Suppose there is a lovely fairy who offers me to trade my brains in exchange of good hottie looks. Will I accept the offer? Probably not. Looks can be worked out. Being stupid, they say, is forever.
The confidence bubble
Everytime I feel insecure about how I look, I try to list down all the things that I love about my insides. I could be as boastful as I could be on that list, jotting down my skills, personality, and interests that affirm who I am.
I do this until I convince myself that I am just doing fine, that I really shouldn’t worry about trying to fit into the world’s unfair standards. I’m like creating a huge bubble around me to somehow make me feel confident and secure.
This bubble mechanism turns out to be effective, until, of course, when someone pops it again in a split-second. This ‘someone’ could be anyone: a Facebook friend, an officemate, a family member, or Senyora Santibañez.
People, especially on social media, throw nasty things all around the place — tactless, hurtful, insensitive things. We mock other people’s curly hair. We laugh at other people’s dark complexion.
We were raised in a culture where pointing out the ‘imperfections’ of others is perfectly acceptable with the excuse of doing it just for fun. “Katuwaan lang” they would say. And if you go against it, they would label you pikon, kill-joy, maarte, or masungit.
Senyora Santibañez does this game so well. She attacks the pangit people, the flat-chested ladies, the poor, and everyone who falls short in her standards. She does this in a seemingly innocent way, but for every retweet she receives, hundreds of young people could be reading and could get hurt.
For a split-second a young person’s confidence bubble could pop because of a social media post, a snide remark or a backhanded compliment. We may find it funny and innocent, but body-shaming is bullying, and it isn’t fun (at all!) especially if you or your loved one were on the receiving side.
On a further note, our attitude of aligning our tolerance based on someone’s attractiveness is too backward. “Huwag kang magtataray kung di ka naman maganda!” Are we giving people the license to be bullies, assholes, or to be unfaithful partners, as long as they’re attractive? “We can’t do anything about him playing with girls’ feelings. Gwapo eh.”
Physical attractiveness, which is more favoured in society, can be a good weapon in this battlefield of body-shaming. But I honestly wish personality and knowledge will have greater credit, too.
I wish that for every snide remark about how someone’s complexion is too dark, we can also shame people for not knowing subject-and-verb agreement. I wish we could mock someone’s fallacy-filled opinion the way they shame a person’s badly taken selfie.
I wish we could retaliate, and I wish we could bobo-shame all those who are plainly dumb and stupid. But is the retaliation valid? Will bobo-shaming become a solution against body-shaming, or will it just be a fuel to the fire of creating a harsh world?
Our behaviour of making ourselves look good by making other people look bad should be dumped outside the window. Instead of popping each other’s confidence bubbles, why don’t we help each other build confidence?
Regardless if it is by the standards of intellect or by the subjective perception of beauty, what if we don’t shame at all? You know what, I believe, that’s where the real fun is.