Sometimes, just an ordinary act of walking out of confined walls into the real world can bring up so many challenges.
The moment I walked up to the shopkeeper, he stared at me from head to toe, halted his gaze at my breasts and back to my face.
Twenty-six years and I’m still not used to being objectified. Yes used to, because isn’t that what we are expected to do, either become gatekeepers of our own safety or suck up the salt?
I have always been bigger or taller, or heavier or ‘unhealthy’. The list goes on but the fact remains. I am not averagely sized. I am not your eye’s pie nor will I ever be.
I am the one that will stare you back for every time you look into my direction. I am the thunder to your shaky flight. And I will keep judging you till the time you take me at face value.
I cannot even keep an account of how many people I know or meet in my daily life that have gone through similar experiences.
The friend who is too skinny, the one who has the prettiest eyes, the one with the shiny hair, the one with the most beautiful soul, the one with the strongest sense of emotion, even the one who might just change the world in two years, the strongest of sailors, have been interrupted by wild winds of self-destruction. And for what? Women spend their entire lives in self-doubt.
I know more than a handful of girls who have grown up to be insecure young women contrary to the carefree bold and strong minds they entail. I may be just one of them. I am not sure. The uncertainty surfaces, flying through the window like the dust that settled on it last night, every time I’m forced to look inwards.
I blame us all. Women telling women to change, parents telling children to groom themselves better, friends calling friends names because they think they are privileged or anyone telling anyone what they believe the other should do in order to be better versions of themselves. And eventually, we tell our bodies that they are not good enough.
I want to make one thing very clear here, I’m not an advocate of unhealthy lifestyles nor am I a campaigner of self-defense ego fanatics.
No one appreciates outward criticism in the age where people struggle with internal conflicts on daily basis. Neither do the critics realize the impact they will forever leave on an impressionable young mind still developing perceptions of the world and society. Being a critique is not pardoned unless you are constructive and first, your own.
So if you have ever been “advised” on the methodologies of the female body, you better get up, take a stand for yourself, go stand in front of the mirror, strip down and kiss your own awesome self.
Here is a little list of connotations that some of us might have come across at least once in our lifetime (I know I have):
- Tum Thoda weight kam karoge to bahut sundar lagoge
- If you don’t lose weight, no one will ever marry you
- I really like you but I’d date you if you dropped a few pounds.
- Obese people are unhealthy!
- When are you joining the gym?
- Ye kya haal bana Rakha hai?
- You’re so pretty BUT you’ll look even prettier (keyword – hotter) once you start working out.
- Tumhari Shaadi to halwai se hogi (a la family)
- Don’t sit on that chair. It might break.
- How much do you really weigh?
- Dude, you were so thin, what happened, how did you grow ass and boobs?- (ummmm its called Evolution)
- How does a guy bear your weight?
- You’re too strong for me ! (and that’s bad how?)
- When I was your age, I had a tiny waist.
- You shouldn’t eat this late. Better yet you should never eat
- I’m sure you are a big girl with big needs –(And I have failed to understand the big needs of these big people, so wait, do petite people have limited desires?)
- Fat people can’t really dance! Or They are not flexible.
- You’ll never change
- Insecure much?
- Please wear a longer shirt.
- You can’t go out like that.
- You’ve gained toooo much. I think it’s time you start reflecting.
- Only two chapattis? Is that enough for you?
- You must be hungry.
- What? You want to wear a bikini? LOL
- You should come with me for a jog no?
- You wanted to act? Big fat joke on camera!
- Did you get your thyroid checked? ( like annually )
- You should count your calories.
- Are you diabetic? You know your dad was.
- Do you have a family history of obesity?
Enough! Body shaming is not to be taken lightly anymore. It’s a building block to bigger problems. And trust me when I say that most of the people that take pride in “correcting” you, will be active participants in your life, friends and family included.
Depression and self-destruction of mental health is a not a bilateral discussion anymore. Everything in the most minuscule form can reshape your hopes and dreams. Let’s at least acknowledge we have all fallen prey to believing we could do much better.