‘I have a shape!’
Jennifer Sequeira (28), copywriter, Mumbai.
I’ve decided to only buy clothes online. At least it is easier to choose something that fits my size. I hate it when the salesperson shows me larger sizes that will ‘flatter my shape more’. Because you see, I don’t have a size like M, L or XL, I have a shape. I am over 75kgs. My body is round and it deserves tent-like clothes.
Every time I visit a mall or a store, I have to ask for help in finding my size. Sometimes, I am given clothes from their plus-size section. Very often, I am told that they don’t have clothes for my shape. At most of these places, my body size has been referred to as a shape. Being just that bit overweight means I don’t fit into any pre-defined sizes of beauty.
‘You won’t be able to dance’
Moushomi Banerjee (35), teacher, Pune.
I’ve always loved to dance, even as a kid. I’ve danced to everything, from ballroom to classical Indian dance forms to even freestyle. Belly dancing has been one of the dance forms I have always wanted to learn. I like the grace that is intrinsic to it. The first place I took training at nearly put me off dance completely.
I spent 20 painful minutes arguing with a very rude receptionist who insisted I opt for more suitable classes. “How about Bollywood dance, madam? It will help you reduce your weight.” The more I argued the less interested I became. She said that it was impossible for someone like me to learn belly dancing.
I’ve always struggled with weight. Most of it seems to be concentrated towards my hips. After arguing with the receptionist for pointing a finger at my weight and body, I was prepared to leave and find another place. Luckily, the trainer who taught there came to my rescue. She overheard our argument and asked the receptionist to not turn away anyone on such grounds. She also told me that one doesn’t need a thin stomach to show off when belly dancing. And oh yes, I can belly dance today!
‘You have no meat!’
Rajesh P (24), management studies student, Mumbai.
Normally, if someone told me now that I had no ‘meat,’ I would show them my well-stocked fridge and laugh about it. But the first time I heard it, it stung like a blow. More so, because it came from a good friend who studied with me in college. I was depressed with the fact that girls didn’t find me attractive. Even my friends, who tried to be supportive earlier had advices to offer later on gaining weight.
I have no ‘meat.’ I have been told that girls like boys who have some muscles, some flesh on their body and not skinny people. At that time, it was a low blow for my self-esteem. Luckily, I have a girlfriend now and she loves me the way I am.
‘Muffins no longer meant cake’
Brinda Menon (27), freelance marketing professional, Mumbai.
I didn’t know what muffin top meant. I learned it from an acquaintance at an event. I was wearing a crop top and someone decided to comment. I was told that I am very brave for being able to carry a crop top despite having muffin top. I jokingly asked her if she did not like muffins. She gave me weird look and walked away.
When I asked my friend later, she told me what muffin top actually meant. It refers to the part of the body that spills out from the sides when you wear tight or crop tops or even low waist pants. I was amazed! When will women stop judging themselves and others. It is a shame that many want to fit into the idea of perfect size and shape.
All names have been changed on request.