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An open letter by the author to her body, which has borne the brunt of the shaming that a society that goes by stereotypes does, instead of looking at the person herself.
As women, our bodies are forever under scrutiny. Even when I was just born, you were judged. Some called you fair, some beautiful, some even commented on the lack of hair on your head.
I remember in my childhood years, your height being compared to a cousin of mine by her grandmother. I remember how you were bullied since my childhood- “Tall is beautiful, being short isn’t”. I remember my mother wanting you to be taller, and during my childhood she used to tell me to engage with skipping exercises everyday, in the hope that skipping workouts will increase your height. And I remember defending you and giving examples of successful stars who are short. I recall many men asking me your “height”, trying to ascertain your visual suitability even before getting to know me as a person.
I remember how your features have been individually examined. “Your nose is blunt,” you have been told so many times by different people. A quarter of a centimeter deficiency of your nasal bridge made you the butt of many unpleasant comments.
Next comes your hair; your frizzy, curly hair which often happened to be the irk of my classmates and teachers of my school. I remember being forever chastised, as your locks escaped from the tight rubber band embracing your pony tail. I remember being told by prefects in my school that I need to manage your hair better- tie it up even when it’s not of the length to be tied.
I remember you being bullied by girls from your class, I remember you had to hear jokes being chuckled by mean girls about your breasts. I also remember you being called “fat” by them, when your weight was just as much as any healthy teenager’s should be. I remember being ashamed.
I remember when you were diagnosed with myopia and put on your first pair of spectacles, my mother’s angry comments that she doesn’t like the look of girls who wear spectacles. Somehow a pair of spectacles was marring the aesthetic value of your face.
As I hit my 20s, you lost weight- an effect of surviving on hostel food. As you became slimmer than before, I remember my mother commenting that, “You are too thin, and no one finds that thin a person attractive.” I remember being told by an ex that weighing 50 kgs is being “fat”, that he prefers slim and petite women. I remember him calling you “fat” unabashedly viewing photos of my childhood. Somehow even your childhood appearance was scrutinized even when I was no longer a child.
I remember going through matrimonial advertisements of the Sunday newspaper to understand the market value of similar bodies. And I could gauge that you fulfilled none of the criteria of being called “beautiful and desirable”.
Today as I emerge a confident woman acknowledging your features- yes you are short, wheatish, with a short nose, and proud curly hair, I can say, “Baby, you can’t shame me any longer”. Dear Body, I want you to remember I’m proud of you, I will no longer let you be bullied and shamed for the fancies of other men and women.
Image source: pixabay
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Research scholar with a passion for writing, music, art, cinema and animation.
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