As someone rightly said, for a skinny person there’s a skinny world and a “healthy” world. Skinny shaming never came into the limelight as much as fat shaming. But hey, skinny shaming happens and it really needs to stop. With me, I was always forced an extra pizza slice down by my friends because they thought that I “needed it”.
The first time someone skinny shamed me is still a vivid memory.
That’s when I realized that something is seriously not right with my body weight. I would go out and notice people staring at my legs. I started to feel supremely uncomfortable. Tights literally went out of my wardrobe and I started to wear more culottes and trousers. Wearing half-sleeves gave an open invitation to people for comparing THEIR forearm with MY upper arm and to say “uffff yaar in dono ka size tou aik jaisa hai“.
My eating habits became a random discussion topic. People would ask me about my diet without thinking about how it would make me feel.
On hearing about it, or watching me eat, I would be asked if I had been raising “pait walay keeray“. Our desi society, unfortunately, thinks that they have a license to recommend what to eat in order to gain weight. “Ufff, mayonnaise khaya karo, desi ghee walay parathay khaya karo, milkshakes piya karo zyada zyada”.
Umm, what if I DO have all of that but I just can’t gain weight? Or maybe I’m struggling with an eating disorder that you can’t understand?
My emotionally abusive encounter with a narcissist was devastating. He told me that it was good that I didn’t want to be with him because “tum to itni kamzor ho, bachay bhi nahi paida kar sako gi.“
The constant dietary, wardrobe and supplementary bits of advice in public were not motivating, but derogatory. It broke me to the point where I stopped eating and I developed an Eating Disorder. The negativity around me made me despise food, as it never settled in the form of fat in me.
I was emotionally damaged. I was made to believe that skinny was not beautiful. Skinny was not acceptable in society. Skinny does not make you rishta-worthy and skinny means no babies.
However, one day I finally decided that I wanted to overcome my Eating Disorder and appearance-related anxiety.
I continued with my new wardrobe. That meant more loose clothes, more trousers, and more striped patterns because no matter what, stares are agonizing. I started talking to myself more in the mirror and telling myself all the good things about being skinny. For example, no restrictions on eating! I started to accept the way I was. With help from friends and family, I slowly and gradually began to love my imperfection.
“Ghar walay khana nahi daitay“? is a question that I still have to answer. But I’m at a point in life where I say, “nahi detay” instead of explaining why body is the way it is.
It’s super easy to make a skinny shaming comment. What we need to understand here is, even a “well-meaning” dietary advice can be considered skinny shaming. Skinny people are pretty self-aware, you know? They know what to eat and what not to. It’s time that we give skinny shaming the attention that it needs. We also seriously need to stop with the “real women have curves” BS! No. It’s not that real women have curves. Real women lift each other up!
If you’ve ever been shamed on your appearance, I would love to know how you tackled it. Let me know in the comments section.
Cover image via Salman Khan Films