Popular culture would have you believe that the epitome of beauty is if you have a tall, thin and fair composition. Unrealistic expectations are the results of what is often portrayed by media with respect to women and their bodies. How often do we come across a young girl who has grown up with a positive body image? Or for that matter, a woman who has just given birth and is confident about how her body looks and feels? That’s right. The answer would probably range from none to an absolutely rare phenomenon. Advertisements, films and other popular media are rarely known to showcase body positive images and references. Women from a very young age are influenced by this and begin criticizing their bodies which continues their whole lives. Our society including our educational institutions and media do not shy away from indulging in body-shaming of girls and women.
Womanhood in its various stages: From birth to puberty to adolescence to marriage to childbirth to menopause has been subjected to body shaming which does not seem to stop. They come from family, friends and the whole wide world. The result- a negative body image, low self-esteem and objectification of women. Patriarchy as you know it from time immemorial has unflinchingly held women at the receiving end by cultivating regressive ideas and forcing them upon women. This is one of them. We are either too fat, too skinny, too tall, too short for the world. The pressure to fit into conventionally ‘acceptable’ beauty standards amounts to high levels of insecurities and illnesses, both physical and mental, in girls and women alike. We have celebrities endorsing a body type as ideal which does not help the cause. It only adds to the already prevailing shaming and conforming since they play a major role as influencers of the young and old.
The Myth of a Perfect Body: What does the perfect body look like? Aren’t most of us guilty of describing someone we saw with a ‘perfect body’ and our wish to achieve the same? Don’t we all hate some part of our bodies so much that we would want it to look ‘ideal’? How many times have we asked each other and ourselves- “Are my arms too fat?”, “My legs are too skinny.”, “Do I have a desirable body?”, “I don’t think I can wear that.” We somehow manage to reduce ourselves to the size and shape of our body because we are taught to do so since childhood.
The beginning of Letting Go: In a bid to start with letting go of the insecurities built over a lifetime, we thought it was time to tackle them head on and set aside all the adjectives we have associated with our bodies. 13 everyday women from all walks of life walked on set, fierce, proud and celebrating their bodies shattering stereotypes and rules of fashion, style and dance. This initiative encourages every woman to celebrate herself and her beautiful body. If this isn’t the first step towards embracing and celebrating yourself, what is?