By Ruku Taneja
I walk into the over-lit storefront of the reasonably priced Indian bridal store in my vicinity and the owner who has been ignoring my appeals to turn in my dress finally smiles. Relief. The grump has finally managed to stitch my dress. I am due to get married in 7 days.
She passes me a plastic bag from the floor with less smug and more here-you-fucking-go and I pray that this time around she has managed to get my size right.
But I was being too optimistic. Silly me, optimism is not for fatties.
It doesn’t fit right, and it’s just a little bit too tight. Before this disappointment from my face could be passed on through my words, I hear a cheerful “it gives you a slim look”.
“A slim look?” You know what kind of look I’d like it to give me? A look where it fits and I can be myself.
“Have you become healthy? If you lost a bit of weight like your sister, you’d look perfect in this.”
Okay. Are we blaming this on me then?
All the things I am thinking: The logic of you not getting my measurements right is not my measurements being wrong. Somebody please get this lady a BMI calculator while we are at it. She might as well give me a nutrition plan along with the free advice.
Okay, am I fed up with Miss you-should-be-skinny over here? Yes. But am I surprised? No. Her comments are just a cherry on the top of my body shaming cheesecake.
The discussion about my measurements, such as they are, has been going on for about two months.
It started with my parents. Poor things (since they are spending all their money on my wedding to make sure that some distant relative knows that they really care about how things ought to be done) think I should also care about my weight. I should be able to fit in the frame of the photographer so he can capture my happy skinny memories and not the eating disorder before the happy skinny day. But mom and dad, planning weddings is stressful and you know what relieves stress? Pizza.
Oh, but please don’t mention me eating pizza to my relatives. They already have a boombox of opinions on loop and it ranges from what I should wear, what kind of religious ceremony I should have and obviously what I should look like. No points for guessing – they all think I should be 10 kgs and fifty shades lighter. But you know what’s the saddest part? Most people think they should be, too.
More snapshots from these last two months…
Picture this: me entering a store and a man checking me out only to say to my parents “we don’t keep sizes for people like her.” I am sorry, who do you keep sizes for? Priyanka Chopra? Also, wedding designers who charge more for the “extra fabric”, for everyone above a size 10 – fuck you. Hope you didn’t make rent this month because Karma, baby.
Hoping that at least Karma likes us fun-sized brides. But unfortunately, it can’t save us from the negative comments to begin with. Parents, relatives and questionable vendors – you may think (in your twisted and very sad world) that you are doing us a favor by telling us what we should look like. But you are REALLY not.
There is no reason to tell someone to “get lipo”, “start a diet” and/or “you would look so good if you lost a little weight”. But there are many reasons why you should stop body shaming Indian brides (and anyone actually).
My top one would be: just don’t be a dick. Oh, and also, your remarks have been scientifically documented to cause brides and people like me to hate their bodies, depression and a general sense of low self-esteem.
But don’t worry, I am not going to let you win. I will turn my anger into art and my fat into my friend. All the other brides-to-be, you should, too.
Let’s say it together… I feel fat fabulous.
Ruku Taneja is a digital strategy manager who also dabbles in writing. Her interests include saving the planet and writing about self-love, sex, and relationships. She is a Millennial in a third world city with first world problems that primarily include where coin for her next trip comes from. Social stalking @rukutaneja.