A TYPICAL CONVERSATION BETWEEN A TINY TWELFTH GRADER AND NOSEY NEIGHBOURHOOD-AUNTY, DURING A 30-SECOND ELEVATOR RIDE:
Nosey Neighbourhood-Aunty: “Namaste beta! How’s school going on? Which grade are you in now?”
Tiny Twelfth-grader: “Namaste Aunty! My board exams are on.”
Nosey Neighbourhood-Aunty: “Ohho, so you’re planning on taking up science for 11th and 12th grades?”
Tiny Twelfth-grader: “Aunty, my twelfth grade boards are on.”
*fake awkward giggles from both the parties*
Nosey Neighbourhood-Aunty: “Hayye!! You look like a ninth-grader!”
*another flood of fake giggles and the elevator thankfully reaches the nearest floor*
This wasn’t just the case with one particular aunty on one particular day. Rather, this happened every time I went out for a walk, the few times I went to the gym, and many more such instances.
I’ve lost count of how many times really close relatives, friends, and absolute strangers have reminded me of my clothes being too big for me, my bones sticking out, of the possibility of me getting blown away on a windy day, how I never had Complan and the worst, that my parents don’t feed me.
And don’t even get me started on being short. My petite frame automatically brings people to a comfort level with me where they start mocking my body right away. The negative attention I get everyday becomes a constant reminder that something is wrong with my appearance.
Fat-shaming is seen as quite a major problem in everyday discussions. However, due to the fact that being thin is wrongly considered as a desirable feature by the society, it makes it harder for skinny people to call out this form of body shaming. It’s unbelievable how many times I have been asked to stop calling out on me being body shamed only because I’m thin, even by our supposedly very ‘progressive’ and ‘aware’ generation.
While it is rude and hurtful to call someone fat, at least to their face, shaming people for being skinny through unsolicited advice, remarks, jokes and unnecessary ribbing is not even seen as offensive. People don’t realise that commenting on someone’s body because they are thin or short, or even tall, is just as demeaning as doing it to someone fat.
Sadly, the society’s idea of body shaming is restricted only to fat-shaming. The impractical beauty standards and aspirations of thigh-gaps have made it extremely difficult to call out on skinny-shaming. This happens to such an extent that many a time, fat people, while empowering their own selves, end up skinny shaming others.
Being a sanskaari kid, I could never clarify any of those random aunties’ stupid doubts on their faces. However, now that I am in a new place, away from all of them, here are the answers to a few of their questions:
- My parents feed me well. If you think otherwise, you’re probably one of those who think fat people eat up all the food available around them. And that’s rude.
- Sadly, I can’t fly away every time it gets windy; else I would’ve flown to better places, away from you.
- I’m sorry that my bones stick out, but it is with these very bones that I can hurt you, by simply resting my elbows on your enormous amounts of flesh.
- Complan won’t make any changes to anyone’s height, no matter whether you like it.
- No, I do not buy my clothes from the kids’ section. Stores keep XS as a size for a reason.
For any further clarifications, please feel free to contact me, and I’ll try my best to brush away all the misconceptions you have about the not-as-chubby population.