BODY SHAMING IN THE ARAB CULTURE

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We have been morphed into believing that our worth is what is on the outside. Many young girls go through life believing that their weight indicates their beauty. Many young girls struggle with their eating just to maintain that “ideal” body type. This restrains them from being internally content with themselves and may develop into psychological distresses. Eating disorders, as well as body dysmorphia, have become so “desensitized” online and seen to be something women and men should normally go through in order to reach their “ideal” body goals. It has become so common within the younger generation, which, in the long run, can cause many damages mentally and physically.

Dear Readers,

 

Please find below an article that sheds much needed light on body shaming in Arab Culture. The article was published in aware.ae, we share this for research and information purpose only.

Body shaming and fat shaming is the same as bullying, whether it be in person, or online. It is the act or practice of negatively judging someone based on their physical appearance. Typically, people are body shamed when they appear overweight or underweight or don’t fit society’s view of “thin and beautiful”. Our culture loves the ideology of a perfect body, whether it be in print, movies, television, or online, seeing someone who doesn’t fit the mold isn’t considered acceptable to some.

Research conducted by the Yale Rudd Center on Food Policy and Obesity found:

  • Peer victimization can be directly predicted by weight
  • 64% of students enrolled in weight-loss programs reported experiencing weight-based victimization
  • 33% of girls and 25% of boys report weight-based teasing from peers, but prevalence rates increase to approximately 60% among the heaviest students
  • 84% of students observed students perceived as overweight being called names or getting teased during physical activities

While body shaming has been in society for quite some time, the internet and social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, have brought it to an all-time high. With millions of users signing-on each day, social media platforms open the door for individuals and companies to share unrealistic expectations of an ideal body. Technology has made the focus on appearance easier and given way to a platform that invites body shaming and bullying more frequently.

  • Instagram is one of the most used social media networks with over 200 million users daily
  • Snapchat has 161 million users daily
  • Approximately 65.8% of US companies use Twitter for marketing purposes

“Keyboard courage” plays a key role in making hurtful and derogatory comments toward others online. It is easy to shame someone when behind a screen, making them feel inadequate. Posting body-shaming comments to those they know and don’t know, leaves individuals feeling as if there are no repercussions for their words. (Source Magnolia Creek)

 

 

 

 

BODY SHAMING IN THE ARAB

CULTURE

 

Body shaming in the Arab culture is not something we are newly introduced to. It has been a reoccurrence for so many years. While our bodies are taught to be sacred, they are definitely not something to be ashamed of.

Body Shaming Women in the Arab Culture

Growing up in the Arab world as a female can be exhausting to some. Young girls cannot control their genetics. They cannot control how their bodies change as they get older. Many accuse their daughters that they want to be seen in a “sexualized” manner, not taking into consideration that such snarky comments can take a huge toll on one’s mental health. We, as women, have been taught to cover up and not overexpose our bodies because of what others may think of us. The length of our dresses dictates who we are as a person. The cuts of our shirts assume that we are seeking attention. This behavior has been normalized to many because of the way society has sought to see women.

Body Shaming Leads to Mental and Physical Health Issues 

Body shaming has been so common, yet so hidden. In that sense, many comments being made by parents or peers come from a place of not understanding how it will make the other person feel, or it can come from a place of shame. Hence, when a parent comments something about your weight or what you are wearing, they do not comment out of hatred. Instead, they comment because their minds have been programmed to an “ideal” type of woman. They fear shame will be put upon them. This is where the word “عيب”, meaning shame, comes from. This word has shaped many young girls into believing that they cannot look a certain way because of what people would have to say.

We have been morphed into believing that our worth is what is on the outside. Many young girls go through life believing that their weight indicates their beauty. Many young girls struggle with their eating just to maintain that “ideal” body type. This restrains them from being internally content with themselves and may develop into psychological distresses. Eating disorders, as well as body dysmorphia, have become so “desensitized” online and seen to be something women and men should normally go through in order to reach their “ideal” body goals. It has become so common within the younger generation, which, in the long run, can cause many damages mentally and physically.

Body Shamers and The Shamed

What people fail to understand is that body shaming stems from a problem with perspective and an outlook on appearance. Body shamers might project their own insecurities onto those who are promoting body positivity or those who feel completely normal and happy with themselves and oppose their negative comments to bring the person down in order to lift themselves up.

A person who is body shaming may have trouble accepting their own appearance and would feed off of the confidence of somebody else. This leads to low self-esteem and personal failures. Shaming others for the way their body looks comes from a place of internal lacking. They may be lacking self-confidence and can even be jealous.

Educate Those Around You on The Effects of Body Shaming 

Body shaming is not and should not be something so common and normalized. Educate those around you on the effects of body shaming and how it could drastically impact your mental well-being or the well-being of others. If you are someone struggling with their physical appearance, do not allow these negative comments to get to you. If it is a parent who is body shaming you, be vocal about how you feel. Allow them to understand how detrimental it is to you. Do not allow internalized verbal abuse to stick in your thoughts. Practice mindfulness and keep a positive mindset. How you look like on the outside or what you decide to wear does not define your worth. Your body shape and size most definitely does not define who you are on the inside.

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Islam and Eating Disorders founded in 2012 – run by Maha Khan, the blog creates awareness of Eating Disorders in the Muslim world, offers information and support for sufferers and their loved ones.

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