Stories about body-shaming

Dear thin people, I think we need to have a talk

I am five-foot-four, 125 pounds. My measurements are 36-28-38. I wear size medium shirts, size seven jeans, and (in case you were wondering) size eight shoes. I have never walked into a clothing store unable to find items in my size. I have never been asked to pay more for a seat on an airplane. I have never had someone dismiss me as a dating prospect based on my body type, nor had someone scoff, openly, while watching me eat french fries in public. I have never experienced a doctor dismissing my concerns with a “lose weight, feel great” remedy. And I can open an article with my ...

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13 Reasons Why: Hannah lives and dies in all of us

The bathwater, initially clear blue, gradually takes on a pinkish hue. Like rose water, or fresh henna that’s come off of tattooed hands and feet immersed in a bath tub. The water overflows onto the pristine white tiled floor, making it blush. The changing colours mesmerise me. My mind unsuccessfully tries not to focus on the source of that colour. Blood. Blood that oozes out of deep slits in both forearms of a beautiful young girl. Hannah (Katherine Langford) sobs quietly and sighs deeply but refrains from screaming despite the pain from incised sinew, nerves, arteries and veins. Hannah’s muffled groans eventually ...

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Dear Indians, why are we so unfair towards ‘dark’ girls?

Every day you’ll see tonnes of confessions by India’s dark girls (savli, tan, dusky or whatever you would like to call us in the milder version!) on different opinion blogs where they simply blurt out their deepest frustrations. Some have been rejected by their crush/lover, some were shamed by their potential in-laws, and some were even rejected during interviews only because of their colour. And India is not a racist country? Oh please! ‘Dusky beauty’ is something that my ears have been bombarded with ever since I was a teenager. Yeah, not just beauty but dusky beauty! And this is the reason why most of the ...

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13 Reasons Why: If someone told you they were in pain, what would you do?

She is laying in a tub, fully clothed, the water filled to the brim. Her heart is beating; her hands are shaking as she scrapes the blade onto her wrists. There is blood everywhere. There’s blood on her wrists as she shakes over and over again. There’s blood in the water as it tips over the edge of the tub onto the once pristine white floor. I feel my own blood flowing as I watch, glued to my screen. I feel the lub dub of my heart, relentlessly beating. And then I feel emptiness. I feel nothing at all. Note: Before you read ...

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Just because I’m over-weight does not mean I’m pregnant

“Yes I am fat…. Get over it” “Oh congratulations, when are you due?” “I didn’t recognise you!” “Aap tou healthy ho gayi hain.” (You have become healthy.) “MashAllah bari sehat bana li.” (You have gained weight.) “Thori dieting vieting tou try karain.” (You should try to diet.) The recent events in my life have forced me to put my emotions into writing. The above mentioned remarks are just a few of the insults that have become a haunting part of my daily routine. Disappointingly, some of these people are even closely acquainted to me. Pregnancy is a miraculous time period in every woman’s life, especially for someone who ...

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An open letter to my younger self

Dear Tanzila, Today your wish will come true. You will get what you had always wanted. Remember that hair straightener set? Mum has gotten it for you. It has curlers too! But I have some bad news: you will forget about the beloved straightener within three years and never think about it again. Why? Because, you will embrace the hijab as your identity – don’t freak out! You will love it. Today, as the 26-year-old ‘you’, I have reached out to you of the past to share some lessons. Some of them I learned in Sweden, some as I was sitting in a training session ...

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The faults in PEMRA’s decisions

Pakistan Electronic Media Regulation Authority – or PEMRA as we know it – is the body that aims to regulate and monitor content released in Pakistan on television and broadcasting networks.  This is their mandate: 1. Improve the standards of information, education and entertainment; 2. Enlarge the choice available to the people of Pakistan in the media for news, current affairs, religious knowledge, art, culture, science, technology, economic development, social sector concerns, music, sports, drama and other subjects of public and national interest; 3. Facilitate the devolution of responsibility and power to the grass roots by improving the access of the people to ...

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What purpose did Trump’s naked statue serve?

Let’s face it, there are not too many of us out there who are fans of Donald Trump.  I am fairly certain even his kids cringe deep inside right before he goes on stage and opens his mouth. We have all been disgusted when he has made sexist and derogatory comments. His constant bigotry against Muslims is worn on his sleeve as a symbol of pride. He has made fun of people with special needs and has even gone far enough to make hypothetical comments about shooting Hillary Clinton; and then even bragged about that comment having gotten him even more votes. He has used tragic ...

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Mommy tips: How to raise a mini activist

When we hear the word “activist”, we immediately think of khadi clad, jhola carrying men and women braving water cannons and lathi charges. But an activist is one who campaigns for social change of any kind, someone who identifies the rot in society and speaks about it. There are various degrees of activism and similarly various ways of showing dissent. Thomas Jefferson said, “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism” and any thriving society needs such voices. Such conscientious persons are not born but raised. One might feel that preteens are too young to grapple the socio-political dynamics of a complex society, ...

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Azealia Banks and our obsession with her attention-seeking “hairy curry scented Punjab” tweets

My niece is a huge ‘One Directioner’ (is that what they are called?) and was heartbroken when the boy band lost one of its key members, Zayn Malik. We insist on a special connection with this young musical icon on account of sharing a nationality and probably having a Zain for a classmate or a Malik for a neighbour. This gives us the inalienable right to judge him of course; from his tattoos to the racy lyrics of his new singles. “Haw Haey! Larka haath sey nikal gaya!” (The boy is getting out of hand!) He should thank his lucky stars he isn’t a ...

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