My reason for writing this poem is that I am a die-hard body positive advocate. I am sure many of you have seen the latest, hottest, Indian televisions coming-of-age series, Four more shots please. I absolutely loved season 1. My favourite is a character named Siddhi. A sweet loving girl so pressured by her mother, society aunties and relatives to lose weight that she runs from gym to tarot card reading aunties, all in an effort to know when she will become thin and finally be deemed as marriage material.
This particular character played an important role in the shaping of this poem. I felt a rage within me when I realised that this character represents a vast majority of women today who, instead of being body positive advocates, are caught up in a never ending cycle of gyms, fad diets and skin tight corset tops, only to fit into an unrealistic, unhealthy image of an ideal woman.
Eventually Siddhi, turns into a body positive advocate herself, by accepting her generous curves and confidently flaunting them on an online dating site. We need more women like her.
Before we go into the poem, I want to explore the body positive theme a little more. Which is why I asked some of my friends (of different shapes and “sizes”) to tell me what they think of the whole “size game”! Here’s what I got:
“I am a size 10 and I am very happy with my weight. I exercise to be healthy and fit. And I feel great about it. However, if I were to become a size 12, I would probably not feel so body body positive and I would try and work off the excess weight!”
“I am a size 8, and I indulge in moderate exercise. I do love my curves and I have accepted my tummy rolls. In fact, I happily indulge in sweets occasionally. Yet, I feel confident in the fact that I am attractive.”
“I went from a size 12 to a 6, and it was quite a journey. I was ill and I knew I could not go on that way. So for me, it was more of gaining back confidence and conviction in myself. A body positive attitude was a pleasant side effect of becoming fit and happy again!”
So, now that we have heard all about the body positive movement, let me introduce my poem, Not Okay:
I see a young girl
Starving herself to insanity
All because someone told her
Her size 6 was not okay.
I see a new mother juggling sleepless nights
Terrified with her weight gain
Her primary thoughts not
How she needs to have
A strong, nourished body
But how she will
Get the weight off.
I see a 40-something
Juggling kids, home and her career
Not recognising the hero that she is
But cursing herself for
Putting on a little weight,
Forcing her already tired body to go to the gym
Or try a fancy new diet
When did it become okay for “society” to tell us
That we are
If we are not
Of size 2 and alabaster skin
How can a few extra kilos on our bodies
Make us less beautiful
Less of anything?
30 Jan, 2019.