Body Shaming And Age Shaming An Achiever LIke Aish In This Era Of D&I Is Just Plain Bullying

It’s concerning to note how we talk so much about diversity and inclusion, and in the same breath, shame women like Aishwarya Rai for something as natural as ageing.

Aishwarya Rai has always been at the forefront of attention ever since her modelling days. From being called the world’s most beautiful woman to plastic, she’s no stranger to public commentary. You need to have a thick skin to be in the public eye.

But what happens when things get too much?

This can look like commenting on not just her appearance-lack of style but also her 11-year-old daughter’s. Or the incessant public curiosity about why she drags her daughter everywhere to the other ends of the world.

This is akin to bullying

Why are we so interested in seeing a girl’s forehead or a woman’s ears? Do they owe us anything?

Are we really concerned about the actual reasons for her weight gain or why she takes her daughter everywhere? Is it just our cheap voyeurism or genuine concern?

Can’t they be comfortable in whatever body size, outfit, lipstick shade, hairstyle, or any choices, for that matter? What are these bizarre expectations from the mother-daughter duo?

Coming back to Aishwarya Rai’s looks, is that ALL we look at in Aishwarya Rai?

How many of us know of “overweight” women close to their 50s still being invited to walk the ramp with international celebrities and deliver two back-to-back blockbuster hits as the lead actor? If this is not a win for the cause of diversity and inclusion, what is?

We would have lauded any other overweight and ageing woman in her place today for doing what she’s doing. And hailed them as a poster child for diversity and inclusion. Think Lizzo, Lupita Nyong’o and the likes! Let’s never forget the fact that Aishwarya Rai’s been the front face for leading brands and movies since her late teens to date.

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Consider the badass woman she is!

Outer beauty is transient, even if it’s Aishwarya RaI. But what is truly beautiful and lasting is what lies underneath the skin—your innate character. How about we stop gazing at Aishwarya Rai through our shoddy lenses for a while, wipe them for more clarity? So we can celebrate the fact that an indigenous woman close to her 50s and looking every bit of it, is the front face for international brands and mainstream blockbuster movies.

Here is a woman who had the likes of Will Smith and Brad Pitt eager to offer her a role against them, but chose to be true to her values and roots instead. Here is the only woman who filed a legal case for domestic violence against Salman Khan, one of the kingpins of Bollywood, much before Somy Ali called him out.

Maybe Aishwarya Rai’s focus has shifted from outer beauty to her immediate family and this phase may be temporary or lasting. Maybe she is going through a lean patch like all of us do or maybe she’s at a genuinely happy place in her life. That is immaterial again, and none of our concern.

Also not every overweight or ageing woman is necessarily depressed. Sometimes, it can be the other way around too. Happiness comes in all sizes.

The sheer confidence to walk on international ramps with wrinkles, an “overweight” body, and flirting with that hip-sway, wink and a flying kiss. Wow! If that’s not breaking stereotypes around beauty, appropriate lady behaviour and embracing body positivity, I don’t know what is.

We have a lot to celebrate, yet we choose to nitpick on a woman’s ageing process, which will eventually get to us too, sooner or later. Why not celebrate her journey and her pursuit of happiness instead?

Originally published here.

Image source: YouTube and Instagram of Aishwarya Rai 

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Tina Sequeira

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