Body-shaming is nothing new. Celebrities, especially women, have been criticised by all and sundry on social media for being too fat, too skinny, too tall, too short or too dark for a good while now. But what is new is that more and more of these celebrities are hitting back at the trolls.
Recently, Shruti Hassan posted a picture on her social media and was mocked by trolls for her loss of weight. One even went to the extent of saying she looked like a person suffering from HIV. Shruti instantly posted another picture as well as a sharply-worded response. “I’m not one driven by other people’s opinions of me but the constant commenting and she’s too fat now she’s too thin is so avoidable. These two pictures have been taken three days apart,” she said, and went on to add that, “No one, famous or not, is in a position to judge another person. Ever. That’s just not cool.” In the long post, the actress, among other things, asserted that “yes I’ve had plastic surgery which I’m not ashamed to admit. Do I promote it? No am I against it? No – it’s just how I choose to live. The biggest favour we can do for ourselves and others is … learn to accept the changes and the movement of our bodies and minds.”
Shruti Hassan is not the first celebrity to get trolled. Being a celebrity doesn’t necessarily mean you’re born with a thicker skin, but people have unrealistic expectations of what a woman should look like, feels actress Pooja Bhatt. “We live in a time where people are more obsessed with appearances than what is going on in someone’s heart or head. One can blame social media to a large extent but frivolity sells more than depth. Though eventually what lasts is your talent and nothing more… beauty… bodies… eventually fade… what lasts is what you have to say,” she feels.
Pooja says, “Celebrities often starve and put themselves through gruelling regimes to fuel these unrealistic expectations. It’s up to us to decide whether we want to live a life that constantly feeds that expectation or one that permits us to be true to ourselves and our own, unique body type.”
Actress Neha Dhupia too made a point when she posted, “Don’t give two hoots about how you look as long as you are happy in your body.”
Trolling on social media is the most misogynistic way to demean women, feels actress Sameera Reddy. Throwing light on what she was going through during her pregnancy, including body shaming and post-partum blues, Sameera posted on her social media handle: “I had so much self-loathing. I would look at the mirror and ask, ‘What happened to Sameera Reddy? Body shaming is a problem, and with social media it has taken a more glaring shape — that of personal slights — and is no longer a casual observation.”
The larger question is why people feel they have the right to shame someone about their body. “People today are exposed to a lot of information on global fashion trends through social media channels. With this over-exposure, they are quick to form opinions. When their favourite stars fail to keep up with global fashion trends, they express their disappointment by trolling them,” says Reema Sarin, fitness trainer to celebrities and founder, Bollyfit.
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