Thursday, 29 August, 2013

Fat Shaming. It exists and It Hurts

When was the last time you flipped through the television and saw an obese person as the lead character? When was the last time you saw a movie which treated an obese person as an actual human being rather than a comedic device? Never? I thought so.

Fat shaming is something that has been in existence since a very, very long time. Ask any obese person about their daily life, most will tell you they were bullied that day because of the way they look. I am a fat person too. Worse, I am a fat woman. And every day that I step out of my house is a living nightmare.

Everyday I am met with stares. People look at me with a range of emotions-from absolute disgust to disbelief. I have had men and women double, even triple back at me, if they happen to overtake me while walking. This is what I live with every single day of my life.

I wish it ended there though. After the stares come the giggles, the whispers and the obvious name calling. There is not a single thing you could say about me that I haven't heard before. Moti, saandh, haati,The Big Show, Yokozuna, are some of the more regular ones. Children walk up to me and laugh at me. They ask why I have such a big face. I have often brushed their comments aside in the hope that perhaps it is their innocence that is making them inquisitive about my appearance. But it is not so.

Children are conditioned to believe that anyone who doesn't look like them are to be mocked. Sometimes they learn this from what they see on TV and movies and most of the time they learn this from their parents.

So many times I have observed parents poking their children, encouraging them to look at me and laugh. If this is what they are taught by their own parents, how will they know any better?

Being fat is one of the most difficult things to live with. Being a fat woman, doubly so. Not only am I called names on the basis of my looks, I am also harassed with sexual terms. One day, I was walking with a friend and we were passing by a group of men. As we were walking past, one of the men shouted, "Ghar jitna bhi bada ho, darwaza to chota hi hota hai na!" They all burst out laughing. At that moment, I wanted to kill them all. And in all honesty, if I could get away with murder, I would have.

I have the best family, and some great friends who support me no matter what I look like. Yet, they will never understand the amount of shame I am made to feel everyday. If these people, who know and love me do not judge me, why should strangers?

Unfortunately, conditioning happens both ways. So while people are made to believe fat is ugly, I am made to believe that too. I have extremely low self esteem and self worth. I do not believe any man will ever love me, I mean why would they? Look at me! It's come to a point where I now consider myself asexual because I know there is no point in even hoping for love for a person like me.

My passion for travelling has been diminished because of fat shaming. Travelling in Benaras was the worst experience of my life. It was so bad that I would plug earphones in my ear and put Metallica on blast just so it could drown the name calling and laughter. I now find comfort at being home and not going anywhere. It's my safe haven.

There is a lot more I could say, but as I am going through this post, it is sounding more and more like a pity party, but sadly it is my reality. Not only that, this is also the reality of every fat person you have ever known. Some have very carefree, happy go lucky attitudes, but I can say with all earnestness that it is a front. Inside, we hurt like crazy.

So, why did I wrote this post? Obviously, I am angry, I am hurt. And hope as I might, this post is not going to make a difference to people's outlook towards fat people. But maybe a parent reading this will teach their child about love, compassion and understanding. Maybe a bully reading this will understand what his/her victim feels like when they call them names. Maybe a fat person reading this will empathise. Maybe they will share their stories.

Or maybe nothing will happen and I just wrote this to let off some steam.


Rinkz said...

You're right, nothing has changed over the years, and nothing might change. I second everything you've said and I don't need empathy to know how this feels as I face this myself day in and out! And because there are those few who know us and love us for who we are, I know that there are more out there. The fight is to realize that obesity is a disease, something no one wills to oneself. And I know how easily we can give up because we're made more vulnerable with every joke made at our expense, but we must continue to stand up for ourselves and hope to see change, no matter how small.

Thank you for writing this piece.


Nikita Banerjee Bhagat said...

Hope you are feeling better after writing this post. The fault lies in us really... we all want to be someone we are not.

You face fat shaming and I face color discrimination. North Indians' idea of beauty (at least my hubby's family) is fair is beautiful. So being dusky I am neither fair nor beautiful. So basically I don't stand a chance for anything.

Please don't ever thing about never finding love. Love happens in strange places... :)

Take care buddy!

Retail FDI in India said...

Hi Supriya,
I won't say " I do understand" 'coz i find this sentence crap and feel like punching into the faces of the people who say this.
But i would say that even i have gone through mocking and still do. For being dark skinned, for having different body structure...and, it hurts. It hurts more when even matured, educated people say mean things.
When read your post, it felt someone has read my mind. Thank you!!

Mirchi Laddoo said...

I was excited for the first day of my work. For travelling towards CST, Took a seat in a Dombivli local. A girl sitting opposite to me said kaise kaise log aa jate hain..4th seat ke liye jagah bhi nahin rehta. I was so ashamed of occupying extra space, I didn't sit even if seat was available for 3 years.

Anirudh Garg said...

Hello, Iggy. I completely agree with your point about lowered self esteem. Having been much heavier than average, since early childhood, it has become a part of who I am. I use humour about my weight to offset anything that anyone might say, and have learnt to live with it. Having no confidence in your ability to look good and to present yourself attractively to the opposite sex, is a hell of a depressor at times. Not even gonna get started on the health problems that come with the weight.

Being a male, I don't get stared at or whispered about like that, but I see it happen to women on the road and in the markets everyday, and it saddens as much as it disgusts me. I share your hope, that this will be shared, and SOMEONE will put their kids or themselves on the right path. All the best! :)

Shrruti Vajpayee said...

Supaaar! I feel every word of what you've written here. The look on people's faces, the low self esteem, everything. I didn't know what you looked like when I first followed you on twitter, but you were one of the funniest and cutest people and after a point I didn't care what you looked like. I love you and miss you on twitter. You're a rockstar.

Lots of love,

Devashish Mishra said...


I am also a bit obese. After reading your blog I could sense that you have given up. Please forgive me if I am wrong. But if there is a chance that you can cure your obesity by adopting healthy lifestyle please dedicate yourself to disciplined exercise routine. I can sense that U hate your current condition. Use it to combat that condition. Human beings are gifted with an ability to bring about big changes around them. Every one of us has that ability, just use it. Please make it a mission that U will laugh at everyone who did laugh at U. I said all this coz I hv changed myself too. I hated my earlier body so much that I wanted to get rid of all my body fat. Now I am a lot better than before.

Bucket-Headcase said...

Supaaaar! I am not a fat guy. But I am baby-faced and I know the tonne of ridicule that comes along with it. You may be fat. But you are awesome. I have never seen anyone duck-face like you do. And thousands of twitter women may call themselves 'Dragon-mother' or 'Khaleesi' but I have never thought anyone else to be that other than you. You have that thing. Now cheer up. Because The Khaleesi can't be sad. The Khaleesi is was and has to be strong and plain awesome. love. xoxoxo

gaurav kenkre said...

Hi Supaar.

I agree with Oinkoo. When I followed you I had no idea how you looked, and couldnt care less. You were just fun to have on the TL. Similarly people exist who value you for who you are. Cherish them. Everybody has people who pull them down for various reasons. I guess if they are strangers then you should totally not bother about their opinion. They dont matter.They are nobodys.
And am sure a lot of people love you. Dont let the hate of irrelevant people win over the love of the ones who care for you.
And You better be back on Twitter soon


Ali Rizvi said...

Initially I got really emotional after reading this post. But sorry I have no sympathies for you. I wonder if your life is as difficult as differently abled people. I don't want to make you feel better by comparing you with worst. I know its difficult to ignore but why do you care about the things you cannot control. I understand people should really know how to behave. But you cannot make your life difficult for this. Even slim girls face eve teasing. You have many other blessings people can be jealous of. The way you write. This blog.

Vaise we can be friends. I am already falling in love with a moti. Lol. :)

Sankalp said...

A fat person as protagonist?
The photographer girl from the movie 'The ship of Theseus'.
Kevin James' character in the movie 'Hitch'.
Or me in my life.
Though not morbidly obese, I wouldn't call these characters slim! And this is only to name a few!
I can promptly think of 'Kim Dotcom' (since I read a feature about him recently), the Internet tycoon, who is superfluously fat, who is a total rockstar and coolness icon despite his fatness.