I don't think I have a single friend or acquaintance who hasn't expressed a desire to change how they look. From how their hair falls to the side of their face to how their belly flops when they sit down, from their stretchmarks to their unibrow, everything is a problem. As a Bengali woman with a propensity towards all things sweet, I am guilty of feeling this exact same way from time to time. And the society is not of much help either.
If popular media is to be believed, we are never fair enough, skinny enough, tall enough or basically just enough, period. As if that is the only way to be. Frankly, it is infuriating and the pressure is mindboggling. An aunt that I meet after ages will indubitably scan me from top to bottom and if I have put on weight, I will be inevitably shamed for it. And if I look leaner, the obvious conclusion would be that my mother is not feeding me even if I do not live with my mom.
How on earth did body shaming becoming the new cool? How are we so complacent and comfortable in critiquing someone for how they look? To appease the aspirational person in us, brands will go to any extent to convince us that a beauty cream is all that it takes to change our life.
And this is to not say that men are exempt from being ridiculed for their bodies. Because being manly has come to imply an image which many men can't identify with. This causes us to harbour many insecurities about ourselves which are only triggered by our external surroundings, the music we listen to, the films and tv shows we watch, the people we talk to and those we follow on social media.
But there is also a silver lining. More and more people are speaking out about how body shaming is detrimental to one's mental and physical health. About how pervasive is the practice - from the corridor of schools to Facebook inboxes. It is important for us, as individuals, to understand the difference between being healthy and trying to emulate something just because it is a fad.
And if you have ever been the victim of body shaming, online or in your real life, fight back, make yourself heard. Even if it is a friend or family member talking about someone else, give them a piece of your mind.
Beauty sure lies in the eyes of the beholder, in that, we need to be accepted for who we are. Irrespective of our fashion sense and the bodies that we inhabit and the way we carry ourselves. We can and we do change with time and the onus should be on us, to be the best version of ourselves. Not on anyone else.
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