90 per cent of women feel that body shaming is common behaviour: Survey

Namrata Devikar
Saturday, 6 April 2019

“Many patients who come to me are not even aware of the cause of their problem. Without realising the reason they also seem to cut down on their social engagements because it affects them when people comment on their looks,” said Dr Parikh. 

PUNE: Around 90 per cent women feel that body shaming is common behaviour and highlight it as a cause for mental harassment at school and workplace due to negative comments on their weight, body shape and skin tone. A whopping 90 per cent of women also believed that films and television shows often tend to make fun of people who do not conform to the standard norms and expectations. 

This was revealed in a survey by the Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences of the Fortis Healthcare, in which 1,244 women between 15 to 45 years of age from various cities were interviewed. 

The aim was to understand the attitudes and perceptions of women towards body image as well as the impact of body shaming on their psychological well-being. 

Dr Samir Parikh, Director, Fortis National Mental Health Program and Consultant Psychiatrist, Fortis Healthcare said that body shaming wreaks havoc on a person’s self-esteem. 

“Many patients who come to me are not even aware of the cause of their problem. Without realising the reason they also seem to cut down on their social engagements because it affects them when people comment on their looks,” said Dr Parikh. 

He added that the survey emphasised on how physical appearance is considered highly important as individuals are constantly subjected to comparisons with existing portrayals in society. 

“Therefore, it is important to help address such behavioural tendencies, especially among the youths who tend to be the most vulnerable in terms of their developing identities and self-image,” said Dr Parikh. 

The survey also highlights that body image issues can easily be manifested in the form of psychiatric illnesses like eating disorders, which can impact an individual’s life and health. 

Besides, individuals who are victims of body shaming or other forms of such bullying are increasingly vulnerable to experience comorbidities like increased stress levels, anxiety, features of depression and other issues.

SURVEY NUMBERS
- 90 per cent women feel films and television shows make fun of people who do not conform to the standard norms and expectations. 
- 89 per cent women feel uncomfortable about themselves when they read comments about other people’s appearances on social media. 
- 97 per cent participants believed that the issue of body shaming needs to be addressed in schools. 
- 89 per cent women feel the external factors lead to loss of confidence, dejection and anxiety. 
- 95 per cent women believed that most people do not realize that they indulge in body shaming. 

WHAT IS BODY SHAMING?
Being bullied on one’s body shape, being publically criticised for being ‘fat’ or ‘skinny’, or negatively judging any body part is termed as Body Shaming. 

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