”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, like a stick!”
”You know, you’re really pretty for a dark person.”
”You just don’t look Indian, you’re too fair!”
”Drink some milk, you are so short! You must 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. If you haven’t, you have probably been the perpetrator- sometimes even unintentionally.
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. When you get dressed to go out, you don’t leave your house without glancing in the mirror, and if what you see isn’t what you imagined, 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 tend to keep on changing ourselves till the “mirror” approves.
Would you be okay with changing yourselves for others, and if you have done that before, ask yourselves- has it given you any true joy or inner peace? When I was first told to write this article, I thought of doing heavy research and talking about huge and perplexing terms related to body shaming. But I decided against it. All I want to do is simplistically communicate to you that even a simple, casual remark can shatter someone and have a huge impact on 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 would always brush them off, having convinced myself that they were nothing but jokes oozing with platonic love. Unfortunately, by embracing that illusion, I failed to recognize that these jokes had a negative impact on me. I was slowly but steadily getting very self-conscious. 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 utterly disgusted me. I found that I was losing every bit of the love and respect that I had for myself. Thankfully, I soon realized that I needed to stop falling prey to the vicious cycle of insecurities.
Who are these people and why do we constantly feel the need to feed off of their validation to thrive? Why do they hold so much significance in our lives? Why is it that we get so hurt over a stranger’s comments, and 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 that beauty lies within? Why is putting somebody down so much easier for us than pulling them up?
NOBODY, I repeat, NOBODY should have the power to force you into morphing yourself into a clone reflecting the toxic beauty standards that haunt the women in 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 the power to make those choices for you! The day you realise that, trust me, you will feel beautiful from within and without. 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. (Might as well replace it with that really fancy mirror from snow white- because there is no one prettier than you!)
So to all of you out there reading this, love yourself and enjoy life not for anybody else, but for yourself, just for yourself!