by:Nandini Misra,16

 ”Oh my god! You have put on so much weight, why don’t you go on a diet?you will look so much better!”

”Why don’t you eat? you look so thin and weak just like a stick!”

”You know you have really good features for a dark person.”

”You just don’t look Indian, look how fair you are!”

”Drink some milk, you are so short! I am sure you stand right in front in your class line!”

”So, how’s the weather up there?”

I am sure at least once in your life, you have been subjected to one of these statements or if you haven’t, you probably have been perpetrator, maybe unintentionally, but you definitely have.

Not accepting someone because of how they look, mocking someone, passing comments or judging someone based on their physical appearance is what body shaming essentially means. If you are a perpetrator of this heinous act, you need to immediately stop.

Let me put it as simply as I can, people view this world as a mirror-we live in a dystopian world ruled by appearance. I am sure when you get dressed to go out, you don’t leave your house without checking how you look in the mirror (I can’t be the only one) and if what you see isn’t what you imagined you would look like, you change, and you keep on changing till your mirror approves. Let’s go back to the first line, “People view this world as a mirror”. We keep on changing ourselves till the “mirror” approves.

I would like to ask you a question, would you be ok with changing yourselves for others, and if you have already done that, ask yourselves, has it given you any true joy or inner peace? When I was first told to write this article, I thought I would do heavy research and talk about huge and perplexing terms related to body shaming. But I decided against it. All I want to do is simplistically communicate to you about how much a simple, casual remark can shatter someone and practically change their life.

Let me narrate a short incident. I once had a friend, we were quite close but occasionally somewhere in between friendly banters he would pass condescending remarks about my height, my complexion and my weight. I used to always brush off those comments, having convinced myself that they were nothing but jokes oozing with platonic love. Unfortunately, by embracing that illusion I failed to timely recognize just how much of a negative impact these so-called jokes were having on me. I was slowly but steadily getting very conscious about self-image -the once ever-confident girl was losing all her confidence. I wanted to change every minute thing about my appearance for somebody else and that feeling utterly disgusted me, I found myself loosing every bit of respect and love I had for myself. Thankfully I had an awakening and realized I needed to stop falling prey to the vicious cycle of insecurities.

Who are these people and why do we constantly need to feed on validation from them to thrive? Why do they hold so much significance in our lives? Why is it that we get so hurt over some mere stranger’s comments, why is it that we trust our friends when they comment on our pictures saying that we look good, but find it difficult to tell it to ourselves? Why does everyone have to go through something similar or probably worse to understand the value each of us holds? Why is pulling somebody down so much easier for us than pulling them up ?

NOBODY, I repeat NOBODY should have so much power that they are able to force you into morphing yourself into a clone reflecting the toxic beauty standards that haunt our society. You are your OWN boss, you have the right to decide how to look, how to act, and how to feel. No one other than YOU should have this right! The day you realise that, trust me you will feel euphoric and beautiful and that for me is body positivity. Take that mirror and smash it into thousand little pieces if it doesn’t let you live in peace. (I suggest you replace your mirror with that really fancy mirror from snow white- because there is no one prettier than you!)

So to all of you out there, love yourself and enjoy life not for anybody else, but for yourself, just for yourself!

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