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Why do we feel the need to judge women who are larger than we think ‘normal’ should be? It’s time we became more accepting of people as they are.
Convex (definition): Curving out, extending outward
If I were to succinctly, briefly, compartmentalise my life, I would do it thus, in one word: convex.
You know how folks say, “This is the story of my life”…well…this sorta is…the story of my life. Here’s how…
So you know how when you’re a pudgy, fold-ridden, cherubic toddler, the world gushes at you? Makes appropriate cooing sounds, quickly followed by inappropriate pinching, till the same fleshy folds turn pink involuntarily? Yes, well, not so much the same can be expected as you advance in years and yet, magically, retain the same exterior. No sir! The cooing and aww- ing give way to pitiful ‘Tch tch’; the complimentary gazes make way for a healthy mix of pity and disgust. And the cherry on the sundae, the verbal praise turns to fat shaming. Sad, but true.
My perspective? Let’s see…
Will I succumb to societal pressure and blame twiggiesque models and the glossies they appear in? For the reaction folks have to us ‘plus sized’ people? Or wilI I blame it on my genes (those secret fatty deposits blueprinted in my DNA)? Will I consider awarding blame to a medical condition? Or to a penchant for fast foods? Or will I blame it on a deeper psychological void that I’m supposedly filling with food?
The question that begs answering is…why do I feel the need to justify my looks to anyone? Well, probably because like many of you out there, I feel judged. Sad, but true.
Who’s to hold judgement over me? You? The auntie next door, the nosy neighbour on the floor below? The creepy salesman who ignores me in lieu of the slender damsel, which in retrospect is just as well? The cashier at the supermarket who ignores the auntie in line before the teenager, and proceeds to bag the pretty slender teenager’s groceries before hers ?
Or will the dubious honour to be judgemental fall upon the ubiquitous, snooty waiter, with looks so judgemental, it stops you from ordering those delicious hors d’oeuvres, just so you don’t appear gluttonous? Maybe the people you allow to hold judgement over you are the ladies who you lunch with, once a month, who have no idea who you really are?
The list, my friends, is endless and shall remain so. Folks will judge. It’s what they do, unwittingly. While one might not be in a position to change that, what we can change is our perspective…our perspective about ourselves. How? For starters, we can start by not judging ourselves, by not viewing ourselves through a lens that’s … ‘Convex’.
But the tide is turning, albeit slowly. A not so silent revolution of sorts has been sweeping Japan. The kind that’s forced the world to sit up and take notice, with The Marshmallow Girls.
Before you drive yourself into a frenzy guessing what these are, here’s an explanation that’s not so mystifying. The term Marshmallow Girls is being used in Japan, to refer to plus sized women. So huge (pun unintended) is the phenomenon that the Marshmallow Girls have their own magazine, fashion and even a rock group. Possibly this insane success and acceptance of the plus sized Japanese woman is an indicator of the conscious and deliberate rejection of the western ideal of the perfect woman. Case in point, the highly controversial and much talked about Victorias Secret’s ‘the perfect body campaign’. It might be a good idea to see healthy, regular girls on a centre spread that don’t make our teenagers rush into developing body issues at an early age. I’m sure all those with impressionable teens in their lives will agree.
So the next time you feel the need to judge someone exclusively on the basis of their body type…change your lens…change your perspective.
Love your body placard via Shutterstock
Neha is a Professor of Mass Communication. An erstwhile Copywriter and Corporate communications specialist, she
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