My body, my rules: 6 Indian celebrities who spoke about body-shaming
Actors Ileana D'Cruz, Sonam Kapoor, Sonakshi Sinha, Priyanka Chopra, Saloni Chopra, and Vidya Balan
From ‘friendly suggestions’ to extremely rude comments, women are subjected to body shaming all the time. And when she’s a public figure, there is a never-ending stream of judgement and criticism coming from both anonymous internet trolls and people in the real world.
Here’s how these six Indian celebrities fought against the negativity.
Actor Vidya Balan who is known for owning strong lead roles in films like Kahaani and Tumhari Sulu, has been at the receiving end of constant body-shaming.
In a recent interview with Filmfare, the 40-year-old opened up about struggling with weight loss due to issues with her health, and her journey of self-acceptance throughout her life. She said she felt pressured to try extreme diets and exercise routines when she was younger, and even stopped monitoring herself during film shoots because she was overly self-conscious.
Over the past few years, however, Vidya Balan has been quite outspoken about body-shaming by appearing in videos tackling the subject and talking about it on social media.
Recently, the actor posted a video on Instagram in which she sings about the effects of body-shaming, and asks people to stop bringing others down.
From supporting movements like #FreeTheNipple and addressing double standards to celebrating menstruation and posting unedited pictures of herself, 28-year-old actor and blogger Saloni Chopra is heralded for being a body-positivity champion on social media.
When the #MeToo movement took over Indian social media in 2018, Saloni took to her blog and wrote about her experiences with harassment and abuse from filmmaker Sajid Khan, actor Zain Durrani, and producer Vikas Bahl.
Through the body-shaming and slut-shaming Saloni is subjected to for her bold and unapologetic personality, as well as instances of being called a ‘pseudo-feminist,’ she continues to empower and encourage women to be their authentic selves.
Making her Bollywood debut in 2010 with Dabangg, Sonakshi Sinha has been continuously shamed for her weight. Despite working hard to lose weight for her entry into stardom, people were quick to bring her down for being fat.
In an interview with actor Arbaaz Khan earlier this year, Sonakshi recounted her earlier years, saying she used to get defensive when people brought up her appearance, and could not understand how people were so quick to jump to conclusions without knowing the full extent of the situation. However, she has overcome the need to dwell on trolls, and is confident in herself now.
"Main jaisi hun vaisi rahungi, aapko dekhna hai aap dekho; aap ko mat dekhna hai aap mat dekho," (I will remain the way I am. If you want to see me, please do so or otherwise don’t), she said in the same interview.
Actor Priyanka Chopra, known for her international presence and humanitarian work who has spoken out about various important subjects like mental health and cyber-bullying, has also addressed body-shaming.
In a 2016 interview with the American talk show The View, Priyanka said that she has been body-shamed since her teenage years for “looking different”.
"I think it happens to all of us especially in our business where you are supposed to look a certain way, dress a certain way, and yeah, you get pressure from everyone around. You need to figure out what your strengths are, put them in a box and just focus on those."
Ever since actor Sonam Kapoor entered the Bollywood scene in 2007 with Saawariya, she has been the target of various trolls. In an essay she wrote for Buzzfeed, Sonam said she began hating the way she looked even without tabloids having to point her flaws out.
While Sonam admitted to having herself dolled up for hours before public appearances, she still deals with fluctuating self-esteem.
In the essay, Sonam thanked the female support she has received in the film industry for helping her cope with body-shaming trolls and owning her confidence.
In 2017, actor Ileana D'Cruz, who is known for her movies in both Telugu and Hindi, spoke out about her battle with Body Dysmorphic Disorder and depression, and being picked on for her body type.
While her journey of recovery has been far from miraculous, she urged people to take the first step towards healing and getting better. She emphasised on the beauty in everyone's imperfections, that being flawed is in the nature of being human.
In July 2018, one of Ileana's Instagram followers asked her if she faced any flak for having an 'awkward body' and she swiftly responded by saying,
"I don't have an 'awkward' body. Nobody does. I have been criticised for my body type, but I am trying to learn to love myself for who I am and not try to conform to someone else's ideals."