claims that could change when I give birth or something. So the best thing to do, is relax, love me and accept the things that cannot be changed.

Society has built this notion of an ideal African woman. Curvy but in the right paces is the paradigm of the perfect woman. Why can’t all body types, shapes and sizes be accommodated in the so-called ‘perfect body’? On the other hand, why does one have to feel ashamed of their body? Why does one have to feel the urge to change so as to conform and fit into the standard of society?

When all is said and done, it all trickles down to an individual. To you who is being body-shamed, remember we are our own worst critic. To hell with society and their standards. Be you, love you, and if ever you decide you want to change something about you let it be because you want to and not because society does.

To you who is body-shaming, make sure you are perfect before you come to me with your standards. If you don’t have something nice to say, just shut up! All in all let us remember that when there is no enemy inside, the enemy outside will do you no harm.

Bella is a 22-year-old studying Mass Communication at Kabarak University. I have a passion for writing and all things lifestyle and glam. 

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