Nepal | January 18, 2019

Shape has no size: Stop body shaming

Grishma Ojha

Body weight, image, self-worth, self-confidence are now social problems that we commonly tend to ignore. Body shaming is atrocious, leaving none behind and tough to escape because of the endless harsh comments and limitless pair of eyes scanning you

Illustration: Ratna Sagar Shrestha/THT

The pressure of always wanting to look good and the need to look good are contagious. And I am almost sure many of us reading this silently agrees to this. I have always been plump and on the higher side of the weighing scale.

This is just me, who puts a big wide smile every now and then in this naturally tanned skin with couple layers of fat under the chin and hiding my dimples under those cheek’s fat. This piece of writing is not about the amount of body fat I carry but the stings of feelings and sentiments that a bulky person usually have.

We live in this era of assumed perfection where imperfections like above get scrutinised and moreover, if you are a girl, the tough gets going. My dear, you are not alone if you’ve been eyed on for being too skinny or being fat, let go your skin colour.

Many young girls struggle with this issues of body image consequently affecting their self-worth and confidence. The fear of being constantly judged and having to worry about what you wear and how you look is exhausting and an indiscernible pressure that many of us comply with.

I wish the concept of beauty standards and the perception of looking slim and sexy had various meanings and not succumb ourselves to any particular trend; the thigh gaps or A4 size waists.

There was a time I felt that I didn’t fit in among my friends, family members because I was always questioned regarding my abilities due to my body weight.

As a teen, I was always conscious, nervous, and timid because I ended up thinking I would never be liked by anybody for being who I was. With time and practising acceptance, self-confidence and self-worth found a home in me. I now know how and when to count my blessings because my body fat is not going to define me every damn time.

One thing I firmly believe now is that the weighing scale just shows my weight, not my worth. My relationship equations always fall on the radar of how flat my belly is and some of my friendships still tug in-between the embarrassment zone.

I didn’t realize how love came in all sizes and when I say sizes they are from 0-12. Anything beyond that is just an extra dosage of friend-zoned but I still like to believe that love is freedom; freedom of being yourself. Love is absence of judgement.

To worsen it, the societal factors play some undeniable mockeries — from finding a life partner to the bargains I need to make with the tempo drivers. Body shaming has always been a controversial issue, globally and in a country like Nepal, it marvels.

Body weight, image, self-worth, self-confidence are now social problems that we commonly tend to ignore.

Body shaming is atrocious leaving none behind and tough to escape because of the endless harsh comments and limitless pair of eyes scanning you. The victims are habitually labelled and often denoted as emotions.

The squabble here is not about looking good but opting for a healthier lifestyle. We regularly find ourselves worrying about the body image rather than our medical or mental image which is far more important. For say, depression, anxiety, panic attack or even sometimes finishing your own life needs more attention than ever.

Body shaming is also about the unrealistic approach, why? Because we are often quarried by the social media and its validation to an extent. When media meets the advisory and opinion levels, it can’t get any better because it is the media who obscures the truth and portrays a delusional reality. We are not shying away from the truth how the media stereotypes beauty, especially the standards, and the fact is almost all of us plunge into the ruse of media for validation.

The maid’s role is often portrayed by a tanned person while a plump person is habitually portrayed as slow, lazy, and incapable of doing things and beauty pageants only choose a person who is as tall as 5 feet 6 inches.

Media has been fiercely hitting us in the grounds of body shaming, resulting in our struggles with self, confidence, and willingness to move forward and yet the setback because of the invisible and undeniable force that’s coming in.

The victims are definitely trying to make a healthier lifestyle and hoping to be a better version than yesterday. The olive skin is still quietly applying some homemade masks every night, the bulky person is still choosing to wear monochrome coloured clothes to look slender, the petite person still looks for the vertical patterns while they shop and more.

This isn’t easy and it won’t be until the fact that we accept people for how they are and who they are. Here is only wishing we could school our society that it is absolutely passable being different; different that our shape or size never defines us and acquiescent of the differences that make us so unique in our own ways and styles.

Those ogling at skin colour, love handles, big breasts, curvy thighs and protruding belly we simply want you to know that our body isn’t a perfect fairytale; it’s more of a Pixar film — the good, the not so good yet beautiful.


A version of this article appears in print on December 25, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.


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