What are your opinions regarding fat shaming? How often do people judge each other based on body image?
We live in a society where we tend to start judging people at a very young age. We mock fat people and very thin people and differently-abled people – often involuntarily. This is because we grow up in a culture which is inherently ableist and sexist – even if it is in the smallest of ways. Regardless, this habit of casual sexism and/or body shaming becomes more involuntary and aggressive as we grow up. And while girls are more prone to body image issues, it happens to everyone and affects us all.
Do you think the entertainment industry contributes to this sort of culture?
Yes, definitely. If you look at Hollywood and Bollywood, mainstream cinema follows a trend where the hero is well-built with a six-pack and over-large biceps and the lead actresses are skinny and voluptuous. The hypocrisy is astounding: scantily-clad, sexually-explicit women on screen are a big hit, but the same in real life are seen as an insult to ‘Indian culture’. This obsession with body image issues is often accompanied by the glorification of stalking, eve-teasing, homophobia and other bigotry. It’s portrayed as comedy but it has become such a staple in movies and music that it’s disturbing. This is especially true for Indian cinema.
“Especially true for Indian cinema,” – how so?
Consider Sonakshi Sinha. A very fine actress. But there is so much debate over whether her being ‘fat’ or ‘curvy’ is a good thing or not. I mean, why is that even an issue? Why are we so obsessed about that? If her body shape is so important to us, we need to seriously rethink our attitude towards women and people in general. I remember reading this somewhere: ‘Being fat, like being tall, is not a bad or good thing. It’s just who you are.’ It’s as simple as that.
How can we amend this trend of body shaming?
It’s a very inherent problem, indoctrinated into us from our childhood days. Most of the time, it’s involuntary. Which makes it all the more difficult to combat. Judging people based on their looks is generally considered as wrong, but it doesn’t stop us from widely practicing it. The solution to this is, I think, a combination of time and proper education. We need to also refrain from being influenced by certain sections of society. Take Honey Singh for example, who calls himself an ‘artist’ and makes rap songs which are overly sexist and ableist. Such a hyper-masculine culture which proposes that only those men with abs and biceps and a lot of girlfriends are ‘men’ – it hurts all of us, men and women.
Anything to say in conclusion?
Judging people is something human beings have always done, and will always do. I just think it’s better if we judge each other by our actions rather than our physical appearances. We are so much more than our bodies.
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