Body Shaming Saga

It was a few years ago when my second baby was just a few months old and I was almost always ravenous. As a hirsute child who was constantly body shamed for being so, I was already dealing with severe inferiority complex that I hardly ever let show. While I’d begun waxing my visible body parts, at this time, I was mostly short of time and also gaining weight for two reasons- one, I was feeding my kid and always hungry, and two, I was facing an emotional breakdown on the personal front and dealt with it by eating indiscriminately, especially huge amounts of chocolate. It was at this time that a retired colleague, on her visit to office, asked my friend if I was pregnant yet again. Even with all the troubles I was dealing with, I found this very wrong for many reasons. For one, she was referring to my body and the extra fat I’d put on in the waist and tummy, as if being thin and curvy was the only acceptable body on someone. Secondly, she associated my body shape to being ‘pregnant yet again’, and made it sound distasteful, implying that gaining weight was only for the pregnant.

Body shaming can only be understood through an intensive historical analysis (not going into that now though). If we look at it on a general plane, we’ll probably find domination and roleplays (assigned and accepted) on the forefront. Over centuries, we’ve developed an idea of accepted physical appearance, both culturally and otherwise, which subjects us not just to body-shaming on a regular basis, but also compels us to maintain that ideal figure just for the sake of others. We worry too much even about a little extra fat on the waist, or a little body hair in our arms. And many times, we confuse this with healthy living, not realizing that we may be in fact abusing both of body and mind. The key is to maintain ourselves without exerting any more pressure than necessary to the extend that we are indeed happy.

While the main victims of this phenomenon are women, no one is truly exempted. By and large, the parents and immediate relatives are the main perpetrators of this ‘unorganized crime’. In my own country, after the daughter reaches a certain age, she is paraded in weddings and functions, dressed up modestly and introduced in a casual and noncommittal way. For this same reason, I’ve seen such girls laughing or complaining about how their mothers restrict their food intake to maintain their ‘figure’. Over the course of life, these kids feel that they need to keep the compliments coming in throughout their life, even at the cost of their personal comfort. Which often forces people to take extreme diets rather than eat healthy and happy, and workout to support the system.

Don’t we have celebrities who have been body-shamed? Vin Diesel, Vidya Balan, Selena Gomez, Celine Dion, Leonardo Di Caprio….the list goes on. No one is spared. We have concerned family, relatives and fans worried about the too little or extra fat in us, when more often than not, they’re nothing more than empty vessels making noise. It’s high time we begin looking into ourselves, and not into others for more than what is required. The body may be the evidence of life, but the mind is the evidence of actual living!

16 thoughts on “Body Shaming Saga

  1. Very genuine and good post….. I can myself relate to people validating me after my pregnancy. Every now and then we are judged based on how we are fat, slim or average. I think people should see beyond the body factor and understand that everyone is different and their bodies too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly. I was constantly picked on as a hirsute child. Once, after I visited a friend with my good-looking mother, the maid seemingly asked my friend if I’m really my mother’s daughter. And she told this to me laughing. I was around 13 or 14 then, and I felt extremely bad. Yes, I’ve come a long way since then, but the saga of body shaming others still continues.
      Thank you for taking the time to read 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Nisha! I absolutely loved this write-up! As a victim of body shaming, my main activity during my free time was coming up with smart-ass excuses/ reasons about why I’m so thin!
    Coming to Kerala used to be such a torture during my childhood. People assessing me from head to toe to see if I’ve put on grams of weight! I would try to wear clothes that would cover my twig-like hands.
    I thought I’d put on weight after having a baby, but no such luck. In this journey, I’ve come to realize that most times its the people who have a fair share of inferiority complex and esteem issues who go around body shaming (not our grannies, their thinking is just different. Im talking about people in their 40s and 50s).

    I’ve found my peace in just being thin. And people can continue asking me.. “enda, veetil bhakshanam therunnillye..?” I shrug, smile and pray that their self-esteem improves.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Many times, it’s concealed frustrations that prompt people to go down on others. Sometimes it’s simply to be the center of attention. Now if you take the social media, people simply tend to be careless and pride themselves in making others uncomfortable.

      Our body is our own. While any constructive or genuine advise is always acceptable, we should be able to disregard the rest. And teach our kids that hygiene and good presentation is more important than trying to simply look good for the sake of compliments.

      Like

  3. I can feel this message..it’s as if thin/skinny is the only acceptable body type and your body type/weight represents how healthy you are. All body types are beautiful in their own ways. 💜

    Like

  4. Great post! In my opinion, people who body shame others are the shallowest, pettiest people around! And any amount of weight gain is normal for any new mom. Thank you so much for addressing this! Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The world will never accept someone. If we aren’t happy being ourselves, we are allowing them to prove their unacceptance.

    Liked by 1 person

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