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Are we Glorifying Seeking Validation From Others To Look A Certain Way?

Posted: August 30, 2020

A revenge body refers to when a person loses weight after a break-up to make their ex-partner jealous. It is a body type that induces (or is supposed to induce) regret in another person.

‘Hi, I am Ross’s ‘little’ sister’, a very excited Monica reaches out to Chandler when introduced to him for the first time. He looks at her and responds with a sarcastic smirk and an extremely mocking gesture ‘Yeah, right!’ Confused, not being able to comprehend how to react Monica rubbishes off the entire situation and moves on to her next idea to impress his brother’s best friend and college roommate. Deep down she knew what had happened.

Cut to the next year, Chandler visits Ross’s house again on Thanksgiving and when Monica appears with all her extra kilos shed and looking her best in a beautiful blue dress, Chandler is blown away. The wooing now happens another way around. What Monica achieves is popularly known as in new-age language ‘Revenge Body.’

The concept of revenge body

A revenge body refers to when a person loses weight after a break-up to make their ex-partner jealous. It is a body type that induces (or is supposed to induce) regret in another person. It is based on the significantly transforming oneself, to the extent that your ex-partner repents ending the relationship with you. The problem is not with transforming oneself and becoming a better version of yourself. The underlying pressure, anxiety and the need to prove yourself to someone else is problematic and equally harmful to the overall well-being of the individual.

Don’t overlook your mental well being

Body-positive activists around the globe take issue with the term for many reasons. The entire concept that your body transformation or physical appearance can manipulate someone to be wanting to be with you is flawed. To begin with, if you are changing your body for someone else, then ultimately you are the one at the receiving end because you are still allowing that person to dictate your life and your body. You are in a way trying to seek approval from them. And what if you are not successful in inducing the feeling of regret in them? They linger in your thoughts, remain the focus of your life and also sends a subtle message that the reason they should have stayed with you was solely dependent on your appearance. This should, in any case, never be the reason to be with someone in the very first place. It can lead you to develop a toxic relationship with your body and instil in your mind that this can make you earn some sort of validation or social currency. If you really want to seek validation, try to seek it from yourself.

Revenge in itself is a bad idea

No matter how philosophical it might sound, revenge can never be healthy. Seeking revenge can never undo the problems that were there in a relationship irrespective of whether the other person wronged you in some way or the other. While I understand it could be secretly rewarding and can give a sense of achievement, it might also lead to a lot of undue pressure and anxiety in the process. Most importantly, taking revenge based solely on your physical appearance proves that your shape and size were never perfect and you are in a way giving a green signal to all the body shamers out there.

Is ‘looking a certain way’ and happiness directly proportional?

When was the last time you ran into a friend who has gained weight and told them that they look better now? Instead, we all start sympathizing and say that don’t worry you will go back to your original shape. We never see a ‘fat’ picture in the ‘after’ column of before-after comparison. As far as I can recall and know, fitting into a ‘kind of body type’ has been an inevitable ticket to happiness. I agree that physical transformation is tough and it is commendable to achieve it, but it shouldn’t be done under the garb of ‘proving’ something to someone. Also, it should not come with a subtle suggestion that the person looks immeasurably better than what he/she was before.

Fighting ‘It’s not that bad’ syndrome

Our society is obsessed with ‘It’s not that bad’ syndrome. Whenever someone talks about how ‘Oh my arms are so fat’ or ‘I better go to the gym, need to prep for my revenge body, our instinct response is ‘don’t worry, it’s not that bad!’ By saying this, we are subtly implying that it is bad however the person is not a victim of too heavy, too thick or too flat body parts. They are doing just fine but could do much better. The thing is there is nothing ‘bad’ in having thick arms or flat breasts. By subtly implying that there is something wrong, we are not only insulting the other person but we are giving out a message of ‘non-acceptance’ of what they have. We are over imposing the notion that body parts can be ‘bad.’

As cliché as it might sound, our bodies are temples we live in. It is our home, our place of worship and it is extremely crucial that we all embrace it the way it is. Yes, physical fitness, being healthy as well as overall well- being is undoubtedly very important. Therefore, we should strive to do it for ourselves and not as a mere revenge tool for others.

Have you ever thought what would have happened if Monica never lost weight?

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