Perfect Body – many of us have been living in a delusional world because of these words. Many of us are reminded each day how our bodies are not perfect or somewhat less than perfect. This reminder is sent to us by the beauty/cosmetics industry, which stood at a revenue of 80.74 billion USD in the year 2021 and the Weight Loss and Management industry, which stood at a whopping 254.9 Billion USD. Sometimes these industries feed into the fear of individuals of looking a certain way. The standardization of beauty is something not everyone can live upto, whether it is body shape, eye shape, face structure, skin colour, skin type, hair type, features and the list goes on and on.
Some women have started to feel the need to change their body type or shape up to an extent that they face abnormal health issues, and some conditions are even fatal. The constant need to change their bodies to look and feel a certain way has become so important to them that they have forgotten to live their life. The concept of “thin is beautiful” has been chiseled in the minds of young ladies which results in eating disorders and unhealthy lifestyles.
One 17-year old girl named Anamika(name changed) avoided eating anything except cucumbers that too very less, when she was studying Engineering and staying in a hostel. She was so obsessed with being thin and staying thin that she did not even realize that she was underweight. One day one of her friends offered her a polo(mint candy), she refused to suck on it and shouted, “do you want me to be fat, no I will not eat it I will turn fat”. I was flabbergasted by this statement of hers, as it was coming from an underweight and clearly malnourished girl. Later she was diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa and Depression.
Young ladies should be enjoying their life, playing, eating, studying, taking life decisions and doing so much in life, but this concept has consumed every thought of such girls.
Famous celebrities like Jacqueline Fernandes, Lucy Hale, Lily Collins, Paulica Abdul, Taylor Swift have or had eating disorders. In the entertainment industry it becomes much more difficult to keep a positive body image as you are always under a scanner by many followers.
While other actresses like Sonakshi Sinha, Parineeti Chopra who were previously fat or overweight, earlier advocated about body positivity but later gave in to the beauty standards. Some celebrities like Jane Fonda have kept it hidden as well but later shared with the world. Young girls look up to these celebrities, so when they come up and speak about their struggles and how they overcame them, send in a positive message for sure.
This however is changing with self-made, body positive Instagram influencers like Sakshi Sindwani, Shira Rose, Laura Lu, Neha Parulkar, Neelakshi, Michelle Elman, Jessamyn Stanley who make relevant content on Body issues and motivate women to be themselves but healthy. Whether they are obese, underweight or do not fit the so called “beauty standards”, they do not care and love the way they are. There are so many celebrities who advocate this Body Positivity Movement. Vidya Balan a famous Indian actress advocates body confidence and body positivity, despite her being criticized by many, but her acting skills are impeccable to keep everyone’s mouth shut. Their message to the world is be yourself and love yourself just the way you are.
The conditioning which most of us go through is baleful. The amount of eating disorders are increasing at an alarming rate worldwide. The number of people with eating disorders is approximately 24 million only in the United States. Out of this number 10,200 deaths have been reported. The condition has been worsened by the advent and growth of Covid 19, those who were already struggling against this had their plates overflown. It is considered females fall prey to these disorders like Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder more often, but males also face issues like these.
A 16 year old boy named Rachit Malik, a student in Class XII weighed almost 116 kg. His parents were not concerned much until they received a complaint from his school that he was stealing food from other students’ lunch boxes and had been caught red handed doing so. His weight soared to 130 kg and he was diagnosed with chronic bulimia and depression. He used to binge eat and vomit later. He would eat upto 12 samosas(deep fried fritters filled with potato) and vomit it all. The parents were reluctant and refused to believe that bulimia is a mental disorder.
What is worrisome is most of the times these diseases are not recognized and go undiagnosed. In some of the developing countries there is a lack of proper data and help available to treat these mental conditions.
People come in all shapes and sizes
Women of all shapes and sizes are beautiful, every skin type is amazing as it is. Our focus has to be on being healthy and not just slimming down or attaining a certain body shape. I do not mean do not be the best version of yourself or do not take care of your body and mind. In order to lead a healthy life no one has to fit in unrealistic standards of the human body set by some profit hungry people. Do not think about what others have to say about you, people will say all sorts of amicable and obnoxious things to you, do not let anything to your head whether positive or negative.
Accept who you are, improve for who you can be and love yourself in every state you are in.
I wish you all a very happy “Women’s Day”.
About the Author
Neeti Mudgal Sharma is a solopreneur of a proprietor firm called ‘Neeti Education Services’, motivational speaker, life coach, educationalist, soft skills trainer, public speaker(soon to be on Josh Talks). She is a woman rights’ activist who believes in the crust of feminism.