Today, I reject all body-image stereotypes

Anam Shahid Jul 11 2015
bollywood

“I need to lose weight.”

In an everyday-woman’s life, this is a recurring sentence. A majority of women around the globe are ridiculously concerned with their body image, and it makes me wonder why.

Why are women more concerned with losing weight and staying a size zero? Especially when their counterparts, the men, are often seen least bothered about it?

Insecurity looms over most of us as women, especially when it comes to physical appearances. The way we dress, the way we look day in day out, the way our hair is made, or even our nails polished – everything needs to be perfect. In a way, women have become their own worst enemies by becoming besties with their insecurities.

But as much as I would like to blame ourselves, our society as a whole plays a major, in fact the most vital role, in morphing our state of mind to being the “perfect” shape and size.

Pick up any magazine, from Cosmopolitan to Vogue, from She to Fashion Mag, we are presented with such idealistic body standards of beauty and body shape that it often ends up stopping us from loving our own selves.

People might argue that there is nothing wrong if a woman wants to strive to achieve a particular standard of beauty. But that is where the chord of contention lies for me: who is creating these standards for women? Who is anyone to decide that what looks good on a size zero will not look good on a size five?

If you think you look good in tights with your chubby thighs, then that’s your go. If you think you look good in a dress that’s sleeveless with your bulky arms, then that is what is for you. We as women, first and foremost, need to stand in front of the mirror and tell ourselves that we come first. Everyone else is secondary. If we like it, then there is no reason to think about others.

Social media has become a trend in itself, and controls many aspects of our lives. Challenges like the collarbone one or touching your belly button is the root to why women around the world have been brainwashed into becoming “tiny”, “slim” and “petite”. On the other hand, I see how there are women who are plus-sized, showing off their bodies in bikinis, shamming those who criticize them. The question that’s going on in my mind is why can’t we all just be happy with however we are? Is it such a big deal if a skinny girl doesn’t have the curvy features shown in those magazines?

Why these stringent standards?

It is ironic how we only praise artists who have broken through typical stereotypes – not the ones who personify these trends of thin-is-beautiful. The society doesn’t seem to congratulate Adele on losing a few pounds but rather focuses on how many Grammys this young woman has bagged. Same goes for our very top-notch comedian-actress, Hina Dilpazeer. She has knocked the socks off her audiences by coming at par with comedians like the late Moin Akhtar and Bushra Ansari and is recognized for her talent – not her jeans size.

And the list doesn’t end there.

Deepika Padukone has also been a victim of stereotypes as, apparently, she has no curves to her slender body. But did this stop her from being the formidable force that she is? No. Instead, in order to make a statement, when the actress was chosen to play Leela in Ram Leela, she wore lavishing outfits which showed how perfectly she could carry her body just the way she wanted.

Similarly, actresses like Melissa McCarthy and Vidya Balan are recognized for their brilliant acting, which often overlooks what their body shape is. In fact, Vidya Balan gained up to 20 pounds for a film in order to don her role efficiently; ladies, if you want to learn about commitment, then this woman right here proves it. She didn’t care what the world would say; she only knew what she had chosen as her goal – to be one of the best actresses in India, which she is now.

The point I am trying to make is that when these women, who belong to perhaps the most ruthless profession when it comes to female body image, can create a name for themselves with whatever shape they are in, why can’t we? Why do the common women have to keep obsessing over how they look?

Our bodies are meant to come in different size and shapes. Women should understand that before trying to lose their selves to looking like manufactured dolls, they should understand their body and accept it. You can only be loved if you love yourself. It’s a golden rule we are told for ages, but we always forget it in time of need. I’ve seen girls frustrated, mocked and even dumped be peers because of not being able to fit into society’s phenomenon of the “perfect body”.

I myself am not perfect. In fact, I’m nowhere near a size zero or close. But, does that make me any less beautiful? Certainly not. Does it mean that I’m not loved? I love myself enough to not be dependent on anyone. Every women should aim to be healthy instead of trying to be fit. There is a huge difference between becoming skinny and being healthy. I know women who are skinny but not healthy. I don’t understand what good is a perfect body if it isn’t a healthy one?

Instead of trying to be someone else, learn to be yourself first. Live a day truly loving yourself just the way you are and see the difference. Confidence is much sexier than any Victoria secret’s model – I guarantee you.

Anam Shahid

Anam Shahid:

Anam has always been fond of writing and fiddling with words which allows her to not only express herself but pass them beyond. Graduating as a media student at ICMS, creativity comes to her pieces on its own.