IT gets intense by the day. Females are constantly being shamed and reminded online and in reality that they are too fat, too skinny, too dark, too yellow, too ugly, too tall, too short, too loose, too tight, too hairy and all sorts of negative comments society may care to pass. It’s an everyday thing.
Talking to a number of them, they said when they hear the term “body shaming” a number of things come to their minds. “Bad mouthing my body as if it’s being dragged on the streets naked, negative comments about my body which steal my self-esteem, how guys prefer fat girls to skinny girls and vice versa, flat base (not having the necessary curves), my complexion,” these are some of the thoughts that were raised.
Overall, these have a way of creating an aggressive online environment against women with perpetrators aiming at degrading, humiliating and shaming women. There is crucifixion from every angle where women are being stalked, having their private pictures disseminated on the internet for further ridicule.
Some may take it as jokes at first but as it progresses the derogative comments become extreme and lead to consequences like murder/suicide (sexual violence pyramid) because it all has a way of playing with someone’s psyche.
Is it not emotional and sexual abuse though? Imagine you are having a good day and someone says something nasty about your thick/slim thighs or someone spits about your dark complexion because they measure the standard of “beauty” by being a yellow bone.
It raises concern. If a girl were to be shamed because of her brown complexion, something that is rightfully hers, what is she expected to do? Bleach her skin? But how will that even help because the same society that drew her to bleaching will condemn her for not being true to herself.
Go to Emmerson Mnangagwa Avenue (6th Avenue) today wearing your short skirt and listen to the derogatory comments from the touts. I am talking whistles, catcalls, nasty comments, you name it all.
Then there are those guys who are trying their luck with you when you are just passing by. When you refuse with your number, lo and behold you have opened a can of worms. Uzitshela ngani wena ulamabele awileyo angani ngawedonki (what’s so special about you when you have donkey breasts). What for really? Just because I refused to give you my number, when you were approaching me, were you blind enough that you didn’t see the donkey breasts? Now I have to deal with the humiliation since the body shamer makes it a point that everyone hears it.
Who sets these standards anyway? Everyone was born free and from then granted a right to freely express themselves. But how do they when they have to think twice before wearing their shorts fearing nasty comments from anyone who cares to spit about their exposed bodies.
Alas, many females have cringed and inclined to these norms because it now seems normal. You find some applying body enhancing chemicals to give them the hips, breasts and the buttocks they need in order to “fit in”; some bleach their skins; some use the gym (which is a good thing though for the right reasons), surgery and some even turn to skimpy clothing.
It’s not fair for girls because as they try to “perfect” their bodies, they are further ridiculed by society. Look at social media memes. Women’s rights division of Human Rights watch (HRW) says we must reach a point where we are able to photograph any part of our body doing whatever we want without any expectation.
Running away from these stereotypes, one girl said: “we are beautiful the way we are and mustn’t let anyone tell us otherwise. You wouldn’t be you if you were not what you are,” and I must admit, I have never heard anything so true.