TW: Body Image Concerns. Body Image, Colonisation, Brown Bodies
The politics of bodies is evident everywhere. It is the politics of colonisation, of power of judgement that people hold over other people, of ableism.
I have blamed my body when clothes were not available in my size, I have felt disgusted and ashamed by it when I have been made to look at it through the lens of euro-centric beauty standards, I have been made to feel like the only thing that is acceptable for me to feel about it is shame. So have a lot of us, especially Brown, LGBTQIA+ and non-binary folks, skinny people whose bodies do not find representation in mainstream media.
In the brilliant book Your Body is Not An Apology, the word body terrorism caught my attention. It captured the violence of hating our bodies and the devastating impact it had on our lives. By calling it body-based terrorism, they captured the essence of the psychological attacks of shaming. It gave the act of shaming, a more concrete consequence. It leads to mass-hatred.
Another concept that stood out to me was White Body Supremacy. Especially in India, where we have been living with the psychological, physical and cultural violence of British colonisation, our ideas of beauty are not our own at all. Indian bodies are different and glorious. They are not White bodies. We have different hair, different skin, different body structures, different skin colour. In rubbishing that for the pursuit of something invalidates the history, reality and glory of our south-asian bodies, we risk living feeling not enough. We risk invalidating ourselves.
Fat shaming, binaries, whitening creams are all a colonial, capitalistic hangover. And we must dismantle it.
Bodies are not produced in cookie-cutter shapes. They are. And that is their beauty. They enable life!
The body-neutrality movement has been especially successful in redirecting attention to what is essential. What the body can do for us.
🌸How does your body support your life? Your endeavours and action from the morning to the night?
🌸How does your body witness you in your glory?
🌸How can we radically love our bodies? Radically accept it without trying to change anything about it?