“My body judgment started the minute I got on the treadmill. She was staring at the display of my treadmill the whole time. I kept glancing at her out of the corner of my eye, and there she was. Staring, Watching my every move. It made me feel very awkward and self-conscious. I was already apprehensive about being in the gym, because I felt like everyone would point and laugh at my body. And there she stood, ogling at me, proving me right and I hated her for it. I screamed at her in my head, begging her to stop staring.”
Even in today’s world, we judge a woman by her body, her appearance, her fat content and her waistline. This is just one of the many incidents of body shaming my friend told me. And where I am just listening, she has to face it in real world. Is it justified and acceptable? To hurt someone? Laugh at them? Hit their confidence hard? And make them feel so useless and unlovable? Almost everyone has an opinion on a woman’s appearance, especially if she is curvy or “fat” as people call it. From the length of her skirt to her fat legs, the tightness of her jeans to the depth of her cleavage, from the size of her T-shirt to the size of her waist; we are all guilty of judging a woman, sometime or other in our life. But it’s high time now and this problem of body shaming and body obsession has got to stop.
Women’s bodies are scrutinized, analyzed, criticized every day. And not just being curvy or fat or obese, people have a problem if you are skinny as well. On one hand if you are “foodie and round and big “on other hand you will be called “anorexic, under-nourished and skeletal. “Society wants you to be perfect, no matter how imperfect, flawed and dirty society herself is. The fact that people judge women because they doesn’t fit their idea of being “acceptable” seems to be a widespread problem. Not only does this hurt women that are being shamed and is incongruous, but also detrimental for our development.
‘Look at her!! She is about to burst’
‘You better start eating salad for lunch, you need to lose weight’
Eating bananas and milk early in the morning will help you gain weight’
‘Come with me to gym, it will do wonders for you’
‘You desperately need to eat, your clothes are hanging’
‘Why don’t you wear a size bigger, it’s not decent’
‘You better wear kurtas or suits with that much weight’
‘Chocolates and Pizzas are not for you girl’
These are some of the body shaming comments we come across almost daily. Advices come pouring in from every corner and we are often told and forced to change our appearance. Internet and magazines and advertisements constantly offer tips about how to lose weight quickly, become size zero, get a surfboard belly and hide your imperfections without actually knowing anything about us, our lives, our routines and much less our appearances. These popular discussions and ads and advices are all a part of the same thing, “Perfect-body attacks on women.”
In this age of weight watchers, diets and surgeries, we often forget that its not the body or appearance that matters, but your talent and capabilities. What matters is how equipped you are in confronting the world and your problems, how educated and intelligent you are, how independent you are, how smartly you do your job and move ahead in life. And there are examples of such personalities in our real life, who choose reality over anything, fake and pompous. But we choose to ignore them and simply follow all false standards of beauty and perfection. Be it Bollywood or Hollywood, actors are judged and appreciated more for their looks and their bodies than their performances. And swayed by them, we all seem to be in a blind mechanical race to achieve that perfect body and skin. While their goals and discipline is admirable, it is hardly relatable for the rest of us.
Hating our bodies, putting it in pressure and constantly questioning ourselves won’t take us anywhere. We won’t gain anything but will surely lose our peace of mind. We live and breathe in a shallow society where every billboard on a traffic signal is of a perfect celebrity flaunting their chiseled bodies or some random product promising you an ideal waist and buttocks. We live in a society where a woman’s weight is treated like a fiery issue, instead of treating it like what it is – no one’s business. Even new mothers aren’t left off the hook. Despite knowing how sensitive postpartum is for women, we show absolutely no empathy towards her health or new routine or sleepless nights she has been facing for weeks. Apart from various other pressures she is handling, we put an added pressure of participating in a race to lose the gained weight as early as possible. Many of us try following celebrities who are often applauded for going to the gym regularly and gaining their svelte body back after giving birth, but what about millions of followers who don’t have the facilities to meet those same expectations???
I have no grudges against having a healthy lifestyle, but an obsession to achieve a perfect lean body is what I find unhealthy. The idea of advocating that only one type of body is flawless and attractive is what I find unhealthy. In an age where simply having a belly could lead to the implication of being pregnant, where people feel shameful in wearing size L, are highly influenced by celebrities and models and social media, and where regular or large women are often made to go through stroppy comments and sarcastic smiles, we need a change. A desperate change of mindsets.
Its high time that women should start loving their bodies and focus on being healthier and happier, rather than running after society’s ideal measurements and tormenting themselves in the process.
Because all that matters in the end is, how much we have smiled and laughed and lived this life, not that we had a flat belly or a double chin or a perfect jawline.