Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Hi XL, I am XS. Meet my friend L.


A long time ago, I read an interview of a Brazilian Model, Giselli Monteiro. She confessed that, being born with a thin frame,  in a country where voluptuous women are signified beautiful, she had hard time in modeling. She was advised to get surgeries and restructure her body according to the trend. She however, refused.

I entirely appreciate her decision of not altering herself. She also tried to motivate women through sharing her experience but, she ended her interview with a very disturbing message.

She said "If your body image is not accepted where you are born, never forget, there are places in the world where you would be considered beautiful."

After not being accepted well in Brazil, she flew to France to try her hand on modeling, as the French culture welcomes thinner models with open arms. Surprisingly, she tasted huge success there. She then learnt that, India is a country where the facial beauty is more appreciative than the physical statistics, so she flew to India and starred in a Bollywood film, Love Aaj Kal and not to mention, she was appreciated there too. And this led her to give that above message.

Firstly, not every ordinary girl, can afford to travel around the world, if she thinks she doesn't fit where she already is. Secondly, it is embarrassing and sad, how society forces us to either wear their idea of perfection or quit.


Coming back to my own story, I was born skinny. I was never anorexic. I had a very healthy diet throughout my life. I believe my thinness was hereditary. Most of the times you'll learn about weight issues from over weight people and how the constant censure makes their life miserable. But, this time, it's coming from me, a wafer thin person. Yes, It's difficult to empathize with thin people. Specially in western countries, where it is sometimes considered an asset.

"So what! You are thin, eat a sandwich!"
"You are whining about being thin? You don't even have to diet or go through exhausting exercises!"
"Come on! Thin is in!"
"You can devour French fries and burgers without thinking about their calories!"

.. and so on.

But, that wasn't my story. I grew up in India.

I never met a single person who didn't advocate me to gain weight or consult a doctor or eat some cheese and again, not because anyone cared but, just to fit in. I was picked on as kid. Growing up wasn't a different tale either. I was condemned to a point where I was nicknamed "A twig" by a professor during the farewell ceremony of our high school!

It wasn't just him. The criticism came from strangers, friends, colleagues....everyone, who kept telling me:

"Gain some weight, Indian men like their women curvy!"
"Saree doesn't drape well on a stick"
"You are almost invisible!"
"Do you feel any inferiority complex?"
"You look like a 12 year old!"

and much much more...

I went through some depressive phase because of such fiery comments. I lost my self-confidence. I struggled with a pretty bad self esteem. I just wanted to stuff air in to me and stop people from babbling.

Skinny models or actors are criticized harshly, as they tend to give out wrong message to the audience and that turns the society negative towards all the thin people, forgetting that not everyone diet vigorously but, some are actually BORN skinny.

Among all these scuffles, I was eroded. But, there was one thing I was sure of. The inner-me never desired to alter myself. I was really contended with the way I was. I was on the urge of changing myself just to be liked by others!!

Sometimes, I REALLY wanted to be invisible.

If this was my case, I can't even imagine the horror that is faced by over weight people.

Giselli Monteiro's message had the bitterness but, it was a well proven fact too. Unlike India, where, for more than two decades I was asked to change myself, I did completely okay in countries like France and the US. I wasn't told what to eat or how to look. I was in fact appreciated at times. It was still not a happy discovery.


We women never stop whining about how we are not treated right by men, how we are considered a play toy. But don't you think one of the root-cause of such an ideology, lies within us. We try to mould ourselves the way men would like us. We give society, the chance to shape us according to their likes and dislikes and than we make their perception of beauty, ours.

Why? Because, we want to go with the trend. We want to stay in. We want to be liked by others. We want compliments.
I have never met a woman, who said,
"I want to lose weight because I want to feel healthy" or "I want to gain some weight because I want to be fit."

Instead,

"I want to lose weight so that I could fit in that dress."
"I want to get those curves, like that woman on the cover of Vogue."
"I want to diet, so that my boy likes me."
"I want to be as slim as that model on the runway, so some day I could walk there."


Why can't we just be ourselves, for ourselves? Why can't we make peace with ourselves and our body?

No matter how many times we turn our back, this issue is growing up to be a serious concern. Specially for the coming generation. It is already causing waves in the western countries with a survey saying that, seven in every ten young women want to have a surgery to modify herself. Around 333,000 teens are having surgery every year, already. There are 9.5 to 10 million plastic surgeries per year, alone in America and still growing. And there are much more disturbing numbers, which I am not going to list down here. When weight issues are concerned, most of the teens and adults go through depression not because they are facing any problems, personally but, only because they are judged by people at every instance. The constant pressure from the society and media, for maintaining the perfect shape, is berserk. The criticism has reached to a level where even pregnant women faces hard-slapping comments from public for being fat!!


I so wanted to bury all of these in to myself and forget it ever happened,  as I am far from being in that territory anymore, however I just came across one such incident with a very close friend of mine who was asked, by someone who was supposed to accept her in every way, to stop eating starve and maintain her body. How sad and horrible is that?? How is it possible for a woman to respect a person like this?

I got intensely sad after learning that and  I couldn't stop myself from pouring my raging heart out .

So, all I wanted to say to the beautiful women out there is that, DO NOT make someone else's definition of beauty, yours. Fat, curvy, thin, skinny, pretty, ugly whatever you are, you are yourself and no one else to judge. Love and adore the person you see in the mirror. You owe it to yourself.

There are many women, who want to change themselves just so that they can win affection of someone, who would adore them and stay on their side. That perception is not completely wrong too. Everyone needs a partner because no one deserves to stay alone but, don't let them tell you, you are not beautiful, the way you are.

There will be many men who would ask you to change yourself, be something you are not but, time will pass and there will be that ONE person who would want you, who would love you and who would respect you for the way you are. Who wouldn't want to change you just because you don't fit in the standards of some definition of beauty. That is the time, you will really hold on to him, respect him.

I have that ONE person in my life and he accepted me the way I was. The first person I met, who saw beyond flesh and bones. He loved me for the way I was and I could actually feel it. And that was the time, I felt the most confident. I have never liked myself so much. I just think about the days back and smile on how wrong I was to change myself.

Though I have gained some good pounds and feel heavier than a "twig" now, I still don't regret on what I was and wont ever feel bad about myself if I get back to that phase again.

And remember, even if you don't get that one right person, it is better to be yourself than to be with someone wrong and be judged every moment. Be with a man who don't want a PERFECT woman but, want what you already are.

All of this ramblings should also not make you think that being skinny or being fat is cool.

No.

Being healthy is.

Work out, eat the right food and have a healthy body.

Tell yourself,
"I don't want to be thin, I don't want to be fat, I want to be healthy, for not someone else but, for ME."

I am really not trying to sound sexist here. I have also seen men go through the same phase. In fact, in a much intense way because men are supposed to be, well, men. All strong and muscular and beefy but, the scale of being judged is heavier on the women side.
Exactly what I mean to say here

Every woman have their insecurities and most us try to mask them. Even if everything is perfect, we always feel SOMETHING is just not right and that is in our hormones but, let's embrace all of that. We ARE beautiful and let's not allow anyone to tell us otherwise.  Let's start giving high scores to our self. Let's cut our self some slack. Let's try to change the definition of a perfect woman. Let's try to change the perceptions of how the society sees us. And then we can march ahead for equality.





*All the images are taken from www.google.com

29 comments:

  1. Every woman is beautiful and every man is handsome. You just need to be the right person to see it. :-)

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  2. Phew ! That was a long post and made me think a lot !
    AM ON THE xl side :) and it bothered me till some point till that point where I FELT good in the dresses I liked. I might not be able to wear that mini skirt but I never really liked it too ! I Definitely make sure to be fit just for myself wholly and truly !!!

    what others think is trash- they always think. confidence and brain make any woman look hot
    Good to read u Dhara
    tc

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  3. Phew ! That was a long post and made me think a lot !
    AM ON THE xl side :) and it bothered me till some point till that point where I FELT good in the dresses I liked. I might not be able to wear that mini skirt but I never really liked it too ! I Definitely make sure to be fit just for myself wholly and truly !!!

    what others think is trash- they always think. confidence and brain make any woman look hot
    Good to read u Dhara
    tc

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  4. Yay! to that. :D

    I am *fat* and I want to lose weight to to feel fit and live healthy. I love myself too much to kill my self because of over-weight. Thanks for reinstating that. :)

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  5. Dhara: your blog seems to be mad at me and does not let me follow you. You would probably like to give it a piece of your mind.

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    1. Oh, well. Following you now. :)

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    2. That's because, you were my follower, already!

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  6. A good read, its true that the society isn't ready to accept one as they are :| appearances they dont mean anything, whether you're size 0 or size 20 its blood and flesh in the end.

    Loved it :D and thanks for dropping by :D

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    1. Yup! Blood and flesh in the end.

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  7. It's an interesting take on the subject. And yep, on a theoretical and ideological level, everything you say makes perfect sense. But of course, as is always in matters like these, there is a whole lot going on in our minds and bodies than we are capable of controlling or reigning in.
    1. No one would have really wanted to starve/work out in the gym till their lungs and heart start crying/perform expensive surgeries if he/she had the opportunity to win over the person he/she is attracted to just by being himself/herself. But let's face it-while being oneself is a very hunky-dory concept on paper, it's hard for a lot of people to get by in this world just by being oneself. Everyone desires love and approval. And we cannot get attracted to just any random person. The gears of attraction whir according to their own crazy logic. I also think the ability to reign in frustration over unmet expectations vary from person to person based on pure hereditary and how their upbringing was. Bottom line-it's not completely under one's control.So the whole point of the whole thing called existence is that-we find ourselves craving stuff we can't have by just being who we are. The ones we can have don't live up to our expectations (and in some cases, our parents/relatives/friends). We can compromise, but compromise is opening the door to further unhappiness and dissatisfaction (not necessarily, but the possibility always hold sway). The end result is-we end up conflicted. There are things we want we know we shouldn't want. There are things we know we can get but are conditioned not to want.
    2.Expectations women have from men just don't limit themselves to physicality. Wealth, status, confidence, personality- these are the traits women find attractive. But then again, I don't really think a person can learn to be confident and have a warm personality. I know an entire culture of movies, fiction and self-help books has mushroomed around the myth that 'Yes, these things can be acquired through learning!', I still have grave doubts regarding that. And then again, if a guy is not confident/humorous/possessing a warm personality, he is what he is. But then again, he is expected to change all that if he has to secure a desirable woman's affection.:-) So even he can't be what he is.
    3.I think a lot of women succumb to this external pressure of living up to beauty standards simply because men are pretty simplistic when it comes to sexual preferences compared to women. A man can have a boner based on visual stimulus alone (read, hot looks) but a woman isn't so readily susceptible to this #Scientifically proven, true story#. I am not suggesting women aren't turned on by looks, but simply that men are turned on far more easily and by a great variety of shapes and sizes (I know this sounds gross. Wish I had access to better wording.Bite me!!). So fitting into the mold, succumbing to the sexual objectification of women,becoming 'beautiful in a culturally acceptable sort of way' is a thing which many a times gives a woman control over men. So they tend to exploit their sexuality like a weapon. It is a form of sweet revenge.
    4.Life is way too messed up to be swept away in one generalizing 'just be yourself' solution. If our true selves deviate a lot from culturally acceptable norms, we are in deep soup. And 'acceptable' itself is a very very...um..dicey word. The kind of social setting you have, the kind of people you're forced into rubbing your shoulders with day in day out-they play a huge role in shaping or skewering your self-esteem. We have to come to terms with this fact-much of our lives are governed by forces beyond our control and the little control we do seem to have (it might be an illusion after all) is in adopting or resisting things which at least someone around is adopting or resisting too.

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    1. It was great reading a different side to this story, from a male perspective but, I am sorry. I agree to disagree on all four points, on almost all the levels.
      1. My whole write up, was based on your very first point. You introduced the same concept in a dozen lines, which I did in a dozen paragraphs, how and why a person modifies oneself to please someone else/others. According to me, doing THAT is the biggest compromise rather than settling for what we already are. So we just don't agree on the conclusion.
      Somewhere, your words are also conveying a message that it is hard to be attracted to people with imperfect body or imperfect features. It is sad, if it's true.
      2. Unlike me, you are stereotyping women, being a sexist at the same time. Not all women expect wealth, status or other mediocre (yes, I said mediocre) traits while choosing a life partner. And as I said earlier, men also through the same phase where they have to reach a certain level of expectation but, if you sit in front of TV, one whole day, you'll see more than 95% of advertisements where women are objectified. That proves what is expected from whom and on how many preposterous levels!
      3. Men are more than simplistic when it comes to sexual preferences but, you think women live their whole life wanting to be "sexually" preferable? No. It's for many other reasons, women succumb to the pressure of living up to a particular standard of beauty. Men might sleep with a fat girl without thinking for a micro second but, would think twice before making her his wife/girlfriend. (specially, in our Indian arrange marriage system.)
      "Ladki thodi moti nai hai?" (looking at the photo of the girl, his mother just chose for him)
      And who gives women a chance to use her beauty and sexuality as a weapon?
      It's like blaming a prostitutes for seducing a man but, the thing is, they wouldn't exist, if it weren't for men.
      4.This is your one opinion, I agree the most. However, not completely. People play a huge role in building our thoughts, perception, ideas and theories but, how to implement them, all lies within us. If we still chose to go with the flow, we are nothing but, a mere slave.

      I get immensely cautious while expressing the above thoughts because not all men are morons and not all women are saints. Your thoughts might be applicable to many women but, at the end of the day, I just wanted to tell those women to chin up, who have been crushing themselves too hard to fit in the standards set by the society.
      About our perspective, no matter how true we speak, somewhere we both are stereotyping.

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  8. Hey,
    You have been awarded a Versatile Blogger Award .
    Please visit the link for details.
    The Shaded Shadows

    Take Care. :)
    Ajay Kontham

    ReplyDelete
  9. True-Striking-Bold-Inspiring and Demanding..Yes..Demanding in the sense that you demand everyone to be Healthy, no fat, no thin, just healthy...Thumbs up darling!

    And I'm happy(a bit jealous that you got someone who loves you just the way you are!Just slightly jealous!;)) I hope I get someone who will love me the same even when I'm in my 70's. :)

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  10. Wow quite a booster for the thin and the fat people equally.It really does not matter whether you are thing or fat the basic thing is being fit and healthy(in proper WHO terminology).Society has always criticized no matter what..sometimes that does wonder and at times it is terrible.
    And of course a person who cannot accept how you are can never make peace with you for the rest of your life.
    All in all this post was such a feel good one :) happy to read you dhara!

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    Replies
    1. Happy that you read. Thank you Alcina :)

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    2. Thank you so much Dhara for the comment back there on my blog.And guess what you finally inspired me to change my dark theme.I don't know if it will still hurt your eyes or you can at least now tell what seems the problem exactly(but i have made it easy as much as i could).

      P.S.-Sorry for commenting like this but i don't know how to get back to that one cause i don't reply on my Know me page.

      Delete
  11. Hi

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    Please comment in the following post so that I know you have read the review: http://www.diaryofthenarcissist.com/2013/04/have-your-blog-reviewed.html


    Warm Regards,
    The Narcissist

    ReplyDelete
  12. heyy,,great post..


    may be we can follow each other....

    dreamlimitless.blogspot.con

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  13. Hey! I loved this post. Mostly coz I was a super skinny kid as well, and was picked on. I was advised endlessly on what I should, and how much of it I should give. Ppl thought my parents werent feeding me!!!! :-/
    The best/worst part? A few years ago, I put on a few kilos... I looked fatter than I ever was but still "thin" as per Indian standards. And I was criticized for putting the weight on!

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, "Don't your parents feed you?" was one of the famous questions asked to me.
      "Well, yeah. You know they hate me, lock me up and let me starve!!" duhh...

      Virtual hugs!*

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  14. Superb post. Society dictates most of our life. We should change it. Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. Society should grow up.
    Thanks for visiting my blog..you are doing great in here..keep blogging..and yeah, followed back :)

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  15. Its really an inspiration for short people like me! I am always cribbing for being midget in stature.

    Thanks a lot :)

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    Replies
    1. Awww.. I would replace it with "minions" and minions are cute. :D

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  16. Hey dhara your post always hve something to think about. I liked wht u mention there all points perfect. Well I want to add something to it. As myself being a skinny person I too heard all those things and for boys its more embarrassing, as you said men want to be men. But the point I want to highlight is tht you can overcome these comments if your parents never said any of these things to you. Its my personal experience, my father always told me you no need to get fat as long as you are healthy., as long you dont get sick bcz of your under weight you are better thn other people and this was my answer to all people who advised me to gain weight. I never felt low bcz my family didnt complain abt wht I was. My under weight body was not able to stop me frm finding a good job, a very beautiful girlfriend bcz of which some mascular guy envy me;) and good friends. So its jzt you who can make decisions tht whether you want to shape your body or shape your life....

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    1. Thank you Deepak for reading and sharing your experience. I am so glad you had such wonderful parents. My parents also never criticized me on my physicality, however they did ask me to be healthy and gain a little weight so I don't fly away somewhere. Hahaha.
      Your confidence is brilliant and inspiring. Don't ever let it go. :)

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