What do the beautiful Priyanka Chopra and Penelope Cruz have in common ? Of course they are both stunning to look at, share the same initials and have appeared on 'The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon'. But the similarities do not end here.
Both have been victims of body shaming. Or rather body photo-shopping in Priyanka's case where people accused her of flaunting 'too perfect' armpits on the cover of MAXIM. However with Penelope Cruz, the case could not have been more different. She was questioned about her 'ugly feet' by a TV show host who also happened to be a woman ( are you surprised ? )! Proof enough that a woman is damned if she falls on either end of the spectrum or even anywhere in the middle.
That brings us to the all important question. Is not a woman more than the sum of all her body parts ? Today there is a skin lightening cream for every conceivable part of the female body. A wide range of Spandex garments are available that can squeeze/uplift any part of the female anatomy to gravity defying proportions. And of course, techniques like air-brushing and photo-shopping that can make up for anything that the former two cannot possibly achieve. Makes me wonder why only the female of the species needs to confirm to such attainable ideals of beauty. Why ain't the men subjected to the same level of scrutiny?
Maybe the answer lies somewhere beyond the viewpoint of both the sexes. And the only thing more pervasive than either is the outlook of the media. The same media that once gave shape to the feminist movement by propagating terms like 'female empowerment' and 'gender equality' has now moved on to 'objectifying women'. A major force behind this tectonic shift is the culture of unabated consumerism. 'Make women feel bad about their bodies and they will buy any product you try to sell them'. This seems to have become the motto of the media.
It's high time we make an effort to sensitize these media professionals and set guidelines for both onscreen behaviour and advertising. The media ought to focus on adopting a code of ethics rather than resorting to a strategy that solely focuses on grabbing eyeballs .
But the media is not the only culprit. Piggybacking on this shameful trend, a few smart individuals have attempted to redeem themselves from the throes of social obscurity by targeting successful women who often have a huge online following. A little weight gain post maternity or even a photograph taken from an awkward angle gets them rolling or rather trolling.
While most of these celebs have hit back, it was Sonakshi Sinha's response that still echos with me.
Even when the perpetrator was a celebrated actor like Rishi Kapoor, she brushed off his tweet with a cool reply like "he must have found it funny, its his opinion'. Ouch !! That brush-off must have left him with an bruised ego.
The Bollywood diva might have just shown us the way to get back at these people. 'Don't give them what they are asking for'.
By Sweta Biswal