Body Positivity in Pakistan: A Much-Needed Phenomenon
There are now more and more people advocating for body positivity in the country
The body positivity movement has reached Pakistan and we’re here for it. But it will take a lot of time and patience to normalize the concept and change people’s mindset about beauty standards in the country.
In a culture where we give priority to whether a girl’s body is healthy enough for child bearing when looking for a wife, the damage is significant making us realize we have a long way to go. But all hope is not lost, there are now more and more people advocating for body positivity in the country.
But let’s talk about what body positivity is first! A lot of people are under the misconception that the body positivity movement is about promoting obesity and an unhealthy lifestyle. But that’s not true! The concept of body positivity is simple: let people feel comfortable in their own bodies. Don’t hate on them, don’t shame them and don’t be mean. No matter what body type, people deserve basic human decency and respect. And you’re not giving them that if you make them feel bad about their bodies!
Many people jump to defend their fatphobia by saying they are only concerned about people’s health. But they need to understand: people who have weight concerns are very aware of them. So people can relax and allow others to worry about their own health.
After all, we all sometimes indulge in activities that are less than healthy for us. We eat unhealthy food, smoke, take soft drinks and do not exercise regularly. This is pretty harmful for our bodies as well! But the amount of hate that people who don’t look the ‘ideal weight’ get is alarming.
All hope, however, is not lost because of closed Facebook groups like Plus Size Pakistan. The group is a safe space for women who don’t meet the unrealistic beauty standards of our society. The main features of this group are: acceptance, kindness, body-positivity and confidence, and celebrating different kinds of bodies. It is an incredibly positive space where women learn to love their bodies and share their struggles with body shaming.
Moreover, celebrities and social media influencers in Pakistan have also been advocating for the movement. Lawyer-turned-comedian Faiza Saleem has also spoken against body shaming quite often as she herself has experienced her fair share of unsolicited advice on ways to lose weight. Another local celebrity who has been known for loving her curves is Hareem Farooq.
However, body positivity isn’t just for people who aren’t skinny. It is for anyone who doesn’t meet the superficial and alienating body standards set for us by one dimensional fashion industries. They hire tall, skinny, fair models who are far from representative of real women that exist around us (and are ironically the market they are advertising to). Who are these clothes being made for when most people don’t even look like the models wearing them? On top of that, photos of models are further edited and photo-shopped to fit the society’s set standards of beauty.
Why are we not inclusive of natural body types? It’s time to unlearn and reject these beauty standards being sold to us and show respect, acceptance and kindness to people of all bodies types.