We’re all adapting to the concept of a ‘new normal’ with the pandemic. While we’re at this, why don’t we learn to normalise other important things as well?
Words Aashna Bhagwani
As a person who has been a part of the body positivity movement, I can proudly say that this movement is changing the world to be a better place. Growing up, I remember how size zero was such a big deal. Mainstream media glamorised it and everyone was aiming to be a ‘size zero’. Fad diets, detox teas and fat loss pills took advantage of people's self-esteem and brands made money over it. I used to joke around saying how I was a size zero too because the shape of zero matched the shape of my body. However, the sadness behind making jokes out of my own body was me just trying to hide the battles I was fighting internally. I would see these beautiful actresses on tv and films as perfect as could be and I struggled to find someone who looked like me.
Over the decades, the ‘ideal body shape’ has changed so much. We have built and broken ourselves to fit into an ideal size but now things are not the way they used to be. We are learning and educating ourselves and people around us that someone's worth is not based merely on their weight and appearance. I remember an instance in school where I was bullied for being overweight not only by peers but by teachers too. I grew up being ashamed of how I looked. As a little child, I was always inclined towards fashion. Fashion gave me joy and confidence. In the year 2014, I decided to start a blog and the goal behind it was that women should be able to enjoy fashion as much as I do irrespective of their size, shape, colour, and background.
In all these years I have realised how women deeply struggle with body image issues. In small ways, body-shaming starts in the family itself. I have some beautiful followers who at a very young age are saddened because their parents, relatives, or siblings taunt them about their weight. Sometimes friends bully them too. Going to college, so many girls and boys find it pressurising to look and dress a certain way. All these things can play such a drastic role in someone's mind. We as a society need to understand how important it is for young girls and boys to love their bodies and embrace it.
Fat shaming can cause scars that stay for life. The way we talk about size matters so much. Body Positivity is a movement which we all need to be part of. It's important to love yourself and accept people regardless of their physical appearance. In today’s day and age, this movement has grown exponentially. Not all bodies are the same and that's our power. We are used to seeing models on the covers of some magazines, photoshopped and airbrushed but that's not how everyone looks. Young girls and boys are surrounded by all kinds of media and sometimes the image the industry portrays is not always right and it makes them feel different about themselves.
SELF-LOVE IS A BEAUTIFUL JOURNEY BUT IT IS ALSO A VERY HARD PROCESS. YOU DON’T JUST START TO LOVE YOURSELF OVERNIGHT
Body confidence and women empowerment are not just terms to use. The struggle is very real to adapt and accept yourself, but it's not impossible. I get asked a lot "Aashna, how are you so confident in your body? I wish I could be as confident as you", and to that, I always say self-love is a beautiful journey but a very hard process. You don’t love yourself overnight. My personal journey included a lot of self-affirmations, reading books on body positivity. I realised over time that I don’t need to care about someone's judgement. What matters is what I think about myself. Waking up in the morning when I look in the mirror, yes, I see flaws but I also see some beautiful things about myself.
Slowly but surely you train your mind to provide yourself with positive thoughts and in this journey, you love yourself a little more each day. There is so much more to us than just our bodies. As a plus-size fashion blogger and a body-positive activist I have also seen a massive growth in the plus-size fashion industry where brands, labels, and designers are making clothes for all sizes there is finally inclusivity in fashion too. We deserve to live in a world that is accepting and loving. I want every young girl and boy to know that they don’t need to hide or be embarrassed about their appearance. Yes, it's important to have awareness of one's health but it needs to be portrayed in a positive and healthy manners. The Body Positive movement still has a long way to go but people like me, others, and the society as a whole can make a world of a difference so always remember your weight doesn’t define your worth and all bodies are beautiful.