Fat or Thin – Love Your Body
I was sitting at a coffee shop with a few friends the other day. One of my friends, who has been on her own weight loss journey over the course of the year, looked at me and said, “when I get married, I want you to look beautiful and thin, so you have a year or so to get into shape.” I simply smiled and said “don’t worry, I will look fabulous at your wedding.” The conversation moved on in other directions, but inside, I was seething. I know she meant well, but I wanted to yell inside and once she left, I couldn’t help but rant. I turned to another friend who was sitting with me and I told her that I was fairly offended with what I had heard. I said that I was sick and tired of having to deal with other people’s obsession over my body. I have learned to love my body as it is and I don’t understand why my body has to offend or bother anyone else. Just like everyone’s face is unique and different, so are their bodies and if I don’t have a problem with it, why do other people? I was so carried away with my diatribe that I didn’t notice I even had the attention of three women on the next table who looked at me and smiled. They turned to me and said that they felt the same and were quite sick of listening to other people assessing and judging their bodies and offering unsolicited advice. At that moment, we shared a moment of solidarity and in the spirit of that solidarity, I decided to write this post.
Let me insert a quick disclaimer here. No, I am not encouraging you to be unhealthy nor am I saying that don’t lose weight, or stop working out or any such nonsense.
Love your body. It sounds simple and while it should be every person’s right, it has turned into a privilege. We all believe or have believed at some point that our bodies are not worthy of our love. So, instead of loving and accepting our bodies, we evaluate, criticize and punish our bodies into a shape that will be deemed acceptable by society. Your rounded nose, your wide hips, narrow shoulders, breasts that are barely there or much too large, your rounded stomach and curvaceous butt have been stared at, objectified, vilified, criticized and been found unworthy of love by YOU. It is a rare person who I meet who hasn’t ever stared into the mirror and said oh if only my butt was smaller/rounder/larger/narrower/flatter or if only my arms didn’t jiggle, if only my lips were thinner and then turned around with a sad face. These bits that you find ugly, that you have deemed unworthy of love are a part of you. They don’t define you, but they belong to you, your body is not a separate being, you are your body. LOVE YOUR BODY and LOVE YOURSELF.
I have met a lot of women who have lost weight and who look back on old photographs and say, “Oh look, how ugly I was!” Truth be told, I often have to resist the urge to punch them. I want to say to them and to you that being large doesn’t make you ugly. Ugly is only a state of mind. We live in a society, in a world that thrives on objectifying and controlling women through their body. Images in magazines have become objective definitions of what beauty is. Those images of beauty don’t exist in real life. Often women look at pictures of celebrities without makeup, or bad outfits and we judge them because they don’t match up to our lofty ideals of perfect women. Let me tell you the truth, these ideals are manufactured. Every beauty magazine that you look at has an image that is manufactured with makeup, skillful lighting and Photoshop. Sometimes even though we know this, we still judge them and then ourselves because we have been conditioned to do so.
J.K Rowling famously said “fat” is usually the first insult a girl throws at another girl when she wants to hurt her. I mean, is “fat” really the worst thing a human being can be? Is “fat” worse than “vindictive,” “jealous,” “shallow,” “vain,” “boring,” or “cruel?” I think this fairly sums up the current attitude that most have in this world. So many young women are encouraged to be thin rather than to be smart or nice. Are you already smart, nice, educated? Then, it becomes even more imperative to be thin, to be “beautiful” because that’s the ideal. The body is always the focus.
They say we live in a post feminist world where women are independent; we have the right to vote, own property, to live exactly how we please. Yet increasingly us independent woman crave this ideal of beauty more than anything else. Why do we negate all that women fought around the world for in the past century, only to obsess about Katrina Kaif’s “hot” body, to want to be the next Deepika Padukone or Kareena Kapoor instead of the next Indira Gandhi or Sarojini Naidu? I don’t know about you but I often have to battle this issue with my own mother. Years of listening to “you are so pretty, if only you lost a little weight” have made me exhausted. I still tell my mother “isn’t it enough to have a healthy, smart, well-behaved daughter? Or would you rather I be thin and the rest of my personality be damned?” but I have realized it’s never really enough.
It’s about time we all took a stand. To hell with thin privilege and Photoshop! Fat or thin, short or tall, fair or dark, it’s time to set yourself free from what the world thinks you should look like. Be healthy, exercise, love your body and accept yourself just the way you are. If not anything else, I promise you will be happier for it.
Image Sources: Google Images