As I hopped around the living room, shoving a particularly buttery slice of fruit & nut cake into my mouth while simultaneously trying to get ready for work, I offered a slice to my friend. It’s Christmas in a day, after all. It’s acceptable to have cake and chai for breakfast before rushing out to adult for the day. While I went for my third helping, I saw her chipping away at tiny morsels, a sight all too familiar when it comes to many of my female friends. When you offer them food, they will grab out molecules if possible, because we’ve all been taught to portion control – our food as well as our lives. She had asked me a night before if it seems like she has gained any weight. Again a common occurrence, we are all too familiar with. It happens all year round.
But, now the scrutiny has been upped because it’s that time of the year again. Other people will turn up on your doorstep – literal as well as virtual – with a bagful of weighty judgments every time they see you making merry with a few extra slices of cake on your plate. Remember that problematic ad, where a friend is shown taunting a girl about getting fat and sprouting acne if she keeps eating whatever her heart desires? Real life for most girls is just like that, on a daily basis. If it isn’t an uncle dissing us for not maintaining the upkeep required to land a “good” husband, it’s random strangers trolling us online for having more than one chin. Yes, some of the men in our lives also watch their paunch and keep things in check, but not all of them do it with the kind of vigilance that women have been taught to do.
Around the holiday season the judgement and unwarranted body shaming comments tend to fall out of the sky a tad more harshly. Maybe not on the heads of all men, but definitely on the hearts of all women. Less like the softness of the fake cotton snow that rests on the fake Christmas trees in our homes, and more like the merciless hardness of hail, we’re hit, over and over again. The casualty? Our dignities.
From shitty magazines peddling unrealistic standards of beauty to young girls to diet companies selling us laxatives and diuretics to help keep the extra kilos off our bellies – we’re surrounded by sharks who will swallow our happiness just to make money off of our collective misery. Hell, who among us hasn’t been judged by the waiters taking our food orders when we dare to order a hearty three-course meal and an extra dessert, just to be safe. If you happen to be a Bong, fudge from Nahoum’s and rum balls from Flurys are mandatory this time around the year. If you happen to be an unfortunate Bong, like me, you try to make do by ordering plum cakes and chocolate balls from the finest Delhi bakeries for those on a budget. But, heaven forbid, you want to try out a few places before settling for the one, eyebrows get raised, and “Aar koto khaabi?” accusations are thrown our way. Been there, done there, trudged bravely ahead regardless!
It is only human nature to want to hog during the winters. Cuffing season arrives in full gusto as the temperature drops. According to pop culture, this season pushes singletons to seek out long-term commitment in relationships, instead of looking for solace in random hook-ups. Everyone is not fortunate enough, and even if they are, food is always going to trump over everything else, including your bae. Especially, if you consider that there’s the likes of rum-soaked cake, mulled wine, baked and cheesy savouries, roast chicken and whatnot on offer.
You can eat all you want and not even feel the discomfort that comes with hogging during hot, summer days when it’s best to stick to concoctions that will cool the body down. In winters, you need extra padding to stay warm and toasty even when your room heater has betrayed you for the zillionth time. Copious amounts of hot chocolate and cake will be the only thing that helps you get there, after a point. It will warm the soul unlike any pair of fuzzy warm socks can. But, how can we actually ever indulge, to our heart’s content when everyone is busy shoving the thinness mantra down our throats? Where’s the space left to chug down that extra serving of pie?
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Stop selling your weight loss nonsense to young people! Feminism is about equality, feminism is not just being able to hurt as many other women as you like and never be questioned about your behavior just because you’re also a woman. We all see you, well all see your greed, willful ignorance and refusal to be responsible, and we are tired, and we are done, and we are going to let you know about it until you get on the right fucking side. Link to this full video in Bio. @i_weigh
Without even going into the politics of controlling female bodies so that we occupy as little space as possible in this world built for the convenience of cis-het men, we can safely assume that we already know it’s all a comparison trap. We’re still willing to go ahead and throw ourselves on it. We know we are all built differently and will never look like Deepika Padukone, with or without all the extra airbrushing. Still we will deny ourselves that extra helping at the dinner table, hoping that it denying ourselves will make us thinner, and ergo happier.
But, here’s the thing, we’re not what we have been conditioned to become. We’re what we choose to be by defying conventions, breaking patterns, and smashing stereotypes. How hard is it really to look at our stretch marks and be okay with them? How difficult is it to accept that we are more than our bodies? When will we realise that being fit, healthy, and happy is far more important that wanting to be thin? What will it take to finally flip the script and stop making the same old New Year’s Resolution to lose weight, only to feel miserable when it doesn’t happen, yet again, every single year?!
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It’s time we look up to new heroes, who don’t make, propagate, and condone problematic statements like “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” Go follow women like Jameela Jamil who will dish out the truth when folks like Cardi B and Kim K would rather make a quick buck by selling you eating disorders in the guise of weight loss tips. This holiday season, if you must shed anything, shed the weight of other people’s unnecessary expectations and judgements. Eat all the cake you want and be merry for a change.