11 Comments
Mar 18Liked by Mahima Vashisht

Marketing is the art of stealing people's self worth, and selling it back to them for the price of the product. Better stop going to places which are designed for the sole purpose of stealing your self worth :)

Expand full comment
Mar 18·edited Mar 18Liked by Mahima Vashisht

So my mom is of a very fair complexion and I am at least 3-4 shades darker than her. I could relate so hard to the stories of families being responsible for giving you these insecurities. My entire family always used to pass comments on my complexion, how fat I was and how hairy my face was. I remember an incident where a relative of mine gave me a look of almost disgust and asked my mom “Is this your daughter?”

It has taken a lot of acceptance and unlearning to make some progress on accepting my complexion, my body hair.

I think having a partner who understands my insecurities and makes me question them all the time has helped a lot in this journey. Hence I would urge all the men reading this to consciously put in efforts to help women in their lives to overcome their insecurities and accept their bodies as they are. Thanks Mahima for writing this!

Expand full comment
author

Hugs Anon! That last para should be considered part of my piece!

Expand full comment
Mar 18Liked by Mahima Vashisht

This is such a powerful article. I used to catch myself saying this so often - “what to do, am so big na” in that terribly apologetic tone. It has taken a lot of unlearning.

Expand full comment
author

Hugs K! I have done a lot of self-fat-shaming too. It feels like becoming a new person altogether to stop talking unkindly about our bodies, no?

Expand full comment
Mar 18Liked by Mahima Vashisht

Oh that pakoda like nose example is so real . I personally believe body positivity and facial positivity needs to be discussed separately now because the pressure is not to have just a particular kind of body(i.e., thin ,hair free ,etc) but also to have a particular kind of face . I'm currently 19 but I realized the way I feel for my features and body is extremely toxic when I was 17 , still realizing is not enough , been fighting with these since past 5-6 years so I guess it won't be that easy . For now, the only goal I have for me is ''Go easy on yourself''.

Expand full comment
Mar 22Liked by Mahima Vashisht

Hello people, I am a long time lurker and first time commenter on this blog.

I am a 25 year old man and I have always been amazed at how many of my female friends and relatives have body image issues. Some of them are the absolute embodiment of the perfect woman that Bollywood (and now Instagram) have projected, but still they don't look at their bodies with love and pride. And when I try to point out the same they will say "no man, my arms are fat" or something. Many of them have told me, like you pointed out, one of their relatives/friends had pointed out some part of their bodies which is not "perfect" and this insecurity gets instilled in their mind.

Expand full comment
Mar 18Liked by Mahima Vashisht

Can relate to every anecdote in this issue. The other day I was at the salon and this lady asked me if I do regular face clean-ups and I said yes but it has been due for some time now. She said you need it terribly without giving any other reasons. Though I am not surprised by their sales tactics since everytime I visit the salon, I am acquainted with one or the other inadequacy which I didn't even know about. Now I am just used to taking them lightly and putting them on a spot by asking 'WHY do I need this' and watch them getting baffled with no answers.

Expand full comment

it's alright to have fat specially for a married women who is also a mom... after pregnancy this is normal and shouldn't be a thing to laugh about.. moreover some women do look even more gorgeous with some fat

Expand full comment

Way before you were born, Madhu Kishwar, always prescient, had warned about this while a furious feminist/activist in Delhi. Sadly, those wonderful articles that she wrote in Manushi are not available, but luckily, I had some old links that I could use to get the original from Internet Archive. Read the full thing. We've argued this topic in a thread in 2011 in the group which Salil was a part of. :-)

https://web.archive.org/web/20160618155453/https://sawnet.org/books/writing/beauty.html

Expand full comment

I researched this topic (about body positivity in women) some time ago.. I think that a lot of the conversations you've listed are the products of colonialism (preference for fairness) and western influenced marketing (preference for anorexic bodies).

My research yielded a rather traditional answer that may surprise you.

https://arunsimha.substack.com/p/raising-a-woman

Expand full comment