I know it shouldn’t matter. I know it doesn’t make sense. But I still feel the pressure. Every day. To weigh a certain weight, to look a certain way, to have a certain body dimension. To have my hair look and bounce a certain way, for my skin to glow, for my teeth to shine pearly white and have a 100 watt perfect smile.
I pride myself on being sane, logical, capable of seeing through banal marketing tactics. Me – who openly declares my weight – and that it’s no one else concern.
And with all that, I still chide myself each time I look in the mirror, for not having the perfect body shape. For requiring a size 36 jeans and longish shirts to cover up the flabby tummy and hips. Especially each time I venture out shopping. Which is now down to an annual trip. You see, I hate going through store after store, not finding clothes that fit me. I’m the in-between size. Regular stores like Westside, Lifestyle, Max, SS apparently stock clothes that can only fit 15 yr old girls. They just wont fit a regular woman. The few items I find in my size are usually unflattering and hideous. Or worse, marked size 36/XXL and too tight for me to squeeze into. Even after I hold my breath and pull in my stomach. All and other plus size stores usually carry 38 and larger. A shopping trip turns into a mad, desperate, demeaning treasure hunt. I’ve been forced to stick to free flowing kurtas and salwar suits for office wear.
I try to remind myself that it doesn’t matter. Size and shape aside, I’m a beautiful woman.
Fresh from Ek Tha Tiger at the theatre; and the ShahRukh’s classics at home, DDLJ drives home a point. Remember Juhi, Madhuri and Kajol. They werent SIZE ZERO. From Madhubala & Nutan to Katrina and Kareena… Somewhere along the decades, skinny replaced the curves. Bollywood and the Media quickly changed the way the 21st century Indian woman looks. But they just forgot to tell our genes and DNA about it.
My body is unique. Just like everyone else out there. Who decided that 55kg is the right weight for me? How? Did they factor in my specific genome, my eating habits, my lifestyle, the age of my child, my bone density and the color of my car ? Who decided that my skin needs to be just this much lighter, or tighter. Tell me again – Why are wrinkles a problem? Why is it not okay for me to look and feel my age?
You see, I’ve EARNED these wrinkles. I’ve EARNED the grey hair. I’ve EARNED the extra curves and pounds. I’ve paid for them with my sweat and my time. And I’m proud of them.
Atleast whenever I can get away from the media’s brainwashing.
What shocks me is that the irrational concept of beauty as defined by our society today, is so deep, and so ingrained, that it still rattles me. Even at this ‘mature’ age. Even though I’m not exposed to numbing, dumbing, daily quota of advertisements courtesy the Telly, newspapers or internet. And if this is the impact the Media’s bombardment has on me, a sane, logical, rational, ‘mature’ woman – what chance do the impressionable teens and young women have?
(Wait a min.. I do a quick check among the women I know, my age and senior; how many of them are not bothered by the few ‘extra’ pounds and the waist line .. and I realize none. Each of them has been bitten by the ‘weight’ bug. Even the one’s with 28 and 30inch waists … Hmm.. so it’s not just impressionable teens and young women…)
I want to scream out. Who decides what’s “extra”? Who decided that stomachs are supposed to be flat? And er.. where then does the body store food it’s digesting. Oh wait.. we’re supposed to have carb free diets along with nutrient supplements and protein shakes. Who needs a stomach!! Yay!!! And then I too can be stick thin with a flat stomach!
Where have the real women gone? Why are cameramen afraid to show them?