Body shaming is an act of mocking someone by making fun of their physical appearance. It is a form of bulling, done by criticizing an individual’s body shape, facial features and humiliating them overall.
“How did you get this Fat?”
“Real women have Curves”
“You’re just too Skinny”
“Your feet are too big for a lady”
So, Body shaming is considered a sensitive topic to talk about in Nigeria. People don’t like to talk about it, considering it a taboo term. But women in Nigeria face body shaming by their parents, siblings, friends, peers and media, more often than not. 94% of all teenage girls residing in Nigeria are body shaming victims. In some countries like USA, organizations like the NEDA have stepped up against body shaming, but sadly in Nigeria, there isn’t any.
STUPEFYING STORIES OF NIGERIAN WOMEN
EDIDIONG OBOT : LONG JOURNEY OF A VICTIM TO A SURVIVOR
Another Nigerian woman, Edidiong Obot, suffered a lot in her early teenage. She was body shamed multiple times by several people around her. It all started by a verbal attack from her female high school principle, at the school assembly ground, for being too thin. She was precisely told:
‘You don’t have breasts neither do you own full buttocks but still you are making men follow you’.
This comment was due to a very stupefying reason. Her principle felt that her husband (aged 43) is romantically attracted to Edidiong (aged 13). To add “fuel to the fire“, her principle also suspended her from school the same day. But then on a bright side, Edidong’s brother became her “knight in the shining armor” and took her to a gym for body fitness and reshaping. Her “fitness freak” brother helped her to overcome the grief which she was suffering by body shaming.
Edidiong’s story doesn’t end here. In addition, she left her home after 7 years, to work in another part of that town and neglected her exercise routine. A year later when she returned home, she was again criticized for her body shape, by her family and neighbors. This impacted her too much that she began isolating herself from people around her.
Later after a couple of years, maturity and time made her accept the fact that she is a beautiful creation of God and there’s nothing she should change about herself. She overcame her insecurities and accepted herself completely. Her Journey from victim to survivor was not smooth at all. She faced many ups and downs, but it ended beautifully. Hence, giving us a lesson.
UDUAK EKANIM : TALE OF A SUFFERER AND WINNER
A Nigerian resident named Uduak Ekanim, faced a lot of criticism for her facial features. A medical condition made her wear glasses all the time. But whenever she took her glasses off, people started bulling her for her looks. She was called ‘ugly’ without glasses many times. This body shaming trampled her self-esteem and she suffered from depression as well.
Later in her life she heard of a burn survivor, who helped her to overcome her depression which started due to body shaming. In the end, her tale was not all dramatic but it gives a big lesson to everyone reading this story, ‘People around you have bigger problems than you, still they survive. So if they can, then why not you?’
ABASIFREK : A STORY OF A WOMAN FROM ZERO TO HERO
Next Abasifrek, a Nigerian inhabitant, went through a lot during her university years. Being a healthy and chubby woman, she was body shamed too much by her fellows. In her story, a particular lady from her university, acted like an apple of discord. From body shaming to criticizing her views on various subjects making her feel like an outsider and a “zero”. Long story short, that particular woman caused a lot of drama in her life. She said:
“being a fat girl can be depressing”
Abasifrek was fortunate enough to meet some new people there, who were very appreciative. They acted as confidence booster in her life and she graduated with distinction in her university.
LISTEN TO HER!
THREE SURPRISING TRUTHS WE LEARNED FROM THESE 3 STORIES
Listed below are the 3 truths we deduced from the stories of these 3 Nigerian women, who proved ended up being everything from nothing just by the changing their mindsets about themselves:
- Body shaming has nothing to do with age, gender, place or class. Women are body shamed from anyone, at any time of their age and at any place.
- Body shaming in females lead to the development of a negative body image which is defined as a person’s emotional dissatisfaction about himself. . Their mental health, physical wellbeing and self-esteem get affected mostly by this, hence women go for unnecessary beauty treatments and surgery and face anxiety, depression and eating disorders.
- Body shaming can be treated by opting a healthy lifestyle, choosing the right people to hang around, meeting therapist and motivational speakers, and simply accepting yourself the way you were created.
In the end, every person on planet earth is given one single life to live, enjoy and invest into. So, don’t waste any second of your life paying heed to critics and bullies. In fact, live your life to the fullest because you deserve it. Accept the fact that you are one of a kind and there is no other person like you. Therefore, Sending healthy vibes in your direction!
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