Body positivity is easier said than done. But the quest must go on. Because to constantly compare ourselves negatively to others, to hate the body in the mirror, is too painful. At best the perpetual feeling of inadequacy means anxiety and depression. At worst it can be paralysing, making a person incapable of study or work. Incorporation of body diversity in media and public figures speaking out, are important means for battling the toxic ecosystem that breeds body shame.
For teen idol Billie Eilish challenging societal “assumptions about people based on their size” has been a running theme. She’s known for signature baggy clothes, which are a big contrast to how other leading female pop stars dress. In an ad she explained this choice as protection: “Nobody can be like, she’s slim-thick, she’s not slim-thick, she’s got a flat ass, she’s got a fat ass.” But there is also big solidarity with girls who dress otherwise. And she took that further by taking off her own layers in a recent video, “While I feel your stares, your disapproval or your sighs of relief, if I lived by them, I’d never be able to move.”
In the face of relentless judging, sometimes after much struggle the best we can achieve is body tolerance. That’s OK too. Healthier. Meanwhile the divas are crushing the trolls. Like Sonakshi Sinha said in the face of being called elephant and cow on the catwalk, she is #BiggerThanThem. Pun happily intended.
This piece appeared as an editorial opinion in the print edition of The Times of India.