BODY DYSMORPHIC DISORDER(BDD)

Body Dysmorphic disorder is a mental disorder marked by an obsessive of perceived defects or flaws in once appearance. A flaw that to others is considered minor or not observable.

People suffering from BDD

  1. Can feel emotion such as shame and disgust concerning a part or parts of their body part and fixate on this.
  2. The obsession is so intense that the person repeatedly checks and compares the perceived flaw seeks reassurance sometimes for several hours each day.
  3. The person can also adopt unusual routines to avoid social contact that exposes the perceived flaw.
  4. This pervasive thoughts about their appearance and body image interfere with their daily life via
    • Educational
    • Occupational dysfunction and
    • Isolation

No matter how many times people assure them that there is no flaw, they cannot accept that the issue doesn’t exist.

The most common features about which people obsess includes:-

  • Nose
  • Wrinkles
  • Acne
  • Complexion
  • Blemishes
  • Hair
  • Skin
  • Vein appearance
  • Muscles size
  • Tone
  • Breast size
  • Buttocks
  • Genitalia

BDD is estimated to affect up to 2.4% of the population. The condition usually starts during adolescence affecting both men and women. BDD does not go away on its own if Untreated it may get worse with time leading to

  • severe depression
  • Anxiety
  • Substance abuse
  • Suicidal thoughts and behavior

Causes

The exact cause is unknown, but like every other disorder BDD may result from a combination of causes such as:-

  1. Brain differences
  2. Environmental factors; special if they involve negative social evaluations about the body or Self-image
  3. Childhood trauma
  4. Genetics; studies suggest that BDD is likely to run in family.

Certain factors that may increase the risk of developing the condition may include:-

  1. A family history
  2. Negative body image
  3. Perfectionism
  4. Negative life experiences such as bullying or teasing
  5. Introversion
  6. Media influence.

Symptoms

Extreme preoccupation with a perceived flaw in your physical appearance that appear minor to others for at least one hour a day. Attempting to hide perceived flaw with –

  • styling, makeup or clothes – to seeking plastic or cosmetic surgery,
  • avoiding social situations,
  • constantly comparing appearance with others,
  • always seeking assurance about appearance from others,
  • low self-esteem, compulsive behaviour such as skin picking and frequent clothes changing.

Extreme preoccupation with an appearance that interferes with social life work, school, or other functionality.

Diagnosis

A medical evaluation will be carried out other medical conditions after which further evaluation is carried out by a mental health professional.

Diagnosis is based on:-

  1. A psychological evaluation; which aims at assessing risk factors and thoughts feeling as well as behavior can be associated with a negative self-image.
  2. Personal, medical, family and social health history.

Treatment

Treatment option may include therapy and medication includes:-

  1. Cognitive behavioral therapy; that helps you learn how to cope and behave to improve your mental health
  2. Medications; such as SSRIs may help is control obsession and control repetitive behaviours

Psychiatric hospital may be suggested if the symptom is severe such as when you’re in immediate danger of harming yourself.

Famous personality with BDD

Here is a list of people with BDD;

  • Michael Jackson(singer, dancer)
  • Billie Elish (singer)
  • Robert Pattinson (from twilight)
  • Ileana D’Cruz (from Rustom)
  • Miguel Herrán (from money heist)

The state of Transgender People in India

The Central Government has informed the Kerala High Court that currently, transgender persons are not legally allowed to enter the National Cadet Corps and the armed forces. The Government also stated that it is their prerogative to create a new division for the third gender. In light of this statement, let us look at the rights afforded to transgender people under the law.

In India, the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 protects the rights of transgender persons and provides for their welfare.

A transgender person is any person whose gender does not match with the gender assigned to that person at birth. This includes:

  • A trans-man or trans-woman
  • A person with intersex variations
  • Any genderqueer person
  • People having socio-cultural identities such as kinner, hijra, aravani, jogta, etc.

Educational institutions which are funded or recognised by the government must provide inclusive education and opportunities to transgender people under the law. These educational institutions are not allowed to discriminate against transgender people and have to treat them on an equal basis with other people.

No establishment should discriminate against any transgender person in matters relating to employment, including recruitment, promotion, etc. This applies to establishments including government bodies, companies, firms, cooperatives, associations, agencies, and other institutions. 

Further, no person or establishment can discriminate against transgender people by denying them healthcare services. Transgender people cannot be denied access to goods, accommodation, benefits, opportunities, etc. that are available to the public. Moreover, no one can deny a transgender person’s right of movement and right to occupy or purchase any property.

A transgender person has the right to be recognised as such a person, and has a right to self-perceived gender identity. Any transgender person can apply to the District Magistrate for issuing a certificate of identity as a transgender person. In the case of a minor child, the application should be made by the parent or guardian of the child.

  • Transgenders do not enjoy a legal recognition in India like most of the Asian counterparts.
  • However, some states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Odisha recognise transgenders as the third gender.
  • The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016, intended towards the protection of transgenders is yet to be passed.
  • The Bill defines a transgender person as one who is partly female or male; or a combination of female and male; or neither female nor male.  In addition, the person’s gender must not match the gender assigned at birth.
  • The bill includes trans-men, trans-women, persons with intersex variations and gender-queers.

The law punishes anyone who:

  • Forces or convinces a transgender person to get involved in forced or bonded labour.
  • Obstructs a transgender person from having access to a public place to which other people have access.
  • Forces or causes a transgender person to leave a household, village, or other place of residence.
  • Injures or endangers the life, safety, health, or well-being of a transgender person.

The punishment for doing any of these acts is imprisonment of six months to two years, along with a fine.

Good and Bad effects of competition in Life

Winner Winner Confidence booster!

Get set go!! What do you make of that? If you think its competition, you are absolutely right! In Today’s fast moving life,this phrase makes sense most of the time in every field. Yes, competition,the act of trying tobwin or gain something by defeating others, is the policy we bear in mind in completing any task how much ever minute it may be.

One of the main advantages of competition is, it provides purpose and firmness to the mind. It gives us an impetus to pursue our goal, despite the difficulties that comes along the way. Here, ego also plays a major part as losing means one is inferior to the other. This might help in increasing confidence level. If its a challenge, why not gain the pleasure by surmounting it?

Even for a trifle task, one thinks that he must be the first one to finish it, thereby forcing each one to give their level best into it, yielding a better result altogether. This trait can be observed in children too. They try to compete in any task given to them and feel very good about themselves once they finish it. This simple instance shows the infuence of competition.

Now-a-days, children are very witty, which increases the level of competition.With numerous opportunities and resources come greater competition. This can be observed in various competitive exams. The cut off marks are such that, by a point difference people lose.This induces more stress in people which might be positive or negative, depending on each individual and circumtances.

Competition provides the opportunity to select the best among the bests. It is the best way to analyze ourselves and keep a track of where we stand among our peers. It also gives us chance to improve ourselves and achieve better when the next opportunity knocks our doors.

The monthly or annual exams students face is a trailor to the future competitions we might encounter. Many children as well as adults bear the opinion that exams are unnecessary and irrelevant. On the contrary, without a definite reason, it is highly unlikely that people learn what is to be learnt.

The importance of competition is such that we must always engage in improving ourselves to be on par with the bustling world. Only when we compare and compete with people, our areas of strength and weakness is revealed to us. This is help in finding direction to move forward in life.

Coming to the disadvantages, it depends on one’s mentality and view point. If one is pessimistic, the idea of competition might be discouraging to him. Whereas, if he is optimistic and ready to take on challenges, it might actually help in pushing oneself to improvise on all levels. The reality stands that competition is everywhere. One can either moan about or make the best out of it.

In conclusion, one musy always try to have healty competition in mind. Especially in this competitive world, competition is a must and the one conpeting with full determination will be the winner of the competition called life.

Clothing Musings

A brief analysis of clothing and its relevance in society.

With the break of the corona virus across the world, people had to be confined to the safety of their homes. A month was fine, two was okay. But with the passing of each day, week and month, things have been going downhill. 

From schooling toddlers to people of old age are trying to stay sane and get their works finished whilst boredom strikes on and on.

Many a people have being resorting to different strategies but everything boils down to the thought of when will they be able to hit the streets again. Totally aware that there’s nothing like the old normal, but only a new normal.

However the gist of the moment would be figuring out the best way to pass time or to make the best of it.

Just like me, I guess most people would have taken to cleaning the house and carefully folding up the cupboards, multiple or numerous times by now.

During all this, it’s obvious that the human mind would hit people up with a series of rather intriguing questions, ones that never hit up prior to the covid chapter; one simple query could be,  ‘when will I ever be able to stop wearing my at home clothes and be able to slip into my outside clothes.’

I guess it’s quite obvious and safe to say that everyone has broadly two types of clothes: outside clothes and inside clothes. The latter being the yesteryear extremely used version of the former.

Breaking open the almirahs really does do a number; making people question the very idea of the need of such atrocious, rogue shopping perhaps, something that we were well off without. 

Could’ve made my very idle and almost empty wallet a lot heavier, if I didn’t go bonkers buying all these clothes, that I’ve seldom used.

‘Why do a person need so many clothes?’

 Most of my clothes have been collecting dust and just sitting there for the past 5 months or so. Apart from a couple of casual clothes I put on for the quintessential grocery run.

After a few minutes of grave mental musings it finally hit me, ‘wait it’s not the ideal time to freak out, Afterall we’re living through a pandemic.’

 Who would’ve thought the whole world was going to be at a standstill due to this pandemic a few months ago.

Sighting “events are the teachers of fools.” I took to google, like a rational being, to sort out and get a clear idea of what all do a guy like me would need in my early twenties.

The answer was clear, what I had already was more than the need. The supply or stock was well over the demand or need(in basic economic terms).

We as a species are quite complex. We sometimes go overboard and under-board. But seldom the actual level of strategy.

Scientists have concluded that humans started wearing clothes over a million years ago. Prior to that, human life was in the nude.

When the first men started to forage out for food into the unknown, there was still no need for clothing. Thanks to evolution, and hairlessness contributed by the outpour of sweat by intense physical activities, the need for it arose. 

From using leaves, grass, animal skins and other things to cover, drape or wrap themselves, the primitive men have come a long way now.

Necessity being the mother of all inventions.” Mankind slowly ventured on to the invention of sewing needles to expand the scope of their clothing line. There has been no turning back ever since.

The evolution of clothes seems more fascinating than that of mankind. There’s no denying that there’s more to it now, than just covering the modesty of man to fit into society.

The clothing industry is more than a trillion dollar business now. With brands starting from the alphabets A to Z. Prices ranging from a couple of hundreds to millions for a piece. A question, are we overdoing it, is something that can’t be easily settled upon.

The very objective to wear clothes have been changing from era to era, from person to person. What started off as a means of protection, went on to become a form of identification and now seen as a sense of adornment to expression. 

With the passing of each season, the trends keep on changing. With no promise of the trend of the previous season sticking around for any further time.

An object which has such a huge utility value means different for different people. The difference of dressing habits among people living just a couple of hundred kilometres apart itself is nothing short of thought provoking. 

After all the creator didn’t intend to create us all as unique beings, without a uniform image of how one should be. 

In this day and age when people dress to their own tastes, it’d be fairly arbitrary for an external force, be it a person or a body entity,  to restrict another being from choosing to wear the clothing of his likes. A violation of a person’s freedom to be precise.

Comment down below if there’s anything more to add or contradict.

Be Civilized

Anthropologist Margaret Mead was asked by a student what she considered to be the first sign of civilization in a culture. The student expected Mead to talk about clay pots, tools for hunting, grinding-stones, or religious artifacts, but Mead said that the first sign of civilization in an ancient culture was a 15,000 years old fractured femur found in an archaeological site. Femur (thighbone) that had been broken and then healed.  In societies without the benefits of modern medicine, it takes about six weeks of rest for a fractured femur to heal. This particular bone had been broken and had healed. Mead explained that in the animal kingdom, you break your leg, you die. You cannot run from danger, get to the river for a drink or hunt for food. You are meat for prowling beasts. No animal survives a broken leg long enough for the bone to heal. Broken femur that has healed is evidence that someone has taken time to stay with the one who fell, has bound up the wound, has carried the person to safety and has tended the person through recovery. Helping someone else through difficulty is where civilization starts. We are at our best when we serve others. Be civilized.

Sometimes I’m wondering if we’ve lost the primary sign of true civilization. When I hear the angry rhetoric and therefore the arrogant talk about a number of our chat show pundits and political candidates, I’m wondering what has become of compassion. When I happen to catch a flash of a vicious voice like Ann Coulter (I can only take a few minutes) I’m wondering what has become of civilization. When I hear even Christians talk in such bitter tones about immigrants and minorities, anybody who is “different”, I’m wondering if they need ever read the Gospels and if they care about the values of the Kingdom of God. I know it is an extreme voice, but I even heard a web preacher say he thought we should always take the Bible literally and stone homosexuals. God have mercy! If Margaret Meade is correct that the primary sign of true civilization is compassion, I’m wondering just how civilized we are.
Of course, there was an enormous outpouring of well-deserved compassion and bonafide outrage over the death of Cecil the Lion, but what about the death of innocent children caught amid war, or homeless families in our uncivilized urban centers? The Old Testament all for welcoming the alien and therefore the stranger and the first ministry of the first church was to worry for the widows and orphans. Compassion isn’t just the primary sign of civilization, it’s central to what it means to be a lover of Christ. St. Paul draws a sharp contrast between the “works of the flesh” which include strife, anger, quarrels, factions, envy” (…sounds like our current political climate) and the “fruits of the spirit” which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Gal. 5:19-23).


And so…I check my own heart and spirit. Even when handling people I afflict, am I able to commit to measuring by the primary sign of civilization, to measure with compassion?

New Media And Reporting Gender Based Violence

Trigger Warning: Mention of Rape and Sexual Assault

New Media has also changed the style of journalism, such as the rise of online journalism, where facts, information, and reports are produced and distributed through the internet. News in the New Media era is enabled to spread more widely and rapidly. News content is now enriched by lots of digital elements such as images, embed videos, comment box. These elements make the information presented becomes more attractive. One of the salient characters of online journalism is its dependency on speed in delivering information. When we talk about the emerging trends in media, we cannot afford to overlook the role of online media in changing the scenario in the context of women’s issues. The content that the online media produces reflects the pattern of value the society. The prevailing attitude of society gets revealed through the way subjects dealing with women are treated by the media (Arpita Sharma, 2012). 

Media has the choice of acting as both, a protagonist and as a perpetrator-it can either reinforce the gender-based discrimination by portraying sensational and stereotypical images of women or it can provide balanced reportage that empowers women and not degrades them while exposing acts of gender-based violence. Rape cases and sexual assault cases are not a recent trend in the society but sensitive reportage and wide coverage by media while also bringing these issues forefront are relatively very new. 

Gender-based violence or GBV is violence that is directed against a person because of their gender. Both women and men experience GBV but the majority of victims are women and girls. GBV and violence against women are terms that are synonymous as it is widely acknowledged that most gender-based violence is inflicted on women and girls, by men. The issue of GBV reaches every corner of the world. The numbers of women and girls affected by this problem are shocking. According to the World Health Organization’s data from 2013, one in every three women has been beaten, compelled into sex or are abused. One in five women is sexually abused as a child, according to a 2014 report.

In coverage of GVB, several stereotypes are often perpetuated by the new media. These include that rape is similar to sex, that the assailant is motivated by female lust, that the assailant is perverted, crazy or a monster, that the woman provokes rape or assault, and that only women are only victims. Scholars have found that these stereotypes and myths are pervasive in media coverage of rape and assault cases. Not only the language and the framing of the headlines but also the visuals used in the articles regarding GVB play an important role in the general perception of these issues.

In Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Media (UNESCO, 2012), under Category B- Gender Portrayal In Media Content, B1.5- Strategic Objective 5 states the indicators for the coverage of gender-based violence. Three of them are-

  1. Use of non-judgmental language, distinguishing between consensual sexual activity and criminal acts, and taking care not to blame the victim/survivor for the crime 

2. Use of the term ‘survivor’ rather than ‘victim’ unless the violence-affected person uses the latter term or has not survived 

3. Use of background information and statistics to present gender-based violence as a societal problem rather than as an individual, personal tragedy 

Terms such as ‘victim’ or ‘survivor’ are often used to describe individuals who undergo these experiences. The term ‘victim’ reiterates feelings of helplessness and lack of female agency, while the term survivor connotes a sense of strength and resilience. However, the affected person should have a say in what to refer them as. The ‘victim’ terminology limits individual self-agency and identity. It is important to note that experiences of violence do not define the individual, but rather are a piece of a larger self-identity. Such labels focus on experiences of violence and presuppose an individual’s inability to change or undergo any personal development to transform their identity into a peaceful, empowered personality. 

Images of sexual violence in the media often depicts women as covering their face, being silenced by looming hands, teary faces, large shadows near the woman, are some of the visual examples. These images not only fuel the stereotypes of women as helpless and weak, but also these images are also extremely triggering for the survivors of sexual assault and rape. 

When media reports women who have been assaulted or raped as nothing but victims, society can disengage and fail to take the issue as a broader societal issue and fail to take responsibility for any individual or group action to change it. It is crucial then for journalists to report on GBV in an informed way and to have a good theoretical understanding of the roots of these gender based violence’s and what needs to change in society. Otherwise, they can do harm by perpetuating patriarchal stereotypes and falsehoods. 

Women in Indian Society

Through mythology and religious texts

Patriarchy is a social system in which the role of male as the primary authority is central. It refers to a system where men have authority over women, children and property. As an institution of male rule and privilege, patriarchy is dependent on female subordination. Historically, it has manifested itself in the social, legal, political, and economic institutions of different cultures. Literally meaning ‘rule of fathers’(Ferguson, 1048), the term ‘patriarchy’ was initially used to refer to autocratic rule by the male head of a family. However, in modem times, it more generally refers to social system in which power is primarily held by adult men. 

Majority of religions have contributed their bit to perpetuate patriarchal norms. With such beliefs instilled into cultural mindset, women scarcely stand a chance of gaining strength in this male-dominated world. Patriarchy is also manifest in family traditions and gets reinforced through practices such as women adopting the surname of their husbands and children too carrying their father’s last name. 

There is considerable ambiguity about the status of women in Indian society. Some sacred texts accord them an exalted status by stating that gods live where women are worshipped. In her various manifestations as Mother Goddess, namely Durga, Kali, Chandi, woman is believed to represent power or Shakti, and evoke both fear and reverence. She can protect and at the same time can also wreak vengeance. If pleased, she can fulfil every wish, but when annoyed, she can unleash unimaginable terror. Male gods at times find themselves helpless before her and cannot dare to intervene especially when she has decided to act as power incarnate. Most of her attributes are believed to be embedded in every woman. However, there is yet another profile of woman established by religious writings and folklore wherein she is believed to be fickle and fragile. She is represented as sensuous, tempting, given to falsehood, folly, greed, impurity, and also thoughtless action. She is also regarded as the root of all evil. It is because of her supposedly inconsistent character that she has to be kept under strict control. Being fragile, she needs protection at all stages of her life, for instance, in childhood by her father, in youth by her husband, and in old age, after the husband’s death, by her sons. As evident, these two images are contradictory. 

The patrilineal Hindu society expects a woman to have certain virtues, chastity being one of them. Before marriage, a woman is not allowed to think of any man in sexual terms. Secondly, she has to be a devout wife—the notion of Pati-Parmeshwar or ‘husband as God’ reigning supreme in the popular mindset. Women observe several fasts to ensure that they get the same husband life after life. Such fasts also include prayers for the long life of the husband, so that the wife does not have to undergo the ‘sufferings’ of widowhood. The infertility of a woman is considered a curse as in patrilineal groups she is expected to produce a son to continue the patriarchal lineage. 

Rammohan Roy stands out as the figure who took a firm stand against the practice of Sati. Sati was the custom through which a woman was condemned and pressurised by society to sacrifice her life by dying alongside her husband on his funeral pyre. Lata Mani in her book ‘Contentious Traditions- The Debate on Sati in Colonial India’, highlights that sati was not about whether the Vedic scriptures prescribed such self-immolation nor was it about the individual women’s wishes and desires. Rather, it was a part of the traditional behaviour that Indian women had internalised within themselves. Many of them saw it as an essential part of the ‘·’duty” expected from them as a good wife – to sacrifice her life in order that her husband could gain ultimate salvation. 

According to Hindu mythology, the Manusmriti is the word of Brahma, and it is classified as the most authoritative statement on Dharma. Manusmriti is considered as the divine code of conduct. Laws of Manu insist that since women by their very nature are disloyal they should be made dependent on men. The husband should be constantly worshipped as a God, which symbolized that man is a lord, master, owner, or provider and women were the subordinates. It legitimizes that a woman should never be made independent, as a daughter she should be under the surveillance of her father, as a wife of her husband and as a widow of her son (Chakravarti, 2006). While defending Manusmiriti, apologists often quote the verse: “yatr naryasto pojyantay, ramantay tatr devta”  that is “where women are provided place of honor, gods are pleased and reside there in that household”, but they deliberately forget the verses that are full of prejudice and hatred against women. 

These texts justify a woman’s inferior status in society. Each of these verses shows how the Brahmanical ideology reduces the character of a woman to the number of sexual partners she has, and her purpose as child-bearers. The obsession with knowing the lineage of offspring, virginity and the narrow definition of character led to the imposition of restrictions on women and artificially stunted their status. And much of this continues till today.

We celebrate Dussehra to mark the victory of ‘Good over Evil’, Navratri in the honour of nine Goddesses, Durga’s victory over the buffalo demon and worshiping Lakshmi on Diwali, we are decked up in festivities and celebrations. But do we really celebrate them? To find the answer to that question, you need to look no further than mythology and religious scriptures. It’s a clear indicator of what the fabric of society, its structure and norms would be like.  

The implementation of patriarchal norms and values depend to a great extent on the strength and weakness of control mechanisms. For instance, articulation of patriarchal values and the prescription of norms through religious texts command natural observance. At times, family honour is protected by wife-beating. It is all too visible in the lower classes, but also persists in upper strata of society. Even after six decades of independence, one frequently reads of bride burning and dowry deaths. Other forms of violence are: heaping indignities on the wife and her relations by the in-laws, making her do physical work beyond her capacity, failing to provide her adequate nutrition, and even torturing her mentally on several pretexts. Even highly educated and well-placed women are amenable to such maltreatment.