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