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.