An entertainment website has shamed actor Anushka Shetty for her weight and “visible double chin.” The tweet which is being panned on the social networking platform now opines that the actor’s “weight issues are far from over” and that Anushka “looks very heavy and bloated.” The actor was stepping out of Hyderabad airport when she was snapped by the paparazzi. While there is nothing shocking about her physique, the tweet is in bad taste and purely objectifies the actor. Someone of the stature of Shetty in the industry, who has consolidated her position as a sellable star and a good actor, has to endure fat-shaming from an entertainment portal. But sadly, this isn’t something new.

SOME TAKEAWAYS:

  • Anushka Shetty has been fat shamed for her double chin.
  • A website’ twitter handle said that she was looking bloated and very heavy.
  • Even an actor who has proved her talent has to endure fat-shaming.
  • What is shocking here is the objectifying gaze which Shetty and all women who are in the limelight have to endure.

Shetty isn’t the only celebrity who has had to endure fat shaming on social media. Just a few months ago, actor Deepika Padukone was fat-shamed on social media, for having a “pot belly.”

Not just Shetty, the beauty standards for women in the entertainment business are harsh to the extent of being unforgiving. It isn’t just about being thin, you mustn’t have a double chin, or a sliver of extra flab on your tummy or thighs. Just a few months ago, actor Deepika Padukone was fat-shamed on social media, for having a “pot belly.” With paparazzi watching each and every move of theirs closely, celebrities’ ‘flaws’are captured and served instantly on social media for everyone to scrutinise. Shetty perhaps wouldn’t have gotten out of her car after leaving the airport, when these pictures made it to social media. It is daunting how backlash blindsides you these days. One just doesn’t see it coming.

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But then if actors like Shetty or Padukone have to endure fat-shaming the blame doesn’t lie with social media handles which caption pictures such as these as shocking or brazenly call women heavy or bloated. It lies with us too. We fail to see actors as people. They have their ups and downs and struggles in real life. It is not easy to have a photogenic face and maintain an enviable figure at all times. What if Anushka is going through a bad phase in life, or in fact such a good one, that weight issues don’t matter to her right now? What if she has an injury, which prevents her from exercising rigorously? What if she can’t be on a diet right now? But before one begins to ponder over why there could be a plausible excuse for Shetty’s so-called weight issues, let us ask ourselves, what gives entertainment websites and magazines the agency to scrutinise bodies of these women so openly? What role do we as readers and audience play here?

The bitter truth is that for us as the audience, women of the entertainment remain divas, some mythical creatures that embody all that we desire from women in general, when it comes to physical appearance.

Do we love Shetty for her appearance, or for her work? If she is a good actor, then her weight and appearance shouldn’t matter, and that goes for every other female actor. But clearly that is not how it works, in a society where the objectification of women, especially those who appear on the silver screen is so commonplace. The bitter truth is that for us as the audience, women of the entertainment remain divas, some mythical creatures that embody all that we desire from women in general. We refuse to see them as humans, and thus we are unforgiving when they fail to match the standards we have set for them. The website, just reflect what many think and even base their likability for a certain film star on. So, unless the general mind-set changes, women who live in limelight will have no respite from unnecessary and rude scrutiny such as this.

Image Credit: Deccan Chronicle

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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section.  The views expressed are the author’s own.

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