HELLO! AUNTIES BODY SHAME ME AT SHAADIS. WHAT DO I DO?
Authored By Iman Hussain
We don't know what's more baffling: how socially acceptable topics of body shaming are or how comfortable we are discussing them? Shaadis are occasions where we meet people after a long time, so it is evident that the first thing someone notices in the other person is their physical appearance, more importantly, their weight. What is problematic is that we do not shy away from using this as a conversation starter or an ice-breaker. Fluctuating body weight is a regular occurrence in a person's life, but it is considered taboo in desi culture. It's way worse for women because petite and fat women are seen in different lights. Mind you - she has to be petite aside from not being too lean, too tall, too short, too tanned. Too thin is also a no go zone for desi aunties. For them, a woman must possess a perfect figure with all the necessary curves and let's be honest, we all have come across such aunties at least once in our life no matter what our body type is.
It is very easy to go down a spiral of self-doubt; once this happens, it can affect individuals for days, if not months. Every time one dresses up to go somewhere, the remarks echo in their head, and it can be challenging. So, the first and foremost thing you must do is ignore such remarks; turn a blind eye and don’t look back! Of course, learning to do so is a process, but it all starts with being kind to yourself, for being too hard on yourself will only work against you. If you feel such cynical comments take a toll on your mental health and ignoring them does not help because you're still hearing what they are saying, take a stand for yourself! Let them know - albeit politely, since political correctness is always preferred *wink wink* - that this isn't something you enjoy, or you can ask a family member to let them know that this makes you uncomfortable.
If none of the above help, you might want to consider therapy; there are plenty of platforms that also offer to counsel online. More importantly, if you think you are alone in this and this is something that only happens to you, then let me tell you, you are not at all alone. After all, we hardly ever witness a setting where a woman is praised for her ambition, talent, career, success or financial stability. If she is single, the topic of discussion will be her husband(or lack thereof). If she's married, the discussion will revolve around her impending children. If she has gained a few extra pounds, it will be the worst of them all her weight and should God's miracle take place, and her weight is just the right amount, then her skin colour or texture would be up for discussion. There is no dearth of topics when it comes to bringing women down.
It is disappointing but we’ve never learned to look past a woman's body as a society. We make it the centre of discussion everywhere we sit without realizing that this can lead to eating disorders, depression, chronic diseases and worst of all, self-doubt. So, if you comment on other people's appearances, you might want to pause and think a moment before doing that and if you are someone who is suffering from this, stay strong. We have a lot of respect for you and do not hesitate to shut people up when necessary.