Pakistan’s obsession with fair skin is no secret. Body shaming is the new normal and it’s something a lot of our impressionable young girls and boys can relate to because they’ve constantly been taunted about, given suggestions to change or “improve” the way they look. This trying to please someone or criticizing your own body can lead to a vicious cycle that is very toxic to one’s mental health and peace.
Yumnah Shahid, YouTuber Zaid Ali’s wife, opened up about her struggle with being body shamed and taunted for her dark skin in Pakistan
Shahid, who was 5 when her family moved to Canada, shared a photograph of herself at the age tender age of 10. She explained how in Canada she was never made to feel ‘dark’ because of her skin tone or called ‘fat’ due to her body shape and structure but had to face it in Pakistan whenever she visited.
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When I was 5, my family immigrated to Canada. This is a picture of me at the age of 10. Growing up, I was never made to feel “fat” or “dark” because my family and the people around me never made me feel that way. The culture in Canada is such that you are not judged based on your appearance, skin colour, or cast but how you act. In 1999, when I went back to Pakistan, I was hit with rude remarks and cunning looks because of the way I looked. I was called ugly, fat left and right. Some people thought I would never get married. Everyone felt the need to give me unsolicited advice wherever I went. And I was genuinely confused 🤷🏻♀️ I would think, why do these people care about my looks? I look great 👍🏼 and if I actually am fat, how come no one every told me before? So I decided to ask my mom … and she said Yumnah, don’t focus on what other people are saying. Your skin is something you can’t change just remember it’s always about how you carry yourself. And always carry yourself with confidence!
She compared the culture and experience she had in Canada to that in Pakistan, recalling how when she came back to Pakistan in 1999, all she was welcomed with were rude remarks focusing entirely on her physical appearance.
Some people even told her she would never get married because of the way she looked
Lolz @ all those haters, since we all know she is happily married now.
Mr and Mrs ZaidAliT 🙂 pic.twitter.com/waZsXBSIy5
— Zaid Ali (@Za1d) August 25, 2017
Yumnah shared that as a teenager she would be in a state of anxiety, thanks to those bodily changes that we face when puberty hits us and to top it all, the confusion to accept your body the way it is or to change it according to what others expect is overwhelming.
Thank God for her mother and other understanding people around her who told her to accept herself the way she was and not to focus about others were saying. People could not hold back and started appreciating Shahid for coming out with her struggle as a kid.
People loved her for being so honest and shared their experiences with body shaming
Ever her husband commented on the post and AWWWW
Yumnah has been targeted for her skin color in the past, as well
Soon after she got married, an Instagram account highlighted her skin, for some bizarre reason and people were reasonably offended by it.
When are we going to understand that beauty is not just skin deep?
Have you ever been body shamed? Let us know in the comments below.
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Cover image via: @yumnahalit / Instagram