In our modern-day, competitive, media-obsessed, fast-paced culture, body image has become such a central cause for concern that we really ought to consider why it is we are so bothered


Body-shaming is an issue. Or is it?

For such a sensitive topic, it has been talked about to such an extent that it is hard to ignore. We’ve almost created a dispute out of it by debating it time and time again; by doing this, we’ve somehow made people more aware of its presence in society. We’ve made people more conscious of the state of their bodies by defining it. We’ve created a sensitive, overbearing, insecure society by, quite literally, naming and shaming different types of bodies, as if we believe we were born with the right to point at someone else’s body and say: ‘that’s different’.

Of course it’s different! Could you imagine, if every body was the same, how peculiar societal relationships would be? There would be no respective designations of ‘attractive’ or ‘unattractive’, there would be no discussion of health or fitness, or eating habits and there would be no way to differentiate between one person and the next. I think that would be rather backward, don’t you? Try it yourself, and picture this: we all look the same. Everybody has the same button nose, and slim torsos, barely-there legs and huge behinds. Each person has the same slender frame and sucked-in cheeks. Isn’t that what society tells us we should look like? Well I’m here to tell you something: society is wrong.

So, this brings me on to the topic of fat. What is fat? Is it something grotesque? Is it a visible representation of one’s personality? If you have fat on your body, does this mean you are disgusting, worth nothing, incapable of forming relationships, a creature without feelings? Well clearly not. Actually, fat can be a very good thing — you would die without it. Being entirely without fat, you would not be in existence. Women’s Health states that: ‘Vitamins such as A, D, E, and K are called fat-soluble because they need to bind to fat to be absorbed […] If fat isn’t available, the vitamins can’t be absorbed properly’.

So clearly we need some fat (although everything in moderation, right?) So why are we shaming those who take this advice a little too far? The Daily Mail has commented that fat-shaming actually makes you gain weight. On top of this it has also been known to encourage depression in young people. Didn’t expect that did you?

Look what we’ve done! We’ve turned something completely normal into a social stigma.

As Joni Edelman says, being fat is not the worst thing you can be: ‘There are an infinite number of things that are so much worse than fat. For example [being]: racist, sexist, bigoted, mean to people on the Internet, mean to babies, mean to cats, being that person who takes up two parking spaces, etc etc’. She does have a point.

We have become an oversensitive culture, but the main problem is that we are insensitive about it. You might say something rather unkind and inappropriately crass about someone, or something, and suddenly be shocked that people get upset about it; and then you yourself get upset that people are upset. It makes no sense, if you think about it. We have created an issue that was never really an issue until someone made it so. Furthermore, we have become rather accustomed to our new, hypersensitive culture and pander to it by calculating our self-worth according to the smallest size we can squeeze our fat, bulging bodies into, then Instagramming this with the caption #lost3pounds, or #skinnylyfe, all the while thinking how incredibly obese we think we look. Yes, we must all try to stay healthy so we can live long and happy lives, but if your neighbour decides to have a huge chocolate cake for their dinner, who are you to sneer at them? Just Let Them Eat Cake.

The media, of course, doesn’t make things any better. The media is the Pied Piper of our society and the degree of power it holds over the general population is, rather unsurprisingly, paramount to the way we think of ourselves and each other. If the media says ‘it is’, then it must be, surely? Actually, fellow followers, no, it’s not. Don’t believe everything you read; in fact, don’t believe me if you don’t want to. Either way, we have to stop thinking of other people’s shortcomings as our business, because it’s not.

In order for us to stop body-shaming, we have to find the reason we do it in the first place; this is an individual quest that I want you all to go away and think about. For example, perhaps you judge the shape of other people’s bodies because you dislike your own. Or maybe it’s because you have deep-seated issues with your parents — all I know is if we continue to tear each other apart, it will only become a matter of contention and divisive controversy in the global community. Enough is enough!

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