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She is a plus sized girl in a fashion world and she's fantastic!

Bridging the gap between fashion and the body positive movement, she is defying all stereotypes...

The fashion industry and the body positivity movement may seemingly be two very different thought processes – that are constantly at poetic odds with each other. But here is someone who is working to bridge that gap!

Defying the stereotype that fashion is only a prerogative of the thin and the skinny, plus-size fashion blogger Amena Azeez with her blog Fashionopolis is making a beauty statement that is beyond the confines of just fashion.

Not only has Amena established herself as a blogger in the mainstream fashion industry but also courageously goes against the cultural narrative that forces unrealistic standards of beauty on us. Armed with an impeccable sense of style and undeterred confidence, Amena Azeez is doing justice to the term influencer.

In a candid conversation with Teentalk, Azeez tells us all about the war she is waging against body-shaming and her work to establish body diversity in the Indian fashion circuits…

TeenTalk: As a teenager did your weight ever come in the way of your self-confidence?

AA: For me it started at school. And they carried on to college, but it was not as bad as school. Luckily, my parents never fat shamed me but a lot of extended family members, cousins my own age, did. Because of being fat shamed at a very young age - started for me around 7-8 - I had major self-esteem issues. I had no confidence in myself and I would never try out anything because of the fear of being rejected or turned down because of my body. I tried to make myself as invisible as possible.

Teentalk: Did you face any peer pressure to lose weight and fit in? How did you deal with it?

AA: All the time. I did by caving in. I would take every weight loss advice and put it to use. Once, a friend of mine told me her cousin lost weight by eating only 8 strawberries a day and nothing else. I did the same. Then it was just two apples a day. I also did the whole liquid diet for a while. I tried every popular diet and weight loss technique out there. I was obsessed with losing weight and becoming thin.

Teentalk: When did you learn to stop bothering with what people say and got comfortable with your weight?

AA: When I got introduced to the Body Postive movement. For so many years I had tortured my body in the name of health and weight loss that I realised it was not worth it. In my pursuit to become thin, I did more harm than good. My body has been damaged because of it to a very large extent. After a point it was either carry on and ruin my body more or find a way to make peace with my body and learn to love and accept it at the size and weight I am at.

Teentalk: Any particular instance or episode that has been a defining moment in your perception of body shaming and issues?  

AA: I was constantly told that "No man wants a fat wife/girlfriend" and I believed it. So anytime a guy would show interest in me I would wonder why? What does he want? What is the catch? Is this some sort of a "date a fat girl" kinda bet? I could just not believe a man would be interested in me for the person I am. This has lead to a lot of trust issues that I deal with even now.

Teentalk: A word of advice to teens who are growing up in the midst of our patriarchy and face pressure to be a certain way and to fit in?

AA: Your body is your only home. You have one body. Don't let people ever turn you against your own body. Don't let people use your body as a way to define you. Most importantly, don't let people's words and actions make you hate your body and go to war with it. Trust me, it is not worth it. Fitness is not size specific and you don't need to harm your body - physically and mentally - to achieve it.

Teentalk: The body shaming campaign is finally here. How would you suggest the teens take part and stand for it?

AA: By speaking up. By letting those who shame you know they do wrong. By being more vocal. By educating yourself better about things like health, fitness and ableism. 

 

If you have a story to share, Email it to us HERE.

If you have a query, Email it to us HERE.

You can also chat with the counsellor by clicking on Teentalk Expert Chat.

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NEXT STORY


Decoding the deal with Sharmaji Ka Beta

We have been compared to him, we've hated him and envied him too but this Sharmaji ka beta somehow always finds a way to belittle us. Let's try and crack the code of dealing with this Mr. Good at everything...

It is almost amusing how there is national consensus on the proverbial ‘Sharmaji Ka Beta’ (those Sharmaji ka beta memes and jokes are proof) being the overachiever we’ve all been compared to. This most famous beta of the country seems to be a part of all our lives and somehow seems to be better than all of us put together. He seems to overshadow all our achievements and just be better at everything, ever!

Well, if you are through with those comparisons then here is a five step formula to taking him with a pinch of salt and never letting him in the way of your self-esteem.

Next time you find yourself dreading, meeting the proverbial son at that social gathering, look back at these and remind yourself that being you is your superpower...

“There will always be comparisons with another person in any sphere, there is always going to be someone taller, better, more intelligent than you are, but once you make your peace with that, things get easier. It isn't important to pay heed to comparisons with the over achiever, even though these comparisons can be hurtful and can dent your self-esteem, you must not allow it to!" says popular author Kiran Manral.

You don’t run the world

Something’s you gotta give! You can’t do everything. You can’t play a part at that school play and be in that book club and win that chess championship all at once. You must speak up if you are overcommitted. It’s okay to say no to a few things and it is important to prioritize. Learn to make the right choice and learn to let go!   

Downtime matters

It is this very downtime that makes you better at everything else! Being able to take care of yourself may be an underestimated skill but you need to master it non-the-less. So take a break, relax, sleep it off, invest in a hobby and do nothing at times, so you can come back and be better at what you must do.

It’s alright to disappoint others 

You weren’t put on this planet to please people. It’s alright if you can’t please everyone as long as you are content. Keep things in prospective and seek joy from life not people’s approval. People-pleasing is a lethal trap that gets you nowhere.

"It is important to remember that all people are different and have different skills and capabilities. And most importantly, that everyone has a special skill or talent. Work towards finding out what yours is and focus on that. When you find what you enjoy doing, and what you are good at, these comparisons will automatically become unimportant and you will find your purpose” Manral quips.

You are the pilot of your life

Nobody but you get to decide what you are good at. That the proverbial Sharmaji ka beta is good at something is no reason for you to master that trait! Find your own calling in life, pursue what you love/ dream to be and do everything to get there but don’t let anyone take that call for you.

Being you is more important than being perfect

Learn to celebrate your flaws and talents in equal measure. You are what you are because of this combination so take time to celebrate what makes you, you!

 

If you have a story to share, Email it to us HERE.

If you have a query, Email it to us HERE.

You can also chat with the counsellor by clicking on Teentalk Expert Chat.

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