It’s my body

College students share their personal experiences of body shaming on campus, and how they dealt with it
Illustration: Amit Bandre/Inputs:  Anushree Madhavan, Vaishali Vijaykumar and Rochana Mohan
Illustration: Amit Bandre/Inputs: Anushree Madhavan, Vaishali Vijaykumar and Rochana Mohan

Mahima Ann Ninan , 20,  Madras Christian College 
Openly commenting on others’ bodies, objectification of women, mocking at ‘size zeroes’ and ‘fatsos’ is a common trend. People learn to laugh it off in public, but many are affected by low self esteem and more serious mental health issues. It is necessary that we understand the gravity of the situation and take appropriate action to curb this.

Fenn John Philip, 
20, Madras Christian College
Body shaming is offensive and affects the self-confidence of a person, and makes them question themselves. I have been witness to quite a few of instances of guys commenting on girls without any regard for their feelings. What is more disturbing is that nobody feels the need to stand up against it either. Even I have unknowingly encouraged such incidents though not meaning to cause any harm.

Monica Rajavel, 21, 
Madras School of Social Work
It didn’t seem modest to me when women wore leggings and sleeveless tops that exposed thunder thighs and flappy arms. Being overweight myself, I’ve refrained myself from wearing such clothes as well. It was in college when I realised that my preference for clothes depended on protecting myself from being bodyshamed. Being comfortable and accepting yourself for how you look is all that should matter. Now, I am happily plumpy with comebacks to those who body shame. I can’t ask them not to but I can protect myself. It’s all about how we don’t let anyone disturb our inner peace. 

Harshitha Suresh, 19, MOP Vaishnav College for Women
Identifying a person by his/her waist size isn’t normal. Studying in a girl’s college, low key body shaming is a phenomenon that we face on a daily basis. It concerns me how loud remarks are unwittingly thrown around like Halloween candies. How far is too far? This grey area is often exploited as we remain silent victims or worse, mortified bystanders.

Praveshika Kumar, 
19, MOP Vaishnav College 
for Women
Body shaming in colleges is mostly not intentional. Having pet names for close friends based on their appearance may not be too absurd or offensive. But the person at the receiving end might get triggered and go into a shell.  I haven’t faced any kind of body shaming considering the fact I am a little on the bulkier side. And even if people do experience a kind of body shaming, I think the college has given them a good amount of confidence to face it as most of us have accepted ourselves the way we are.

Nebin Mathew, 
20, Madras Christian College
When people comment about your body, you tend to respond based on your mood and the relationship you share with that person. If it’s a friend then you might play along and joke back. But when a random person or a senior person makes fun then it’s different. Most people call me skinny and if am in a good mood I call them fat. But if I am already stressed out or angry, I get upset with their comments. It depends on the relationship with that person. Body shaming is a type of bullying.  

Lavanya S R, 
21, MOP Vaishnav College for women
Body shaming is bashing human feelings and attire. Nowadays body shaming has become so fancy and girls at college don’t understand that they are actually abusing someone verbally. Even one of my friends said that I’m unhealthy and not fit because I don’t have the perfect curves that a college girl should be having. Girls don’t simply decide to hate their bodies, we teach them to. But being skinny is okay, not having curves is okay. 

Ashish Jose Ambat, 
Madras Christian College
I have experienced body shaming in our college, especially towards students having hypermelanin skin tone and those who are of short stature. I was mocked twice for being short, and thus failing to fit into the stereotypical masculine profile. I tried to talk about body positive to them. They, initially, trivialised and made fun of my arguments.

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