Features

Body shaming and its effect on society

SAM MUKWAMU

Body shaming has become a serious issue in our society. Body shaming is defined by bodyshaming.org as being “inappropriate, negative statements and attitudes toward another person’s weight or size.” It is a form of bullying and, as well as being humiliating, it can lead to short and long term psychological and health related issues. Body shaming occurs in three main ways, criticising yourself, criticising someone else in front of them, and criticising someone else behind their back.

In an age where media and social media are easily accessible, there is a strong emphasis on idealised beauty on platforms such as Instagram, magazines and television. When seeing celebrities and models who are thought to have “perfect bodies”, individuals start to become critical of their own bodies and succumb to the pressure of living up to somewhat unrealistic standards. Despite their celebrity status, some celebrities have had to deal with body shaming, fr SAM MUKWAMU Body shaming has become a serious issue in our society. Body shaming is defined by bodyshaming.org as being “inappropriate, negative statements and attitudes toward another person’s weight or size.” It is a form of bullying and, as well as being humiliating, it can lead to short and long term psychological and health related issues. Body shaming occurs in three main ways, criticising yourself, criticising someone else in front of them, and criticising someone else behind their back. In an age where media and social media are easily accessible, there is a strong emphasis on idealised beauty on platforms such as Instagram, magazines and television. When seeing celebrities and models who are thought to have “perfect bodies”, individuals start to become critical of their own bodies and succumb to the pressure of living up to somewhat unrealistic standards. Despite their celebrity status, some celebrities have had to deal with body shaming, from comments left on their social media pages, to having Photoshop applied to their pictures for magazine covers. Mad Men actress Christina Hendricks recently spoke out about being rejected for a role for being too curvy. Idols SA judge Unathi Msengana and popular TV personality Bonang Matheba have also been victims of body shaming.

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Festivals of Africa: all you need to know

KATHERINE ATKINSON

Festivals are an important part of any culture, not only in Africa, but worldwide. “All over the world people are going back to culture as a way to identify themselves,” says Dr Fraser McNeill, a senior lecturer in anthropology at the University of Pretoria. As South Africans, it is important to understand other African cultures and festivals “because they teach difference” and encourage “ethnonationalism,” says Dr McNeill. While ethnonationalism is important, it can be potentially dangerous because of the divide it creates among different groups of people. Dr McNeill notes that “every one of these nationalisms is underpinned by an idea of tradition and culture, so these festivals are a celebration of that.” The following are some festivals which take place in Africa:

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North Korea, nukes and sanctions

REBECCA WOODROW

North Korea continues to cause the world concern with its increasing missile launches into the Sea of Japan and, as of 15 September, the Pacific Ocean. The country launched a ballistic missile that flew 3700 kilometres in 19 minutes, flying over the northern Japanese city Hokkaido before landing in the Pacific, reported Eye Witness News. As the United Nations Security Council continues to strengthen sanctions on North Korea, after its nuclear test on 3 September, and nuclear conflict invades the global political imagination, navigate reality with this guide to the current tensions.

 

Infographic: Michal Mare Linden

 

Crime fighting in the digital-age

GEMMA GATTICCHI

Technological advancements have shown that apps can be a fundamental part of our safety regime. According to Business Tech, from April to December 2016 ,“over 960,000 serious crimes cases [were] reported to the SAPS, averaging over 3550 crimes every day, or 148 crimes every hour”.

Namola also dubbed the “Uber for Armed Response”, is an app launched by the Brooklyn Police Station in Pretoria to improve their response time in emergencies, as it instantly sends out emergency alerts to police officers. Brooklyn SAPS Captain, Colette Weilbach, explained that once an alert has been sent, the nearest Brooklyn SAPS and Tshwane Metro Police Department vehicles that are Namola app compliant are able to see the exact location of the incident. She says, “While on route to an incident the officer is able to receive messages from the citizen and phone them if they need more information.” Yusuf Abramjee, Namola Chief Ambassador says, “Namola is the fastest growing safety app in South Africa. It’s top on the App Store charts.”

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Period brain: the bloody truth

KATHERINE ATKINSON

Women have always been subject to discrimination and one such form of discrimination is society’s portrayal of a menstruating woman.

Earlier this year, Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience published an article that debunked the notion of “period brain” finding that menstruation does not affect a woman’s cognitive functioning. The study which followed 68 women over two menstrual cycles, was led by Professor Brigitte Leeners and a team from the University Hospital of Zurich and Medical School Hannover. The study tested three cognitive aspects by making women perform ten cognitive tests at different stages of the menstrual cycle. It found that the levels of oestrogen, progesterone, and testosterone in a woman’s system had no impact on their attention, working memory or cognitive bias. Although Professor Leeners said that more research with larger samples of women needs to be done, these findings are significant as they dismiss the patronising perception of menstruating women.

Read more: Period brain: the bloody truth

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