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There have been feminists expounding on women’s issues for centuries, especially their right to their bodies. To not allow their bodies be  regulated by the media or the perceptions of the society. I saw the first episode of My mad fat diary and liked the concept of the show. It talks about someone on the fringes of the social circle coz you guessed it, she’s mad and she’s fat. Actually Rae, the protagonist, just got out of an mental asylum.

This post isn’t about the show. It’s about women across the world. We have wanted to look slimmer, “better” because the media told us that if we weren’t skinny like Kareena or Anusha we werent beautiful. Why cant all bodies be celebrated equally?

If you think only they are beautiful, consider Tara Lynn.

She’s plus sized and she’s a supermodel. She’s 6’3 and a size 12.

The fashion industry has been forcing women to look like hangers. It’s easier for them to condition women into forcing their bodies to look a certain way rather than creating something unique for every single person. Mass production of clothes, like all capitalist endeavors, doesn’t leave much for the individual to show their uniqueness with. Sadly most designers/ brands act like the Abercrombie and Fitch CEO. They despise normal people who are not poster children for malnutrition.

In India there may be more appreciation for a fuller body than in the west but there’s also the fair skin fetish especially in North India. Growing up in the capital,Delhi, there is no escaping those manufactured ideals. To fight those ideals and accept oneself, is becoming an universal issue. The Deepika Padukone Vogue Empower video for example talks about women’s choices and has been garnering negative responses for being too vocal.

The crux of it, in my opinion, is It should be my decision to look however I want to, for myself, not for anyone else. Reactionary posts have been written, spoofs have been made. But why is it so hard to accept that it is a woman’s choice after all when it comes to her body.

Family members have been kind enough to tell me that if I lost a little weight I’d look very beautiful. On a field trip to a publisher in Jammu I got to hear something more innovative. Drink tea, it makes you fair. Now, this man who I met for the first time thought it was okay to tell me how to look, not bothering to figure out that Bengali women are dark and fiercely proud of it.Yami Gautam harping on about Fair and lovely will not make me want to look fairer.

Nandita Das, activist and actress, gave voice to a campaign against color discrimination against people in India. She has been trying to spread awareness and educate people that everyone is the same. Ideals of beauty are just that, ideals. Not reality.

If it’s not your size or color it would be how you live your life, you sexuality, your profession. It could be anything. People tend to have a problem with women, urban or rural, in this country. Accepting my own self has been a long journey. Changing one’s appearance will not ensure that they would gain confidence, only believing in oneself would and that’s what I chose to do.

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