A store in China recently came under fire for labeling large size women’s clothing as rotten. In a photo posted by a netizen the sizing chart of the store had extra labels in front of different sizes. Large (L) was labelled ‘rotten’, Extra Large (XL) was ‘extra rotten’ and Extra-Extra Large (XXL) was ‘rotten to the core’. While Small (S) and Medium (M) were labelled as ‘skinny’ and ‘beautiful’ respectively.
The institutionalisation of body shaming has created this culture, globally, that the only women that deserve to be seen and accepted are women who fit the stringent mould of what society has declared to be conventionally attractive.
This disgusting categorisation system was denounced by people as a vulgar marketing tactic and the company was forced to offer an apology. But this incident of body shaming is just one of many that women around the world have to contend with. It shows that the policing of women’s bodies has been institutionalised across countries.
Just recently, Pakistani actress, Hareem Farooq gave an interview in which she detailed how much she struggled with being body shamed on a national level after she became a mainstream TV and movie actress. She stated that one of her biggest challenges to date was the fact that she decided to join the industry while she weighed a 103 KGs. Which is a far cry from the ‘size zero’ that has become the only socially acceptable standard for actresses. And, that is ridiculous. Why should an actress’ weight matter when her primary job is just to act well. Think of how many talented, aspiring actresses never got a chance to prove themselves because they were judged on their looks and not their competence. This again proves that body shaming has been institutionalised everywhere irrespective of culture or geography.
Everyone, irrespective of their gender, grows up being taught to police women’s bodies.
The institutionalisation of body shaming has created this culture, globally, that the only women that deserve to be seen and accepted are women who fit the stringent mould of what society has declared to be conventionally attractive. This is why there are so few plus size actresses.
Body shaming doesn’t only affect actresses, that is only an iterative example to highlight how entrenched body shaming is in society. Everyone, irrespective of their gender, grows up being taught to police women’s bodies. Men are taught to shame women in order to make them fit the standard of what they’ve been taught to find attractive. And, women learn to shame each other for not possessing what society has deemed the ideal body. These men and women then go on to occupy different positions in the world and perpetuate another cycle of body shaming.
Gradual changes in thinking on an individual level are what add up to form the dominant discourse in society. So now, it is time to break the cycle of body shaming and realise that a woman’s worth isn’t determined by how attractive she is.