WHEN I WAS BODY SHAMED AS A NEW MOM

It was my baby’s naming ceremony. I was all decked up in a pink zari (gold thread) sari, gold jewellery and a hairdo. The colour of the sari complemented the glow on my face. Yes, I was glowing after the delivery. Happy hormones may be! I was indeed so happy about the arrival of my bundle of joy that it showed on my face.

We had hosted the naming ceremony 2 months after the birth of my baby. So I was clearly a new mom then! I looked beautiful, I just knew that because I felt beautiful from within. When I arrived at the venue with the baby (purposely I waited at home till baby fell asleep and most of the family members including my husband had proceeded to the venue earlier in order to supervise the arrangements) my husband whispered in my ear that I was looking beautiful than ever! It made my day. It was the first time in so many months that someone said I looked good. Otherwise, all that I heard all through the pregnancy was that how I am going to become fatter or worse, have already become that!

I was greeting all the guests merrily and was answering their typical questions like whether the baby sleeps in the night, is he breastfed etc. Obviously, the men clan didn’t get into nitty grities of the baby, for most of them, it was just like exchanging pleasantries or casual greetings. However, a person (very close relative) took me by surprise when he exhibited the audacity to comment something about my body.

It so happened that my husband had lost quite some weight a little before our baby arrived and obviously my weight was increasing as the baby was growing inside me. Obviously, all the weight that I had gained through the nine months of pregnancy was not going to disappear in just 2 months. All of you would agree that the new mum certainly feels like a balloon post delivery. The bloating and at times swelling on the body is certainly visible for the first few months post delivery and my case was no different. And it didn’t matter to me really. So, this man asked me why my husband had lost weight and whether I can cook well. Obviously, he was pulling my leg. Maintaining the sense of humour, I promptly answered that it was my mother-in-law who was in charge of cooking so be assured that he was fed well. On a lighter note, I added that perhaps he lost weight because he has been staying away from me for long now (because I was at my mom’s place since the birth of our baby) and probably he is missing me too much. We shared a hearty laughter and I expected the discussion to end there. But to my utter surprise, this man had the guts to say, “Looks like he is having meals twice a day and you are having six times of day”

I was so annoyed with that comment but I kept my cool and replied firmly saying, “oh yes, I do! Sometimes I have even eight meals a day and I don’t care if I look fat or ugly because I have something more important to think about. I have to breastfeed my baby which nobody else can do” I purposely replied to him a little louder than normal because I wanted other guests to hear our conversation. The very mention of breastfeeding made this man a little embarrassed and he chose to end the discussion by just saying I was right.

I calmly moved ahead to greet other guests who silently witnessed my body shaming episode. Obviously, I didn’t expect any of them to step in for me. If there was somebody who could shut up that man, it was me and I did just that!

Yes, I looked fat that day because I WAS fat then. My breasts looked heavy. But, how a mom who has delivered a baby just a few days back supposed to look? I didn’t take his comments very seriously because I know that its only a woman who can grow a life within her, nurture it, tear herself apart to give birth yet stand on her feet within three days of delivery, carry litres of milk in her body and tirelessly feed the little one every two hours (or even sooner). No man, however, fit he may be, can do that ever. 

Most of the mums are body-shamed because of their bulging tummies or round body shape. But friends, do not let such experience boggle you. Stand up for yourself. While it is important to be physically fit, it is also important to give time for our bodies to settle down post delivery. Don’t get depressed with such comments or do not haste to get back your pre-pregnancy appearance. Understand that your body is doing a great job. Feel proud of yourself. Only then will you be able to curb the discouraging and stupid remarks society makes about your body.

Next time somebody body shames you, do not forget to give them a piece of your mind.

(Image Credit: https://deho.tv )

BODY SHAMING, OUR NEW ENTERTAINMENT!

I remember watching this famous comedy show (The Kapil Sharma Show) on television.  It was all grand and pompous with celebrities adding to the glitter.  The host had an impeccable comic timing but one thing that never got down well with me (and seriously who cares 😀).  The host of the show would continuously take a dig at the fellow artists’ appearance. Calling them names like Fatso, Buffalo, hot air balloon, chimpanzee and what not. And he successfully managed to evoke gags from everyone present in the studio and those watching the Idiot box.  How sensible was that is my reservation?  And sadly bullying in the name of comedy or entertainment isn’t reserved for one odd show.  It’s omnipresent almost everywhere.

Movies, Tele serials, advertisements, social media – whatever the form of media or stage it is, body shaming is more and more increasingly used as an entertainment and a marketing tactic.

Even we are guilty of using physical attributes as an adjective to address someone at some point of time (sometimes just to have a good laugh at one’s expense) – that girl with buck teeth, that fat boy, that short man… Whether a human tendency or not, body shaming is acquiring a monstrous form, let’s accept it.

Off late I came across many posts on Facebook wherein picture of a person who is not physically attractive is posted and people are asked to tag their friends who could be sharing their future with them.  And beneath such posts, there’s a huge number of likes and emojis depicting how funny people found it.  Then there are posts depicting people who have confidently embraced their lives but don’t fit the bill of standardised beauty norms of the society, and that made them unacceptable for the rest.  People don’t refrain from unleashing their insensitive side via their mean comments shaming the appearance, from being sarcastic to abusive, they use it all.  And ironically this isn’t inhumane but just an “Opinion”.

So what is a beauty as per our “Hypocrite” society which ironically matters to us?

  • Lean = healthy, attractive, beautiful
  • Fair = beautiful and a shortcut to success

And this very idea of “Beauty” and “Health” is relentlessly propagated by the best thinking heads whom we call creative geniuses or to simply put it – “marketing team”.  An advertisement showcases a woman in distress because her husband finds her unattractive because of her weight issues, he feels humiliated to take her out because she is not 10/10 figure.  But suddenly she comes across some magic medicine that would turn her life upside-down miraculously.  Shrinking inches would widen the smile on her face and infuse lost love in her life.  Going by this manipulated definition of both Love and Health, we find them to be very shallow aspects in our lives measured by a common denomination of few pounds or inches.

Such power is the impact of these marketing gimmicks that the number of people willingly investing both time and money in bogus and more importantly hazardous products has seen an unprecedented upward surge which is beyond imagination.  Millions taking up crash diets, gulping down protein shakes, omitting carbohydrates completely – all this in the wake of attaining that desirable svelte figure or six-pack abs.  And no heed is paid if it’s healthy or not, literally no one cares.  I remember a young neighbour of mine died of a massive heart stroke thanks to his intensive but improper workouts and an equally imbalanced# hazardous diet plan.  He was hardly 24 years of age.

Why this pain is taken after all? That’s the only way to be accepted and appreciated.  We are living in superficial times where looks score over brains and other intangible positives. Bizzare and at the same time sad, do you have a counter opinion?  Reserve it in comments.

*An important note: Here I am not supporting obesity or unhealthy lifestyle but the concern should be health rather than just weight management.  Weight could be a result of many other complications – genetic, hormonal dysfunction, stress than just binging on junk.  Correct diagnosis is very important.  But alas! ignorance rules. Anyways, this is leading towards another discussion but the underlying point is body shaming is nothing less than cruelty.  Blabbering about someone’s weight ( for that matter any other physical attribute) without having an iota of knowledge about “what’s the real issue is” is simply idiotic.

Do you know why the  “plastic” beauty industry thriving like never before off late?  It’s the pressure of looking and living the image perceived of you. Especially among women (a clear-cut case of gender inequality) are under immense pressure of not looking their age.  Society wants them to be perfect.  Wrinkles on the face, messy hair, unkempt nails – nothing is pardonable.  Why?  Even in the matrimonial columns the requirements for a future bride reads “Fair, slim, Good looking, Educated“.  Clearly, education is not the foremost quality sought after.  And God forbid if the bride doesn’t fit the bill in terms of “Beauty” she assumes the position of “Centre of Discussion” for every XYZ who claims to be the well-wisher of the family, ironical isn’t it?  A swelling business of beauty business ( working against nature) is a result of our fears of being panned for our looks.

What does Body shaming do?  It simply kills the confidence, to say the least.

What’s really worrisome? Handing over this hollow and shallow society to our future generations.  Bullying in schools and educational institutions with physical attributes as premises is a mirror to what we are training them to be.

Just think about it.

Here’s a video that I came across on Facebook which explains the times we are living in perfectly:

KNOW WHERE TO DRAW THE LINE

I am a huge fan of stand up comedy. I mean a stage show with the perfect mix of humour and sarcasm is a “paisa-wasool” performance for me. And I’m one of those people who likes to work those witty remarks, subtle insults and funny intonations into a conversation because you know everybody needs to add a flavour into a conversation and I love being the funny one.

I have been brought up in a family where me and my siblings love taking the mickey out of each other and it’s all in good fun. So, naturally as I was growing up, I inculcated this into all aspects of my life: with my friends, relatives, acquaintances and now with my colleagues. And I love being the one who can make somebody laugh.

But in all these years I also learnt it the hard way that not everybody is as accepting of being the object of my humour. Amidst all the applause and laughter I never paid much attention to fact that I might have inadvertently hurt somebody’s feelings even though I had not meant to. That’s when I learnt that there is a very thin line between funny and rude. And that taking back your word even if it was in good humour is never possible.

Also, being a funny person your EQ needs to be higher so that you are aware of the situation you are in, know the kind of people you are with and then carry out a conversation which puts them at ease.

So if you are one of those people who likes being the funny one, know where that line between funny and rude lies, try your best to never ever cross that line and lastly, if you do end up cross that line be sure to apologise profusely and sincerely. There is nothing wrong in being funny, just make sure you are not insensitive.

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