I always was a thin girl…not underweight or skinny. And I still am quite slender. During my growing years, I was called a stick and thus I wore either loose clothes or layer them to look ‘normal’. It was disgustingly saddening – hell yes! I tried everything which anyone told me – increased meal portions with spoonful of butter, exercise, banana-shakes, etc. You name it and I might have done it. I was so desperate that if someone would have told me to do a hand-stand, I would have done that too. However, somewhere during my college days, MTV and Fashion TV became a rave and I started loving the way I was. Gawd, the infuence they had on me!! When someone told me I was thin, I slyly told them to watch Fashion TV. With time, I realized that no matter what I tried to gain weight, I will stay the same as my mother’s side of the family is thin. Eureka! Now, when someone compliments me on my thin waist, I confidently say ‘I am genetically blessed’ (fluttering my eyes). Yes, I am as I never have to diet or count calories. I learnt that I would achieve more with a change of attitude that I can with a change of my physical appearance. I accepted myself!! Woohoo…
In India, a curvaceous figure is a sign of a healthy woman (read: child-bearing) and when I see body shaming coming from the adults, especially under the guise of a body image crusade for looking pretty or beautiful, it really rubs me the wrong way. I was under the same myth but oddly, when my ‘thin’ friends got married and had babies…that last myth broke too.
Underweight people are often trying to find ways to gain weight. Similar is the case for overweight people. Presumptuous statements like ‘You obviously don’t eat that much’ or ‘You must work out all the time’ are so ignorant. I have met people simply struggling to change what they eat due to their body structure – overweight or underweight. I have heard overweight people say, “but I don’t eat that much,” and I used to say, “but I eat a lot”. It’s because it’s biologically difficult for me to eat more, and it’s biologically difficult for them to eat less. We (from ANY size spectrum) may not have eating disorders, but how our nature dictates our appetite varies – and that sometimes makes us bigger or smaller than some defined ideal weight.
Today teenage girls are influenced with fashion, entertainment industry and peer pressure, I feel sad to see them struggle with their body-type and suffer from self-esteem issues (I went through it too!!). The women that we see walking down the ramps or advertisements promoting weight-loss in 2 weeks by having a bowl of cereal in the morning and one at dinner to look curvy in a wedding – truly are not “real women” They are photo-shopped women or who belong to an industry which pays them to look a certain way. The Dove Ad promotes ‘all-size’ women are beautiful earns an applaud. I was totally hooked!
I definitely think models of diverse body types would be a good step in helping to send that message to younger girls. I must say that I feel like too much emphasis is put on fat, skinny, etc. Instead we should be focusing on body acceptance. Wouldn’t it be a whole lot better? Media is trying to define what a “real woman” is. The term is “real women have curves”. I don’t have “curves” but I am definitely real.
This is what people need to understand. I don’t know where the judgment of other people’s bodies comes from…but we can try to diffuse it when and where we can. We shouldn’t promote a weight category or body shape by saying the other is ‘not worth it‘. Because this means we are doing the exact same thing as the people we are trying to fight.
So to the girls with their sizes – who have curves and to those who don’t – YOU are beautiful and nobody should tell you otherwise. Don’t disparage someone because of media or industry defines as “real”.
Why, though, is such body talk targeted at women?
I imagine that for a man the opposite is true because society says they are “supposed to be” bigger. Suppose to be SO!! In actuality we are “supposed to be” how we are made. Objective beauty is related thing like symmetry and proportionality. The rest is personal preference and social construction.
Dear friends – No matter the direction in which the scale is pointing to, be happy in your own skin and celebrate difference until it becomes normal.