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

Published: January 3, 2017
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What is sad is that we never quite look past appearances. PHOTO: PINTEREST.

“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 gave birth to her first born after nine years. We are all familiar with the fact that it is accompanied by bodily changes; well that’s what us normal people undergo. So yes, I happened to gain a few kilos after my pregnancy. Being a major food lover, it was impossible for me to keep a track of my weight gain, because who am I kidding… I just can’t say no to the scent of something deliciously mouth-watering. Thus, all these factors contributed towards me gaining around 25 kilos. However, how I treat my body and my contentedness with my figure are both very personal and delicate matters.

We have been a target of body-shaming the moment we leave the warm cocoon of our carefree childhood and start experiencing the harsh realities during puberty. We are never going to be viewed as perfect beings by the critical eyes of those around us; no matter how imperfect they are themselves. We are too skinny or fat, short or tall, dark or fair and the list never comes to a halt. Women and men both go through the scrutiny and never quite match up to the fake standards being set up by this judgmental society.

Have you ever noticed the extent to which the electronic and print media endlessly focuses on content about improving our physical appearance? What about the photo-shopped models and other celebrities, who look too good to be true? To my amusement, these celebrities and model are not even perfect themselves, but the media makes sure to remove their flaws. What sort of standards are we trying to set for our future generations?

Plastic surgery has become such a prevalent phenomenon for people these days, just so that they can look picture-perfect in the eyes of others, even if their life is at stake. Such are the dangers that this critical behaviour of ours has caused. We are constantly battling with how we can achieve a certain look that we are taught to admire. The number of striking personalities I know who are battling social anxiety and depression that stems from body-shaming breaks my heart. The societal induced shame has left its mark on us emotionally and physically. To make matters worse, social media, cyber bullying, and the perpetuation of living the so-called “ideal life” has left many miserable, insecure, and ungrateful.

I myself have struggled with my weight since I was ten-years-old and have been witness to all the life changing phases of a healthy kid or what society calls the “fat kid”. I have been envied, laughed at, and admired at some point in my life. All these mixed feelings have taught me to be stronger and more resilient than ever, but sometimes they are not enough to ignore the offensive comments uttered by these insensitive people. After all, I’m only a human being and sometimes these words do leave a deeper wound than one can imagine. There have been moments where I was forced to question my own perception of myself, thus stepping over my confidence.

What is sad is that we never quite look past appearances. Don’t get me wrong for I do love all the compliments I receive, like every other person would. However, there are times when I would be grateful if I were appreciated for my role as a wife, mother, daughter, and sister, along with being an active and productive member of the society.

I am 5’2’ and have been 65 kilos for the past three years – you do the math. I have stopped going to my reunions, where I know people will turn around and just belittle me over my weight. Maybe this is my way of filtering out the gems that see past my physical appearance and still love me for who I am. If I recall, I was once pointed out by a relative to caution her daughter to not eat too much, or else she would look like me. How rude!

During college, I became very thin and the same friends and relatives who used to ridicule me were now complimenting me. The double standard of these people continues to amaze me. They wanted to know my secret. I had none. I don’t know how I lost all that weight, but I did. I guess I hated the hostel food at my college.

I am not asking for anyone’s sympathy. I only want to understand why we are so obsessed with being perfect. I stand united with millions of men and women all over the world who have been body-shamed. With body shaming comes discrimination that we face every single day. Don’t be surprised but you might be termed a social bully for making others feel less about themselves.

Ramma Cheema

Ramma Cheema

The author is a communications and media professional having worked in the entertainment industry. An avid reader who loves to travel and has a keen interest in social issues and politics. She tweets as @rammacheema

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Keyboard Soldier

    Lose weight to remain healthy. People mean good, because they want the author to have a healthy life.Recommend

  • Silver Black

    I fully agree with the author…and to just let you all know, people don’t always remark out of concern they do it because it’s in their nature to comment on others or something which they dont like. Just to quote an example out of my life: I have always been very skinny and so I was frequently the target of “You are so Kamzoor” from my my family and friends, but lately I went on some medication which made me gain weight and now everyone tells me that that I am too fat even though my weight is 78kg and my height is 5’10. So long story short– ‘People are never satisfied’ They will always comment regardless of how great or bad you look.Recommend

  • ShivaTheCommenter

    Not really….

    People care more about mocking others….Or else they would explain the fat person why obesity could harm them rather than giving comments like mentioned in the article aboveRecommend

  • Eliya Khurshid

    Thumbs up, we need more sane voices like yours addressing this issue in our society.

    We have set unrealistic standards of beauty where being size zero is considered an achievement and those who don’t conform are shamed by those near and dear to us.
    Recommend

  • Haider Cheema

    Well written. But these kind of insane remarks are more perrenial in societies which have less to do something of their own. I am pretty much sure that keeping this scenario somewhere in Europe, Australia or the States would not have been bashed the way it is here. You cannot wrangle with people on logic or reasoning here so you just have to be strong. The way you have kept yourself so far has been very much inspiring for many to follow. Cheers!Recommend

  • mike

    If I may contradict you, there is a way that one can or should give advise to the other, so that hisher feeling should not get hurt…But most of the time people are giving there advises – more like they are rediculing the other…I have been through this body shaming situation and I know how it feels , to be honest there were people who told me to lose wait but the way way they said it was different than playing with my feelings and I admire them, but the harsh reality here is that I can count them on fingers …
    No offense, but it really is true there are a little number of people who are giving you advise for your well being..Recommend

  • Mariam Zubair

    Your tone couldn’t have been more apt. It is high time that we shut down these advocates of body shaming, because everyone deserves to feel comfortable in their own skin, no matter what they look like.Recommend

  • Sufia Zamir

    No. People love poking their noses and can’t resist passing personal remarks. I have been on both ends of the spectrum, losing a tremendous amount of weight after being morbidly obese for years. When I was fat I was often asked if I was pregnant, even though I was, and in fact still am, single. I have heard remarks about how skinny I have become, and how I should stop dieting, and all sorts of other uncomplimentary things. I’m 53 kg which isn’t exactly an unhealthy weight given my height. Still people don’t resist commenting on it.Recommend

  • Samantha Bloom

    Pakistanis/Indians shouldn’t be following suit of the western feminism which has become more of a cancer and completely irrelevant in the modern world. I think there are more pressing problems the women face, esp in the third world countries, than someone calling them FAT. FAT shaming, period shaming, gender identity crisis, gender wage gap etc. these all are made up problems and hoaxes by the western Femnazis. Pls focus on your own more legitimate problemsRecommend