With constant scrutiny coming their way, there is just no escaping body shaming for women. Whether you are thin or bulky, tall or short, have broad or narrow hips, someone or the other will find something wrong with your body type and shame you for it. Even when you are Deepika Padukone, there is just no escaping body shaming. Or perhaps, the standards are more unforgiving for you, if you are a female actor.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Deepika Padukone has been body shamed on social media for having a “pot belly”.
  • Our beauty standards are so rigid that we can not even accommodate a little bit of bloating.
  • Just why do we expect Padukone and other women to live by our unattainable standards of physical perfection?

Why is it inexcusable for a woman to have a bulge in her stomach? Must she forever starve herself in a quest for a flat stomach? Must she cancel public engagements because she isn’t allowed to bloat due to her celebrity status?

A tweet trolling Padukone for having “pot belly” received immense criticism on social media, as it didn’t escape people’s attention, how little bulge in her dress was dubbed a belly. Turns out that our beauty standards are so rigid that we can not even accommodate a little bit of bloating. We all have stomachs, intestines, uterus and all vital organs packed in that meagre space we call abdominal cavity. Why then is it inexcusable for a woman to have a bulge in her stomach? Must she forever starve herself in a quest for a flat stomach? Must she cancel public engagements because she isn’t allowed to bloat due to her celebrity status? Just why do we expect Padukone and other women to live by our unattainable standards of physical perfection?

This isn’t the first time Padukone has been body shamed. She has previously been trolled for looking “too skinny” in a photo shoot. The margin of acceptability is so narrow, that majority of women do not fit our ideal body standards. You need to be just the right amount of curvy, but with a flat stomach. How is a woman supposed to have that at all times in her life? Instead of defending Padukone’s “pot belly” we need to question our own unforgiving beauty standards and expectation from her. She must stay fit at all times because that is what we expect of her.

We pin our worth to how we look and not on how we behave. A person who falls in that narrow space of revered body type is an idol for many because they have something that we want.

It is only worse for women who fall short of these standards by miles. Every bulge or lack of it on our bodies is open for assessment. Why? Who gave others the right to judge our bodies? What makes one person beautiful while another ugly? Why should we shame a person for having a pot belly? The answers to these questions lie in our own insecurities when it comes to our self worth. We pin our worth to how we look and not on how we behave. A person who falls in that narrow space of revered body type is an idol for many because they have something that we want. So once they lose it, even by a millimeter we feel entitled to shame them.

It is these unattainable body standards which ingrain body dysmorphia in young impressionable women. Which throw us into an endless cycle of diet fads, desperation, depression and eventually life long dissatisfaction and unhappiness. But if we want to break this cycle than we need to stop measuring people up by outdated body and beauty standards. Padukone or not, there is more to each one of us than the bulge in our bellies, and you will only be able to see what truly matters when you stop scanning everyone for physical flaws.

Feature Image credit : NDTV

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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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