Slim is weak and healthy is fat? Are women a flock of sheep?
Constant criticism on women's physique makes me feel as though we're a flock of sheep being picked on Bakra Eid.
Submerged in a conversation with my friend a few days ago, she suddenly looked at me and quipped,
“Oh, I wish I was as thin as you.”
As per ritual, I started blabbering about how healthy she was, how her weight suited her and that she should embrace and flaunt it rather than complain about it.
A few seconds later, I joined her and started complaining about how extremely petite I was and how I wish I was slightly athletic looking. We spent almost fifteen minutes cursing, complaining, then patting each other on the back and consoling each other.
The conversation went on and my friend told me how the Egyptians and people of the Middle Eastern countries like their women to be a bit heavy rather than the slim, stick figures people prefer here. I agreed and we went on discussing this.
This was when it occurred to me how unrealistic and amusing the conditions for beautiful women are in all the societies. Think about it, majority of the people here prefer women to be petite and slim. However, there are some who consider heavy women beautiful and skinny women not that attractive. This became evident to me when my grandmother, who was at our place, was staring at my nine-year-old sister’s Barbie doll and after a long and hard evaluation, she said,
“Why do you think she is pretty? Look at her skinny legs.”
Even if you get out of Pakistan and look around the rest of the world, you will be astounded. At first, there was an emphasis on extremely slim figures but now there is a new trend; the hour glass figures, where celebrities like Kim Kardashian tell girls to embrace their curves. This shows some hope but there is still a lot of confusion because if you are slim, they call you weak, and if you are chubby and healthy, they call you fat.
And it does not only stop at the issue of weight; even the size of feet is a disputed issue. By the 19th century, Japanese women had to wear small wooden shoes regardless of the size of their feet to stop the growth of their feet as small feet were considered as a sign of beauty, femininity and possibly a good marriage.
Therefore, according to the Japanese, the foundation of a prestigious marriage was the size of the woman’s feet. That is still the case here, where brides go on a strict diet of only boiled vegetables and severe gym routine to attain the perfect weight for the most amazing day of their life.
Our conversation ended when I blurted out angrily,
“This constant criticism and evaluation of our physique and appearance from head to toe, makes me feel as if we, women, are a bunch of sheep being picked for Bakra Eid, where every customer has a different requirement.”
My friend broke out laughing, nodded, took out a bar of KitKat and started nibbling on it forgetting her diet plan or weight issues for the remaining hour and the world was beautiful again.
Read more by Shahla here.