Lately I've been thinking a lot about how people in general (and women themselves) judge each other based on body image. Why are we so worried about how other people look, behave, exercise, eat, etc.? This might sound strange coming from me because I write about fashion and style, and have a blog that is mainly filled with pictures of my daily outfits. The thing is; I don't judge women by the way they look, yes I encourage you to dress well and feel good about yourself -- but the size and shape of your body, is none of my business. This problem seems to be the worst when we are talking about celebrities, but really, is it OK to judge celebrities?
Take Aishwariya Rai Bachchan for example -- arguably one of the most beautiful women in the world. For years she was idolized, put on a pedestal, and then she gained some weight and suddenly it was OK for millions of people (women included) to call her horrible names and judge her. Personally I applaud her for taking her weight loss at her own pace, or maybe she doesn't even want to lose weight, that's her business. On the other hand, there is Jessica Alba, who is also being blasted in public this week because she admitted to wearing a corset for three months straight after her second daughter was born in order to regain her pre-baby body. Whether I agree with her choice or not, it's not my place to judge her.
I didn't work for years to gain celebrity status in Hollywood, my future work prospects don't depend on my waist size, I'm not followed around by paparazzi on a daily basis, and my flaws aren't pointed out in national magazines -- so I have no way to imagine what it must feel like to be in her shoes.
I've read various posts online today that are saying that Jessica Alba is a horrible role model for new mothers, and is pressuring moms to lose weight fast -- I disagree. Why would the average suburban mom compare her situation to a Hollywood starlet? We can't use someone's celebrity status as an excuse to speak ill about them -- we are all big girls and can make our own decisions.
Do I think that Gwyneth Paltrow is the most beautiful woman in the world? Or do I even think that People magazine should be the source in charge of deciding that? Regardless of my opinion, I do not have the right to call her names, imply that she has an eating disorder, or say she's a horrible mom because she feeds her kids organic food. Reading statements like that online break my heart, because women and especially moms should play on the same team.
I'm extremely disheartened as I write this post, because just last week my feed on Twitter and Facebook was full of people sharing Dove's Real Beauty Campaign. You know the one where the artist sketch's the woman's view of herself and then how someone else sees her -- and it was beautiful. And then, just a few days later -- horrible things about Gwyneth Paltrow and Jessica Alba, how is that OK? I thought we all saw each other in a beautiful light.
Some of you will argue that by choosing a public career these women chose to be judged, they know what they were in for. That is true, but in so many ways, this culture of judgement is moving into our everyday interactions. I see it all the time, sometimes I even hear myself doing it (I'm not perfect), judging everyday women by the standards that we set for celebrity moms.
Let's make an effort to measure each other by the size of our hearts, not our waists. Let's celebrate the fact that we live in a time and place where we can make the choices about our bodies, and let's cheer each other on even if we don't have the same viewpoint about weight loss, breast size, or skincare. Next time you meet someone, or read about someone in the press and feel the urge to judge, remember the words of Plato; be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
By Raj Thandhi @pinkchai
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