Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Thin is not in - Thanks Femina!

i had been mulling over writing a post on this topic and lo! Femina made it topical. There’s a huge furore about Femina’s latest cover with an ample Huma Qureshi on the cover for their edition on "Be Unstoppable". There are supporting and dissenting voices everywhere across the internet. Some feel that Femina is saying that the mannequin is perfect and it’s ok to be imperfect like Huma. While others are relieved that finally a known name like Femina is fighting body stereotypes and putting curvy women on their coveted cover page. 

Femina cover page

While i’ll come to my views on the cover page in a bit, let me begin by saying what i actually had in mind. I have always look at these perfect bodies of models and actresses and wonder how they do it! i mean, some of the new actresses have such small waists that i am pretty sure they haven't eaten a normal meal in ages. They aren't allowed to eat normal lest they put on. (I know each one of them says “i eat what i like” on TV, which of course is untrue!). No doubt, it’s such a treat to the eyes to see beautiful people with perfect bodies dressed in fashionable clothes as opposed to watching people with flabby thighs and bulging tummies! So, i guess someone set skinny as the benchmark for beauty and women who want to be in business have to just follow it. No one wants to see fat arms and wrinkly skin in their ads/movies. 

Though the pressure is more on women, the slew of younger, chiseled actors in Bollywood have made it tough for the guys too. You look at Kapil Sharma and say he’s a fine lad. But apparently not! You hear him say it and read reports about how he had gone on diet to lose weight for his upcoming film! 

It gets worse when it influences common people all the time. What we don’t realise is that taking care of their bodies is an important part of their routine for people in the show biz, its’ a part of their profession. They have expert trainers, nutritionists, dietitians, skin and hair specialists (and a bit of photoshop) to assist them acquire the dream body and looks. We have the business of running life! While exercise should be a part of everyone’s life, overdoing it by going on fad diets and - more commonly - constantly suffering from poor body image is bad, It is the result of the perfect body the media throws at us all the time. Even if we look fine, we wish that tummy was slightly more tucked in and the arms were more toned. We, at least, aspire to acquire that ultimate figure someday!

Coming to the cover page, i don’t know which of the interpretations online is correct. But to me it’s a great thing that Femina has come out with this. They have had the hottest bodies in the business grace their cover pages over the decades. And now the magazine has taken this step to debunk the myth that skinny-is-perfect. Also, Kudos to Huma for posing to a cover that says imperfect is ok thereby saying she has a body type not considered perfect. 

When i think of it, there have been a examples breaking stereotypes in the recent past. And Femina’s cover page, thankfully, adds strength to the idea. Sonakshi Sinha faced loads of criticism for her fuller body as opposed to skinny ones of all her contemporaries. As Priyanka Chopra, in KWK said Sonakshi has some “masala hips”. But not only did Sonakshi bag films with all major actors in Bollywood but also delivered the best hit of our times, Lootera. I cannot imagine any other actress like a Priyanka or even a Deepika look so homely and part of the times portrayed in the film. If Sonakshi had tried to fit into the svelte figure others thought was good, probably the spark would have died there. 

Sonakshi Sinha - the Indian beauty

i recently came across this campaign, which though not an Indian one, so very well goes against stereotypes. It encourages you to stop judging people by the way they look. And also embrace yourself the way you are. It not just promotes positive self image but also fights gender stereotypes. (Go, take a look!)

Stop the beauty madness campaign
i really hope that with actors like Sonakshi and cover pages like Femina’s, we will soon have people on TV with bodies like you and me. Who wouldn’t force us to suck our breath in every time we see them to make us feel less guilty. Hopefully, we will soon see fuller models in ads because you do not need a perfect body to say which tooth paste is good and which detergent washes the best! I agree with Femina that it’s time to follow “My body, My rules”. 

Photo Credits:
Femina cover page: One India -  - http://www.india.com/showbiz/huma-qureshi-breaks-the-myths-of-perfect-figure-with-the-latest-femina-cover-95115/
Sonakshi Sinha - ibnlive.in.com
Stop the beauty madness - http://www.stopthebeautymadness.com/the-campaign/om


  1. Well said Sum! We should definitely drop these stereotypes about perfect bodies and svelte figures. But then that's easier said than done. The fact that people (both men & women) are so stuck upon being fair (whoever said fair is beautiful) and having a great body (for whatever reason) and this is something that won't change for years. :( Worst of all, we kill our bodies in the hope of having the perfect bodies without even doing an iota of research. I hope to see this change in my lifetime and people just start being themselves.

    P.S.: I felt that the Femina cover was hypocrisy by the magazine (especially with it giving advice to people on how to be skinny & fair.:))
    P.P.S: I hate skinny people... :P

    1. Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Kapilan!

  2. Loved this one totally..
    the basic motto has to be fit...and not slim..
    lovely post,..

  3. Very well articulated... and I for one am rooting for the return of the normal body in mainstream media! While I agree that we don't want to see tonnes of flesh jiggling about, a golden middle path can perhaps be found... have you seen Dum Lagake Haisha