Shame on the body shamers

African Independent - - OPINION -

BODY sham­ing has become a dis­turb­ing trend in mod­ern so­ci­ety. It has been with us through­out the ages, but tech­nol­ogy and so­cial me­dia have turned body sham­ing into al­most an art form.

The sto­ries of women who have been body shamed are truly dis­turb­ing, and you be­gin to won­der how one hu­man be­ing can tor­ment another in this way. The ef­fects on the mind of vic­tims is long-last­ing and af­fects ev­ery facet of their life.

“I quit my physical ed­u­ca­tion classes for good when I was mocked by my class­mates, who screamed that I wouldn’t en­dure the ex­er­cises,” one vic­tim said.

“As I grew fat­ter, peo­ple told me I was go­ing to ex­plode. I looked like an older woman, and my mother looked younger than me. My boyfriend left me and told me to look in the mir­ror be­cause I had no struc­ture to be his wife as I looked like a whale,” she said.

But now a group of women are try­ing to turn the tide of abuse, by em­brac­ing their body size. With no laws to fight body sham­ing or any other kind of bul­ly­ing, aware­ness has emerged as the only way to re­verse the trend. Hence Ua­ba­lika, an anti-body sham­ing move­ment started by women, us­ing so­cial me­dia. Ua­ba­lika means beau­ti­ful in Xisena, a Mozam­bi­can lan­guage.

“My ex­pe­ri­ence showed that, more than clothes, I needed to show peo­ple be­ing overweight doesn’t have to be as­so­ci­ated with be­ing ugly or not nor­mal. I knew overweight peo­ple can be beau­ti­ful,” said founder An­draa Mas­samba.

We ap­plaud Mas­samba and her or­gan­i­sa­tion for their brav­ery in a world that is of­ten un­for­giv­ing to­wards women.

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