Body Shaming In Egypt | Women Beauty Standards + My Story

by - Friday, July 31, 2015

Body shaming is hard. So many women experience it. So many young girls suffer from it. They get shamed from random people in the street, school and maybe even their own friends.

I live in Egypt, where beauty standards are so restricted. A Woman is usually expected to look perfect. She's more likely to be accepted by society if she has the most beautiful coloured eyes with long soft hair (Better not be naturally black) , round white faces and small lips. Her body better be thin, but not too thin. Curvy, but not too curvy. If she has a big bum and breasts, she gets mocked for having them either directly or by being made fun of. If she has skinny legs and small breasts she also gets mocked by other women who think that she's "Too thin to bear children" or "Her body is not attractive, how is she going to get married?".

Her thicker friend suddenly thinks that it's a good idea to lift her self-esteem by bringing her skinny  friend down "Your arms are so thin, you look skeletal". I've been told that I look like a "Mummy" by my so-called friend at school after a long stare at my wrist which apparently was far too "Boney" for her liking. The strange part was that she felt that there was nothing wrong with her telling me this and the strangest part was that she was trying to lose weight herself. She was going on diets and starving herself to lose weight. She even once told me that she cried the night before because she was so hungry but she had to resist in order to lose weight. Isn't this unhealthy??? Why did she feel the need to go through this??

This illustrates our society, skinny girls (are supposed to) try to gain weight even if they're perfectly healthy and girls who have extra body fat (are supposed to) try to lose weight in order for both of them to be accepted by society. The process of losing and gaining weight is often too far from health. These girls' parents usually don't care about their daughter's health. They only care about the way she looks and let me tell you, they're never satisfied.

Often times parents in Egypt are their own daughters' body shamers. They shame their curvier daughter directly or indirectly for having bigger body parts especially her breasts or behind and suddenly feel the need to "make" their daughter cover-up a bit more which definitely sends a very wrong message to young girls about their womanly parts and they can't be blamed for being ashamed of them.

For a skinny girl, her parents shame her too. They keep telling her that she's not attractive and therefore can't get married. As if she should gain weight to please the opposite sex. A skinny young girl isn't "rushed" to cover up that much. If her womanly parts are not big then her parents can give her sometime before "making" her cover up (Happened to my younger sister). Which also sends a wrong message to young girls about their womanly parts and therefore they too feel ashamed of their body.

It's a never ending cycle of body shaming and the victims are usually young girls. Who get taught to hate their body and feel ashamed of it.
There's no single reason for a girl to feel ashamed of her body. Every girl should embrace her body and ignore anyone that tells her otherwise. Girls should empower each other and lift each other up instead of living up to society's standards of beauty. Worry ONLY about your health and maintain a healthy body for your own happiness.

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  1. Unfortunately body shaming happens at every level of society and it really should stop. The good news is there are more people standing up against it and creating awareness to stop this horrible thing.

    Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

  2. It's the same in India! People give you the stink eye if you're a little bit chubby and decide to wear a dress. You're only considered to be "beautiful" if you're fair and have straight hair, even if you have terrible skin and dry-as-hay hair. It does get me down at times to know that I have to conform to these standards, but most days I don't let it bother me.
    I've never read much about Egyptian culture apart from the pyramids and pharaohs. This was really interesting to read. It doesn't seem like Egyptians and Indians are all that different after all! :)
    Aria | Girl in a Whimsical Land

    1. It's sad though :/ I don't understand why every country has to decide how girls should look like to be considered beautiful. We're made different for a reason >.>

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