Body shaming is a concept well known to almost everyone today.It is so common and intricately threaded into our day to day lives that mostly we don’t even notice it. For example, we have a very popular television show – The Kapil Sharma Show – where a man called Kapil Sharma is the host and conducts humorous interviews with celebrities. He has a team of very talented comedians, mostly males, who dress up as females and play the female character equally well. One of the male (dressed as female) who is fat is always the basis of jokes revolving around overweight. Until now, out of all the celebrities who came there for interviews, I have never seen anyone objecting to this body shaming. This is just one example. There are so many instances around us where we allow such things to happen and they later negatively affect us or a close one.
On the positive side, there are celebrities, fitness enthusiasts who fight against it and I just keep wishing why didn’t it happen when I was a child.
I was not obese in my childhood but gained a lot of weight after puberty due to a very common female disease called PCOD. Whenever I used to go out to a shop, or in a garden – there were always people staring, calling me names, making jokes, commenting. As a child, it was heart breaking for me. I used to come home and cry all by myself locked in a bathroom. But I was still satisfied that atleast my parents love me. Until, one day, a typical Indian aunty said to my parents, “She is looking like your sister.” And my own parents called me fat. My father yelled at mom and sarcastically said, “Please make more sandwiches for her now. Please make her drink two more glasses of milk.” I was devastated then and there. I went to the bathroom, but instead of crying this time, I started punching myself on the stomach – just in case it gets reduced. And I must have punched myself really hard, because next morning my skin was all blue. I couldn’t tell that to my parents and I guess that was the time when I first lost connection with them. After that, wherever I went I just tried to hide myself, nerve participated in any game or cultural event, never talked to too many people. I lost my confidence, my identity. No one around me knew I even existed.
It continued till I turned 20. When I was in college second year, I started running and reduced weight. I have always been a morning person. I love the morning breeze, the light, silence, birds, the smell of purity and no people at all – anywhere (people turn into nocturnal creatures during college years). So, I casually started morning walks which turned into jogging then running and in no time I started losing weight. I am still in love with running though.
But what really scares me is that my future children are going to be part of a society which values – your body dimensions, your weight, height – much more than your dreams, accomplishments, ambition, IQ, emotional quotient. When I open Quora to answer questions about fitness, I see questions like “How can I reduce 30 kgs in 15 days?” or “How can I reduce just my hips?”. I mean that is ridiculous. People need to understand that we are much more than just our physical appearance. There are so many companies who thrive on our insecurities. In teenagers, it is even cause of anxiety, depression and suicidality.
No one else is going to fight for us. It is our responsibility that we should feel no less in any manner due to others’ actions or words. I lost my most precious childhood days due to this and I do not want anyone else end up like this.
If any of you ever had an experience around body shaming and you want to share – I am all ears. 🙂