It’s all about loving your body, the way it is

Recently, a global beauty and make-up brand made headlines when it appointed a man as its face. This comes at a time when body inclusivity and positivity has taken the form of a revolution. For every unhealthy social media trend, there’s a counter trend of healthy support. For every magazine that photoshops its cover girls, there’s one that’s breaking formulae by featuring the ‘unconventional and not perfect’ body type. For every body shaming troll online, we have an army of body positive people up in arms against them. India too, has not been alien to this wave of fighting body image issues. Last year saw celebrities and commoners alike question the ‘perfect body’ norm, and the trend continues in 2017 as well. BT lists some moments that not only challenged archaic body stereotypes, but also bashed them…

Bani J looked like the ultimate femme fatale, muscles and all
‘I do me. You do you’ was what Bani J’s post, shutting down body shamers, boiled down to. On being put down for having an athletic, fantastically toned, muscular and fit body, Bani shared her thoughts on her fitness through the social media platform. She did not mince words. And she made sure she got her point across. “I’ve heard it all. And not once because I actually cared enough to ask, ‘hey, what do *you* think of *my* body?’… I can’t remember the last time the thought of ‘will this be attractive to so and so’ crossed my mind in relation to myself — let alone to me lifting weight. It doesn’t happen. I love me so much and that’s all that matters,” read a portion of her post. We bet her words inspired more women to join the gym than any lifestyle listicle ever did.

Tannishtha Chatterjee slammed the average Indian’s inherent racism
The actress ripped a show on TV in a protest against the trend of bodyshaming under the guise of humour. When she was ‘roasted’ for her skin tone, and asked questions like if she was fond of jamun (blackberries) because it reflected in her skin tone, she did not find it funny. And she made sure the channel apologised to her for trying to shame her for her skin tone. The point she made? “There is no humor value in a joke about some ones physical attributes especially one that stems from deep prejudices (sic).”

She is a fashionista, but she did not wake up like this. And that is what she explained, with brutal candour, in this essay that she penned in a bid to promote body positivity — “‘Itni lambi, itni kaali’, a relative casually let slip at a family gathering. ‘Shaadi kaun karega?’ It confirmed that my greatest insecurities were well-founded.” Exactly the way the world finds great pleasure in confirming all our insecurities. And then she said what needed to be said, in the simplest words — “pursue prettiness for yourself, not to meet culturally preset notions of “flawless”. Because flawlessness is a dangerous, high-budget myth, and it’s time we shattered it.” Little girls (and everybody else) dreaming of becoming her, here’s an excerpt from the essay you should take a print out of and stick above your bed — “The next time you see a 13-year-old girl gazing wistfully at a blemish-free, shiny-haired Bollywood actress on a magazine cover, bust the myth of flawlessness for her. Tell her how beautiful she is. Praise her smile or her laugh or her mind or her gait. Don’t let her grow up believing that she’s flawed…”

Reshma and Laxmi burnt the stigma surrounding acid attacks
Despite the government taking efforts to make over-the-counter acid sale stricter in India, acid attacks continue. Amidst it all, two survivors were making history and creating buzz worldwide. First, Reshma Qureshi took the fashion world’s breath away as she sashayed down the ramp as a showstopper for the fashion week in New York. And then, Laxmi, another survivor, signed a deal with a clothing line to be its face, and walked the ramp in London. Burn, attackers!

Say hello to Miss Moti, the fat superheroine
Miss Moti is short for Miss motivational. Nepali artiste Kripa Joshi conceptualised this South Asian female comic superhero as a ‘fat’ (yes, fat. Not plump, not curvy, not well-rounded but fat) brown, ordinary girl with extraordinary imagination. In a world where heroism is associated with sculpted bodies and blonde wavy manes, Miss Moti is a relief. She is the fruit of Kripa’s struggles with her own body issues. Miss Moti’s adventures are real, just the way the average South Asian woman’s are. The perfect combination of ‘fantastical’ and ‘everyday’, Miss Moti seems to say, “On some days, I can’t stop doubting myself. But on most days, I get by just fine with a little love from myself.” Sounds familiar?

Kareena Kapoor khan, Shveta Salve and Carol Gracias made pregnancy look sexy
The past year, we weren’t really hoping to see much of Kareena Kapoor Khan. After all, she was pregnant with baby Taimur, and the norm has always been to hide that bulge. But Kareena couldn’t care less. She paraded her baby bump all over the ramp, parties, mag covers and tabloids. Her confidence, her candour, her love for her own body exuded with these public appearances. This is exactly what Carol Gracias and Shveta Salve had also done during their pregnancies


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