Many of us assume that outward looks are important. We automatically compare our appearances to those of others, forgetting that everyone is unique in their own way. We naively follow commercials to improve our look since the media looms huge over our homes. It might be for a fairer-looking face lotion or weight-loss tablets in 5 days. No one is without flaws. Imperfections are unavoidable in life. To seem smaller, taller, and better-looking, to disguise our flaws, we begin to criticize ourselves in front of others and accept the critiques we get. Body Shaming is the term for this type of behaviour. Body shaming enters our lives when we criticize our own looks, the look of another person in front of them, or the appearance of another person without their awareness.
Body Shaming challenges the prevalent adages that “beauty is just skin deep” or that “inner beauty is more important than physical appearance.” Before we record our remarks, we seldom consider how much it affects the person being chastised, how much it lowers their self-esteem. People who are overweight or thin seek out ways to shed or gain weight, and are frequently victims of crash diets or overeating. Obese persons in several Western nations have complained about businesses refusing to hire them or firing them due to their weight. Discrimination based on weight can lead to unhappiness and poor mental and physical health. Body shaming does not only affect fat or overweight people; it also affects underweight or tiny people. Furthermore, it is not confined to one gender. It affects both men and women equally. More often than not, it occurs inside the family, when your husband, siblings, or close relatives begin to criticize your looks and figure, making you feel silly.
Are there any legal remedies available to these folks to protect them from Body Shaming? It is permissible to discriminate against overweight persons under federal law and the Constitution of the United States of America. So, with the exception of a few states, the majority of the states in the United States do not have a statute in place to assist these people. Citizens of the United States can now seek redress from the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which has agreed to assist them to some extent.
In contrast, Indian laws, though indirectly, allow a remedy for body shaming. One is not on the verge of losing a job because of obesity or being too thin in this situation. Body shaming is prohibited under labour regulations and other employment-related legislation. Obesity or a thin figure will not cause an agreement to be cancelled under the provisions of the Indian Contracts Act, 1882. Body shaming is also prohibited under the Indian Constitution. Equality before the law is guaranteed under Article 14. It is clear that citizens are treated equally regardless of their physical appearance or gender. The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Protection, and Redress) Act of 2013 has lately aided women in their fight against body shaming. Many women were embarrassed by statements and gestures that interfered with their modesty prior to the Act. Women’s modesty is likewise protected by Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
Happiness is regarded as a natural right — the most fundamental and complete human right. This straightforward approach to human rights is remarkable! Of course, this right to happiness is subject to the reasonable constraints imposed by the State to prevent them from harming or saddening others. As a result, it is apparent that body shaming is a violation of this fundamental human right! In addition, there are several case laws that illustrate the fact that the right to life and personal dignity is not the same as animal existence.
The Supreme Court of India declared in P. Rathinam v. Union of India, (1994) 3 SCC 394, that the term “life” in the Right to Life and Personal Liberty u/a 21 of the Constitution has a broad meaning. “The right to life u/a 21 includes the right to live with human dignity, and the same does not imply perpetual drudgery,” the court said. It incorporates some of civilization’s finer qualities that make life worthwhile, and the extended idea of life would include the person’s tradition, culture, and heritage.”
As a result, it is apparent that body shaming is an inhuman conduct when viewed in light of the aforementioned ruling. Because of the violation of the victim’s fundamental right to life and human dignity, the amount of mental angst, disturbance, and agony caused by constant body shaming can be construed as mental torture, psychological harassment, and sexual harassment, clearly giving locus standi to the victim to file a criminal complaint, a FIR, or even a writ petition against the torturer.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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