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A very famous designer store in Mumbai, fat shamed a woman who went to buy a dress in their store.
Fat shaming is a common feature in our society. Neighbours, shopkeepers and sometimes even friends don’t hesitate to pass rude comments about the body. Recently, Mona Joshi, a woman in Mumbai went shopping for a ghagra for her friend’s wedding and ended up being told to go the gym. There was an outpouring of support for her on social media after her friend who accompanied her to the store wrote an angry email calling out the behaviour of the salesperson. The shop owner and manager reportedly have taken action against the salesperson for his behaviour and apologised for the incident. This incident also sparked a much needed debate on body shaming. But are we missing a few points?
About a week ago, a similar incident took place on the Tube in London. People received pamphlets about being “fat” and “ugly”. Similar reactions of outrage were seen on Twitter with women calling out this hideous shaming. I have also noticed how it has always been a slippery slope from fat to ugly. Because shaming of this kind not only attacks your body type but also what is considered as beautiful and attractive.
It is, therefore, important to not see each of these fat shaming incidents in isolation or acts by individual shamers. There is a larger societal problem of preferring a certain body type. These ideas are of course reinforced through movies, advertisements and finally through the fashion industry itself. We have to admit there is an obsession for everyone to be the same size, the same type. How often have we seen models and actresses who don’t fit this template of skinny and beautiful?
I am tempted to ask isn’t it suspicious that in a country as diverse as ours we want everyone to be size zero and skinny? Isn’t it worth questioning why women must “go looking” for clothes in their size? Isn’t it impossible for all women to look the same?
I find that it is essential to call out behaviour of strangers towards women or men who are deemed “fat”. Simultaneously we must challenge the larger agenda being forced into our consciousness.
The trend is changing with growing pressure on the industry to acknowledge that women of different body types exist. (Several campaigns run by the industry have been critiqued for being hypocritical and not changing their advertising patterns.) However, many women’s groups and magazines have started ‘love your body’ campaigns to combat self-esteem issues arising from body shaming. Beautiful photographs of women of all sizes helps break the myth that one size is ideal; with an added bonus of driving home the point that we need to love our bodies more.
Cover image via Facebook/MonaJoshi