Body Shaming: Leading Figures Are Coming Forward Against Female Body Stereotyping


New Delhi: Stereotypes are the “typical generalisation” that society as a whole generates by adhering to a general pattern and creating a generalised perspective. One of the many stereotypes existing in our society is the quest to achieve a perfect body shape, especially for women, or the idealistic notion of attainment of an ideal female body shape. 

Body shaming which is referred to as the action or practice of humiliating someone by making mocking or critical comments about their body shape or size has been unnoticed for a long time in our society, it is now that prominent television and film figures are leading the stage to raise a concern about the issue. 

Due to her weight gain, Miss Universe 2021 Harnaaz Sandhu recently had to endure online bullying. Even though she did not mind her weight, she recently admitted to People magazine that the online abuse bothered her.

“I was bullied for gaining weight. I found it quite unsettling and shocking to watch how individuals began to voice their thoughts, which shouldn’t really matter. She was reported in the journal as saying, “It’s not about how you appear; it’s about who you are from the inside, how you treat people, and what you believe in.

The Chandigarh beauty pageant winner referenced an old video of Brook Antoinette Mahealani Lee, popularly known as Brook Lee, from her Miss USA 1997 competition, which she won and went on to claim the title of Miss Universe that year, in a now-unavailable Instagram story uploaded earlier this week.

She posed a question concerning weight gain during the Miss USA competition, and her famous response that night ensured her victory. “[The reigning] Miss Universe has recently drawn a lot of press attention over her weight,” the broadcaster had questioned her. How would you respond if anything like this occurred to you?

To this, Lee replied, “I think I would take a good hard look at myself and I’d look from the inside out and I would know I was the same girl that was crowned that day and it really didn’t matter what I look like on the outside, because I won for what I was in here. So if I go up, I go down, I get taller, I get shorter, my nose gets bigger, smaller, I’m still who I was when that crown was on my head and I am a good representative no matter what.”

Miss Universe 2021 posted the video beside a text, “Just a reminder!” 

Earlier, Bollywood actresses like Huma Qureshi and Vidya Balan have also spoken out against body shaming on social media and other platforms.

Recently, Vidya Balan shared a brief but crucial occurrence on social media that made her think about the importance of body acceptance and self-love. She was at an event when a girl approached her and asked respectfully if she would take her picture. Minutes later, the girl came rushing back for another picture, saying, “Galat side se liya, main achchi nahi lag rahi ,yeh post nahi kar paungi.”

The girl chased the actress through the crowd to her car because she was so determined to have the ideal shot with her. Vidya gave in to her constant requests, but it brought back memories of her earlier struggles with her body and her “profile issues”.

The star also admitted that she frequently used crash diets “simply to lose weight” during an interview with businesswoman Namita Thapar on her show ‘Uncondition Yourself with Namita Thapar’ earlier in the month of May of this year.

She continued by saying that despite being at her thinnest, she would “feel fat” due to her struggles with body image issues. “In my early years, I experienced rejection in the South film industry, which I believed was caused by my weight. I felt overweight even when I was the thinnest,” she admitted.

Actress Huma Qureshi described very similar experiences in an interview with Mid Day, recalling that women encounter such kinds of issues on a daily basis. Body shaming affects all women, not just those who appear in front of the camera. The issue is pertinent. She’s been approached by numerous women who have all told her that. She has a personal connection to Double XL size as well because she was fat-shamed for years. 

For a long, it has been believed and practically followed that in order to be an actress one has to maintain a shape, an ideal female body shape. In an industry where unattainable aesthetic standards have long been the norm, actresses are coming forward to normalise all kinds of sizes and shapes that exist, ultimately it’s hard work and commitment towards work that matters. 

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