I don’t understand why “You’re so thin, why don’t you eat something?” is not considered rude, whereas, “You are so fat, lose some weight!” is downright unacceptable? Do you see the irony? Since people these days have begun to realise the harm of skin-colour shaming and fat-shaming and the emotional distress it causes, I think it’s about the time society realises that skinny shaming is not any better.
I have grown up watching weight gainer ads on television and being called maachis ki tili (match stick-like) and flat-chested. I still get comments like “aisa lagta hai hanger par kapde latka diye hai“, “khaya piya karo, udd jaogi“, “tumhare kapde toh kid section se hi mil jate honge“, “you are just a skeleton” and whatnot. These comments bothered me more because it came from my friends, relatives and colleagues.
I used to laugh it off earlier but now I don’t find it funny anymore.
There have been several instances where I was shamed for the way I look. It shook me when someone told me that “Your body is not suitable for the profession you have chosen, your clients won’t take you seriously and won’t even listen to you”. And I fail to see how one’s body type and bodyweight are the factors deciding the profession one should be in over their skills and abilities.
These comments were thrown at me since my college days and slowly I started distancing myself from everyone and went into a shell. I avoided going to social gatherings as I was anxious and afraid that anyone who saw say the same insulting things to me.
My parents never told me that I am skinny and weak, they always asked me to eat well because what matters the most to them is that I am healthy and happy and not what I look like.
It was last year when I finally understood that there is a difference between being shamed and feeling shamed.
I had low self-esteem and I hated my body for the longest time. However, I eventually realised that blaming others for what I feel is not okay, there are times when it is someone else’s fault but instead of deflecting, I need to take responsibility and check and accept myself first.
I chose ownership and decided to work on myself first. I am still skinny but these comments don’t bother me anymore and just because I am an XS doesn’t mean I am finished or weak.
I have been running free mental health support groups and talk about self-love through videos and captions and use social media to offer support, raise awareness, educate, inform and inspire. It empowers me to see people opening and accepting their vulnerabilities. Though I am still trying, my biggest goal in life is to accept myself the way I am. And I know this will take time.
Body Shaming Is Not Okay. Whether you are hurting them by calling fat, black or skinny, the damage is the same.
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