As someone who has, on far more occasions than I care to remember, been called out on my bodily proportions, I feel we as a global population need to address one of the most fundamental issues that plagues our society: body size. Living in Pakistan has made me almost accustomed to hearing that unless you’re thin, you’re ugly. From adults to friends, people have fed me this idea till I choked. I was always either too fat or too skinny, and struggled to achieve the perfect balance of both before I realised that it did not exist. For those of you who have stared at the mirror, cringing at every curve that lines your body, I want to dispel this image once and for all. Our society is so flawed on so many levels, and as a part of that society we are flawed along with it. I am not the first person to say this, and I am certainly not the first to write about it, but I hope that anyone reading this will understand that everyone has flaws. ‘Fat’ is not an insult, although it is commonly (and incorrectly) used as one. It is merely an adjective, like ‘short’ or ‘tall’. The purpose of it’s existence is to describe body types that may not appear on the covers of Vogue, but exist all the same. Thus, any form of self-loathing originating from the size of your body alone is absolutely ludicrous. ‘Fat-shaming’ in itself is such an asinine idea that, I feel, bruises the perceived intellect of our society. Never fall prey to ideas rooted in negativity. Accepting your body is a difficult step to take, but one essential to a happy existence. That said, I am not trying to discourage people from losing weight. Exercise and eating right are crucial steps we should all incorporate into our daily lives for healthy living. However, starving yourself to reduce your body to a ‘size 0’ is not, in any way, shape or form, healthy.
Recently, I’ve also been introduced to the idea of ‘skinny-shaming.’ Although not as severe, skinny-shaming is something we can just as easily fall prey to. For those of you who grimace at your curve-less figures, do not despair. It’s true that being skinny is coveted, but even the skinniest of people do not escape critisism. People repeated tell them to ‘eat something’ and comment on how skeleton-like their bodies look, calling them ‘anorexic.’ Now, I understand the concept of concern, but I don’t think calling someone diseased is the best way to show that you care about them. First of all, diseases like anorexia should not and cannot be used to insult people. Secondly, constructive critisism is always helpful but not when presented with blatant disregard for resulting emotions.
An important thing we all need to come to terms with is that beauty and body size are not synonymous. Our society has been constructed in such a way that the ‘perfect’ body is very unique (even the exact measurements have been expressed), only obtainable by a niche audience and very, very imperfect. The battle of body confidence is one I have fought and won. The secret to this victory? Acceptance. Society will critisise you no matter what you do, so my best advice to you is to disregard the whims and wishes of other people. You are never going to be perfect in everyone’s eye, I repeat, never. Do not live for other people. Be the best version of yourself in your own eyes, and whether that version of you has a waist of 23 inches or 53 inches is entirely insignificant. Learn to accept other people and most of all, learn to accept yourself.