Vitamin Stree, a YouTube channel, has come up with a fitness anthem to celebrate women of all body types. 'Fit is not a body type' has 46 women athletes from all walks of life reiterating how one can be fit without being 'skinny'.
The anthem, asking girls to take a shot at whatever they want to do, comes at a time when body shaming women has been normalised. Though body shaming crosses gender barriers, women are generally more prone to it than men, at least in India. Talking about what motivated them to come up with the song, to The Drum, Tara Kapur, part of the channel, said,
"Because it's become so easy to write a message to anyone, trolls have no filters and say whatever they feel like. I've seen some of the messages the women featured in this video have received and it ranges from them being called 'too fat', 'too skinny, 'too muscular', and so on. These aren't things people should have to deal with on a day-to-day basis, and 'Fit is not a body type' addresses that."
Body image issues don't affect adults alone. Along with gender roles, children are taught how particular body shapes are better than others.
A few months ago, a class-XII textbook defining 36-24-36 as the ideal body shape for women surfaced, making people question the lack of awareness in educational institutions. As schools are where children spend most of their time, it is important that we scrutinise the content they are exposed to. According to PTI, an excerpt from the book read,
“36-24-36 shape of females is considered the best. That is why in Miss World or Miss Universe competitions, such type of shape is also taken into consideration.”
In another disturbing instance, a sociology book for Class-XII students suggested that looking "ugly" and physical disability are reasons for dowry issues in India.