By Sherazade Khan
Fit shaming or fat shaming, women are sick of being told what an acceptable shape and size is. Imagine constantly hearing demeaning comments based on something you may not be able to control – your physical appearance.
Unfortunately for us bodyshaming isn’t just plaguing the west. Sure, there’s a lot more bullying happening across the seas, but Pakistan has its own fair share of problems when it comes to tackling the problems of body diversity.
We talk to Xera Husayn founder of XERA and Curvy & Co, a page and support group for women who feel like they lack confidence and acceptance when it comes to their bodies. The page was made in 2015 and the support group followed two years later to offer women a safe space, inspiration, confidence, freedom to be themselves, and of course, privacy.
What’s XERA, Curvy & Co?
“It is a highly exclusive group where only a handful of women are added at a time provided they answer my questions sensibly! I felt that women of different shapes and sizes get a lot of hate and there needed to be an outlet where they feel loved. It is not a weight loss group/page at all, but that doesn’t mean it is discouraged,” shares Husayn, adding that, “almost everyone on the group is an active person online and offline as well.”
What Makes it Exclusive?
It’s for people who genuinely struggle with their bodies and need a boost of confidence amongst like-minded and accepting people. It’s not for bystanders who just want to read some fun gossip to pass their time.
When asked what prompted her to create the group she revealed, “unfortunately, body shaming is ingrained in our society and it is high time we own ourselves for better mental and physical health, and be the epitome of confidence & compassion!”
Shopping & Dressing Tips for Plus Size Women
Everyone is different and it’s about time we accept people for who they are. Unlike abroad, we don’t have dedicated brands for plus size fashion that take into account the styling needs of women that struggle to maintain their weight or are on the larger size of the spectrum. Even websites that claim to sell plus size clothing like this one have some super skinny women modelling outfits not taking into account the market they’re catering to.
Case in point… what’s plus size about this kurta? For someone who is already grappling to be accepted by society, and even sometimes friends and family, things like this add to their disgruntlement and prove to be discouraging.
“One shopping/beauty/styling tip that I give everyone is – believe in yourself. These three words are of immense value; more than anything else advised. The word ‘flattering’ does not exist in my dictionary and vision. Every woman should be able to wear what she feels good and comfortable in.
Second important advice would be to take care of your posture. Stand straight. It exudes confidence and is very good for your back in the long run!”
What’s Got Us Excited?
“Thanks to our fashion industry neglecting and not representing the real curvy women of Pakistan. That’s where I come in; I am launching a brand very soon. It will be the first of its kind because it is not just another clothing line. It is a concept that is fun and the fashion is for all. It is specially targeted for bigger sizes. Not everyone wants to wear extremely loose clothes if they are voluptuous. We should have the right to dress up as trendy as any other person.”
How Do you Go On in the Face of Adversity?
“I never try to fit in and I would never encourage other women to do so either! I prefer standing out from the crowd. Be it my sense of style or compassion. What others think of me is none of my business.
It is such a shame how women are subject to all sorts of shaming. Even when it comes to marriage, people want the slimmest & fairest wife while ignoring other aspects of a person’s life. I mean where has the world headed? It is 2017 people! Start looking beyond complexions and figures.
My advice would be to stay away from such marital prospects with a narrow vision. I have always spoken up against body shaming. Even if it is friends or family, tell them affirmatively that you do not want to hear any demeaning remarks. Shaming is a form of bullying. It reflects more about the bully than the victim.
Say NO to bullying. Have faith in yourself. Train your mind to think about you in a positive manner. One positive thought leads to another. Those thoughts are changed into actions. Your positivity makes you do things that are better for you.
Remember that we are all beautiful because we are unique. No one has the right to make you feel bad about yourself.”
Husayn’s journey has just begun and she is overwhelmed by the abundance of messages she receives in appreciation. “When someone tells me that I have been an inspiration for confidence, self-love or simply a source of happiness in their life, is an achievement for me. I strive to revolutionize the beauty and fashion standards in Pakistan.”
Shocked at the number of suicidal messages received, solely due to body shaming, she shares, “we need to propagate the message of self-love. That doesn’t mean one stops taking care of themselves but it does not give anyone the right to (disrespect) anyone who doesn’t take care (of themselves) or isn’t trying.”