So let’s get right to the point: I think that all of us human beings have been body shamed at one point in our lives. It does not matter what gender you are or what size you are, you have probably experienced the useless comments made by people around you, even strangers. Honestly, sometimes it seems that those that have nothing to do with you whatsoever have the most to say about how you should live your life. The casual, seemingly harmless comments that encourage us to change our appearances to fit society’s ideal body type (skinny and fit, curvy in the right places, yada yada yada) never stop and these people don’t even realize that what they’re doing is terrible because according to them, they are just good Samaritans looking out for us.

Body shaming has become so normalized that it is found in every corner of the world, including Nepal. What exactly is it? Body shaming is an act or practice of humiliating someone by making mocking or critical comments about their body shape or size in front of that individual or behind their backs. It strongly affects the wellbeing of an individual, and can even lead to severe problems like eating disorders and other mental distresses. Body shaming does not only mean fat shaming and skinny shaming, it goes way beyond that. You can be shamed and criticized for other qualities that you possess, for example your height, your face structure, your nose shape, and basically any part of your body.

No matter what, body shaming is unacceptable. It is totally not okay to make fun of a person’s body. It does not matter if it’s intentional or not, a person should have to never go through that experience. A person’s body type should not be a conversation starter and I say this as a person who was born and raised in Nepali society. Whenever we meet our relatives, it often goes like, “Oh, ho! I’m seeing you after so long, my god have you gained weight? You’ve become so fat!” I am speechless, I have no words.

Growing up I was a very skinny kid and comments about me being a bony kid and not liking food were thrown around so often that I thought it was normal. Now when I look back I was body shamed even before when I knew what it was. After puberty I suddenly started to gain weight and then the fat shaming comments started. At home it was the norm so I was pretty insensitive towards it but even at school teachers would comment about my body and I think that’s when I developed an eating disorder. After that things went downhill; it was the lowest point of my life, but I had a few friends who supported me and knew how hard it was for me to deal with and thanks to their help I recovered. Today I am a healthy 20 year old woman who wants to spread awareness about the harmfulness of body shaming.

In some cases, you yourself can be the main perpetrator of your own body shaming if you are criticizing yourself for not having a proper body type or ideal height or big eyes or a tall nose or supple lips. Honestly, I blame it on society for idolizing certain standards and trying to impose them on us. I just want people going through this to realize that you should just let others flap their mouths while you keep being you; you are beautiful whether you have a fat or skinny or tall or short body type, you are beautiful with your short crooked nose, small eyes and thin lips: you are unique, you are you and nothing will ever change that. Let’s kick these standards out the door and keep moving forward and change the mindset of society. I know it won’t happen drastically but little by little it is possible. Instead, try and focus that energy into thinking about how to develop yourself as a person who looks past all the superficial stuff.