Sunday, October 28, 2012

Women, we need feminism.

Before you read: words in quotations are ambiguous. Also, not everything may apply to you so no need to want to fight me. 

Maybe a victim. Or perhaps, a culprit. Normal?

Bullying 

The internet. Where is it taking us? All these social networks allow us to maintain 'friendships', which is fabulous. And I'll admit, Facebook is an integral part of my life. Let's be real though: haters are lurking from every corner of that page of yours (I'm mentioning FB because it's the only one I use diligently). Of course, this may or may not apply to you depending on your activity/popularity/exposure. And also, your weight. Which is the primary topic of this post.

A feminist concern to me: As women, we should have a better understanding of each other. But we don't. Before I go on, refrain yourself from thinking that all women are the same. Because we are not. Rather, it is the undeniable truth that we share many personal/political issues and are not alone. Instead, we are on a constant rampage of judging bodies and trying to fit a mold--a mold which itself is not fixed. I'm purposely separating the genders because while I may believe in equal rights, men and women do not share the same struggles. And even if we share similar pains, society's conceptualized "normal" is not the same for both. Don't argue with me that it is otherwise. So, why make this size-issue a feminist one or one that women should acknowledge to eliminate? Quite honestly, only women are capable of this. From birth, instead of learning how to be and stay healthy (which in no way equates with a 'skinny' body), we are taught to achieve thinness through whatever extent. My insecurities with weight/body image is nothing new. Why have I struggled? What makes a "larger" body a struggle

Anytime I've been called anything remotely close to 'fat' or 'big', upon completing a hysteria of tears, I'd sporadically begin an unhealthy weight-loss regimen. This included a day or two dedicated to starvation, running on the treadmill thinking that exercising for a few hours would fix life, and Googling quick methods to shed 30-40 pounds or pinpointing specific areas that needed more work than  others--specifically the face and tummy because we all know that a defined jawline without a double/triple/quadruple chin and a small waist with big boobs and a booty (okay, a bit exaggerated) are what makes a woman a woman. Na, chill.

But why? For what? For who? What drove me to behave in such an erratic manner? Fat rhetoric. Was it to please myself? Not really. Or the Desi aunties who meticulously keep your body in check to make sure it's suitable for the fat dude who'll propose one day? Sometimes. Maybe the boys? Eh. I'm inclined to blame it on society--but who makes up society? Who sets the standards for defining how a woman should look and behave? Men? Women? It's everyone. 

Women are taught to look a certain away--the same goes for behavior. And without a doubt women, we've fallen for the social pressures of needing to be 'thin' (whatever is defined by thin is indefinite)--because no matter how 'small' you are in size, there is a desire to get smaller. Anything but 'thin/skinny' is 'ugly', 'flawed', 'imperfect', 'abnormal', at least that's what women have been systemically brainwashed to accept. Women, this is a shared struggle. We need to redefine what society deems normal. I don't have answers because even I've fallen for the trap. After losing 50 pounds, I feel too sexy for my body. Clothes fit me. Men and women are checkin' me out. I have more energy--Lupus under control. I feel invincible. I fear gaining any weight. 

A year ago, Sazia was bullied via Facebook upon entering an immature 'beauty' contest. I was upset that she got herself into a 'competition' because why? Why do you need a competition to rate your looks? My strong, feminist side explained to her, "Don't give a shit, don't let them break you. Haters gon' hate, potatoes gon' potate" (maybe not the second part). The protective sister in me could not accept that she was being picked on because of her weight. I didn't have answers for her. She repeated the exact cycle that I used to resort to in wanting to lose weight. Did she learn this from me? Or are we women already inclined to deal with fat-taunts in such an insane manner? 

While I wanted to beat the shit out of these kids, that was obviously not the way to 'handle' the situation. Instead I cried. She cried. How was I supposed to make them stop? By telling her to become thin? Young boys and girls, who she left behind in elementary school (now ages 13-14), continued to critically examine my sister's weight by calling her hagrid, fucking cock meat whore (pause--what does this even mean? and why do children know these words?), I love how she cried to her sister and shit too, it's amazing what Photoshop can do these days, I mean she was able to remove the shit stain from her whole face.  This was all over Facebook. At first, my sister was hesitant to share this with me--she was scared. I would be too. And quite frankly, I wouldn't know how to deal with it because we're not taught how to deal, we're only taught how to fix: fix by becoming thin. 

Needless to say, upon observing their actions for a few hours (I really hoped they'd just stop and life would go on, but that didn't happen), I saved all the evidence--screen shots of their comments, made a list of their names (first and last), and dialed 911. 'Ignoring' might have been the best way to handle this situation, but for how long? Calling the cops put an end to her tears. But what now? She still has body issues and so do almost every women I know. 

Women, we need feminism. I'm not condoning thin or promoting obesity. Simply, I want us to realize this vicious cycle we're in. One that equates healthy/beautiful with a skinny body and a fat one with ugly/unhealthy. One that pushes women to starve, look for quick-fixes, and achieve these without understanding the consequences. One that teaches women that it is okay to resort to crazy methods. One that is in effect since birth. 

Women, let's change this. I know, I'm all words here and possibly a hypocrite. 

Women, we're capable of this. To understand each other, ourselves, and change the normalized notions of our body/health.