A new study uncovers the unhealthy trends and hidden reality of body shaming in India.
Fortis Healthcare recently conducted a nationwide survey among women to understand their perceptions towards body image and shaming.
The study involved 1,244 women (between the ages of 15 and 65) across 20 cities (including Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Mohali, etc.) asking them questions related to body shaming, their psychological well-being and at times leading to stress.
"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," said Dr Samir Parikh, director, Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, Fortis Healthcare.
"Given the significant role of media influencing our perceptions of body image, be it the portrayals in films, television shows or other social media platforms, it is a common tendency for us to form comparisons which may not be realistic in nature, and as a consequence be unhappy with our body size or shape, or rather even feel dejected that we do not look like that particular model or actor/actress on the screen. In fact, such 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," Dr Parikh added.
Some of the key findings of the survey are:
- 90 per cent women recognised that body shaming is a common behaviour.
- 84 per cent reported that women tend to experience more body shaming as compared to men
- 47.5 per cent had experienced body shaming at their school or work place
- 32.5 per cent stated that their friends often tend to make negative comments about the way they look, be it in terms of their body weight, body shape, skin tone, hair, etc.
- 76 per cent felt that the media portrayals of beauty contribute towards promoting the prevalence of body shaming
- 90 per cent believed that films and television shows often tend to make fun of people who do not conform to the standard norms and expectations
- 89 per cent reported feeling uncomfortable about their own selves when they read comments about other people’s appearances on social media platforms
- 28 per cent find it difficult to stand up for themselves when someone criticises their physical appearance
- 31 per cent said that they sometimes don't feel like facing the world because of what people would say about their physical appearance
- 66 per cent believed that it is important to look good in order to feel confident
- 62 per cent felt anxious and nervous when people have commented on their looks and physical appearance
- 67 per cent also reported feeling angry because of body shaming
- 19 per cent reported feeling embarrassed about the way they look
- 46 per cent admitted having passed negative remarks or comments about people’s appearances without their knowledge
- 95 per cent believed that most people do not tend to realise that they indulge in body shaming
- 97 per cent women believed that the issue of body shaming needs to be addressed in schools
Dear readers, we are asking you.
Have you been fat-shamed in school, college or at your workplace? By your own family members or friends? Or by people you barely knew?
Do you know someone who was fat-shamed?
How did you deal with it?
Did it affect you? What did you do about it?
Have you ever fat-shamed someone and regretted it?
Share your experience with us.