Egyptian Facebook User Flawlessly Shuts down Body Shamers
Most modern societies are afflicted with a disease that dictates that there is nothing more important in the world – especially for a woman- than her appearance. Although this disease has variant iterations across the globe, the story is always the same: if you are not toned and/or a maximum of a size 6, then society, fashion, and beauty have abandoned you.
Egypt is no exception to this unfortunate narrative. Indeed, in a society where it’s normal for a neighbor to ask you about what your cooking for dinner, in a society where the doorman has an opinion about you, hearing one of your mum’s friends say “Oh my god, your daughter has gained so much weight”, is not seen as an inappropriate violation of privacy.
Facebook user Nadine Badrawy has decided to finally address all the body and fat shamming that happens in Egypt, with a brave and confrontational tone.
I don’t know my exact weight and i honestly don’t care if it was a ton, I know I am FAT, I have stretch marks, folded arms and stomach, cellulite everywhere, chubby cheeks and neck and a little double chin, when I smile, my eyes seem like they’re closed sometimes. I don’t need to meet certain standards to be classified as sexy/ beautiful or even normal, I don’t need to have perfect soft hairless skin and molded curves, I don’t need approval from anyone on my appearance, I don’ t exist to serve the message of beauty that’s already preconceived as being thin,” Nadine writes.
The post has been going viral, and I do not think it is a coincidence that it is. Nadine has truly placed her finger on the wound that is body shaming, that plagues Egyptian society. This is not just an issue faced by ‘fat girls’.
Body shaming as a plague that targets everyone. From girls who have been shamed into thinking they are not pretty because they wear glasses, to girls who are constantly placing chemicals into their scalps in order to straighten it, to girls spending thousands of Egyptian pounds on whitening creams, to girls drowning themselves in foundation to deceptively have a whiter appearance; Egyptian women are going out of their way to fit European and western standards of beauty. Mind you, these standards are something that actual western/European women themselves have come to hate.
This image obsessed and scopophilic society, for example, has just recently attacked Farida Osman -Egyptian international swimming champion- after Farida’s mum said that she wants to live long enough to witness Farida’s wedding day. Egyptian social media users found this as a green light to body shame the champion; they called Fardia ‘masculine’, they made fun of her curly hair, they said that given all these features no one would want to marry Farida.
Nadine also draws attention to the eating disorders that are drastically growing in popularity, especially among young women and adolescent girls.
Yes I love food, I binge, I am an emotional eater but guess what again, everyone is because we’re simply sinking in consumerism in addition to entering into a psychological void…So if you don’t like what you see, too bad that you’re that limited by the preconception of beauty the world has cornered you in, just look away. And if you panic at each calorie intake or each pound that suddenly appears in your mirror, get help because this is a stairway to trivial chronic anxiety that might turn you into a very depressed perfectly healthy person,” Nadine states.
This kind of real talk and body activism is something we lack in Egypt. We do not understand that being such a judgemental society is something that can genuinely hurt women. We do not understand that psychological illnesses and psychiatric disorders pertaining to ‘Body Dysmorphia’ are caused by several things, and one of them is bombarding women and young girls with hurtful words and hateful judgement.
That being said, people do not seem to be aware of this; if you ask that friend of your mum why she calls you fat, she will say that she is only saying that because she benevolently cares for you. This is not true. This does not help. Your words are literally toxic, because they can literally lead to genuine illnesses.