Bollywood actor Kareena Kapoor Khan, who is married to Saif Ali Khan and has two sons, Taimur and Jeh, took to social media to address the rumours that she was pregnant for the third time. It all started after a picture of hers went viral, with many claiming that she was showing a “baby bump”. However, the actor later quashed the gossip and wittingly replied that it was the result of all the pasta and wine she has been having during her vacation.
The Laal Singh Chaddha actor posted a quirky note on her Instagram account where she also joked about how her husband is done ‘contributing’ to the country’s population. “It’s the pasta and wine guys…calm down…I am not pregnant.. uff….Saif says he has already contributed way too much to the population of our country.”
In a similar instance, a celeb from the west was caught up in a whirlwind of pregnant nay or yay debate. On Sunday, July 10, pop star Nicki Minaj logged onto Instagram Live to answer some burning questions from her fans. One question in particular that continued to surface is, “Are you pregnant?”
“Am I pregnant?” a shocked Minaj said. “Oh, I did mean to tweet this: ‘I’m not fat, y’all, I’m pregnant.’” Shortly after her statement, she switched to a British accent and cheekily responded, “Oh wait, did I say it wrong? I’m sorry. I think I said it wrong. I meant to say I’m not pregnant, I’m fat. But thanks guys for all the congratulatory messages.”
While most of us might laugh at these cheeky responses from celebs, we cannot forget that underneath lies a deeper problem, a regressive gaze that polices women’s bodies. Ever since photoshopped to perfection bikini pictures (mostly skinny which necessarily may not be healthy) became the norm in the jungle of social media, it’s easy to forget what we see isn’t necessarily real. And everyone is so used to seeing flawless pictures of conventionally attractive bodies that anything outside of that realm isn’t valued or worthy. As a result, body shaming is only getting worse and celebrities receive the worst of it.
Kareena Kapoor pregnancy rumours: Everyone deserves a break from scrutiny
I spent a good chunk of my teenage years disliking my body and wishing I had fat in the right places. Now in my late twenties, I wish could look like I did when I was 16. I want my legs to be skinny, my stomach flat, and my thighs cellulite-free again. I have relatives policing my dressing style, asking me to wear loose clothing so as to cover my large behind, and pressuring me to start an exercise regime. It took a lot of crying, consoling and self-love practice to actually appreciate what I have and love my body the way it is.
I didn’t realise that the reason I don’t look 16 is… because I’m not. My body has changed. I’m not a teenager anymore. And perhaps I am in my prime health with, thank heavens, no health scare in sight.
We all change with age. It’s part of life. To pretend otherwise would be foolish.
But social media and the fashion and beauty industry imposed a cruel burden on women by trying to convince us that a thin, ‘conventionally pretty’ body is what all women should strive toward, regardless of our age and life situation.
Any sign of imperfection, particularly being overweight or just bloated in Kapoor’s case, brings immense scrutiny and a woman is expected to justify why she is slipping from the fitness standards set for her. Are you pregnant? Are you not exercising? This top looks tight, maybe you should wear loose pants.
But body-shaming online is not only humiliating; it often has painful, long-term consequences in the real world.
It’s disrespectful to assume a woman’s weight, it’s unacceptable to tell them to cover up and it’s disgusting not to stand up when a woman is asked to put the fork down. Because this ‘perfection’ is seldom real. But our ‘normal’ bodies are. Let women catch a breath, and live the way they want to.