The Breakthrough Voice 29th October, 2018

On Fat-Shaming: Not Letting People Be Comfortable In Their Own Skin.

Our minds grow as we age and with time, we get awarded with more intelligence and matureness. But have we become mature enough to understand the conscience of the matter? Let’s see.

When I was in school, I used to make fun of students who were a little on the chubbier side. I still remember when Preeti (made up name) used to walk, I used to say, “It feels like an earthquake”. This silly act of mine made classmates burst out in laughter.

I was not a vicious bully, but in many scenarios, I used to make fun of people. When I see myself now, I can observe how much I have changed as a person. But it frustrates me that I cannot change everyone in this world. So now whenever I see someone cracking a joke about someone being overweight or fat-shaming others, I feel strongly against it. I want to share an incident with you on the same issue:

I live with my mother and younger brother in a rented house. We have just shifted to a new place because the earlier one was not spacious enough for three people. At my previous place of residence, there was a girl next door who was my age. Let’s say her name was Ritika (again, made up name). We never talked much, just exchanged greetings whenever we saw each other.

Have we become mature enough to understand the conscience of the matter?

She was subject to regular fat-shaming. There was a park near my house which I visited during weekends. One such day on my usual evening walk, when I caught sight of Ritika. She was running and gasping. We, as usual, exchanged smiles and said hi to each other. There was a bench nearby, so I asked if we could just sit for a moment. She agreed.

We talked about some things we enjoyed in common – such as upcoming Bollywood movies. She also spoke about her studies and future plans. I don’t know when we started sharing personal feelings in which she told me how embarrassed she feels sometimes because of her weight. Whenever someone mocks her about being overweight, she feels unhappy.

Her little brother sees someone who is plus sized on television, he says, “See Di, you are on TV now” and starts laughing. She added that she has started regular jogging because somewhere it feels like her parents get mortified when they are seen with her. I could sense how downhearted she was talking about it.

I tried to make her feel comfortable in her own skin and figure. I also told her how I used to be the same person during school, but now I have changed. That like me, one day, those people too will understand. Days passed on and that incident left my mind and later I shifted to a new place. But I still wonder whether she is experiencing insecurity or perhaps she would have understood how to make peace with herself and a very judgmental, fat-shaming society.

Stop fat-shaming people and let’s talk about how strong and beautiful people are – irrespective of what they look like and how much they weigh.

Fat-shaming is not an unimportant issue. We encounter such incidents almost daily in our lives but we do nothing because we, of course, complacently think that we should not poke our nose into anyone else’s matters.

It’s not just people like us who face this issue. It happens regularly on a more public scale – to celebrities like Sonakshi Sinha, Vidya Balan, and Huma Qureshi, who have become frequent victims of fat-shaming. They, inspirationally, stood their ground against fat-shaming by being vocal about and proud of their figures.

I am not saying who is right and who is wrong – I don’t wish to judge. I just wish people would stop interfering in other people’s lives. Society is too keen on pressurizing plus-sized people to look a certain way. They make sure to make others feel uncomfortable about their own size and body type.

To all those family and community members who parade their mocking mindset – I request you to now put this ridiculous habit to an end. Stop fat-shaming people and let’s start talking about how strong and beautiful people are – irrespective of what they look like and how much they weigh. Stop getting agitated when people occasionally eat junk food – let them breathe, for god’s sake.

Also Read: Is Taunting Harmful? Or Are We Being ‘Too Sensitive’?

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