Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s body and Willow Smith’s hair.

Belong to themselves.

Here’s what Aishwarya Rai Bachchan said on the TV.

This is reality, this is who I am, I am a mother, this can happen, and it happened with me and it is fine. That’s life you know, I have never been the one who endorsed size zero anyways, you guys speculated I was pregnant way before I was so many times, so this goes to show that I have lived the real live in the public eye and that continues, and there are a lot of people out there who realize that and share that energy with me and that’s what matters really.

I hope we see more women who refuse to mold their lives and bodies to fit into prevalent notions of what is acceptable. It must be annoying for Aishwarya to watch her post pregnancy body being dissected, but she hasn’t missed that a huge majority is supportive of her.  Maybe a huge majority is sick of being told exactly how much to weigh to be considered beautiful.

How different is this from the young woman in Jean Sasoon’s ‘Daughters of Arabia’ defiantly refusing to show her teeth for inspection to her prospective in laws?

And then one hears about how her being thin is important for her career. But why do some careers require women to look unreal? I think, Aishwarya Rai, like Vidya Balan might discover that there’s a huge audience for movies with beautiful women who look like real women.

For example, in the TOI article the comment on her weight gain has thumbs down while the supportive ‘Go Aish’ has got thumbs up.🙂

Nandini shared this inspiring link. This is for all parents.

Here’s Will Smith describing why he let’s his daughter do anything she wants with her hair.

“We let Willow cut her hair. When you have a little girl, it’s like how can you teach her that you’re in control of her body? If I teach her that I’m in charge of whether or not she can touch her hair, she’s going to replace me with some other man when she goes out in the world. She can’t cut my hair but that’s her hair. She has got to have command of her body. So when she goes out into the world, she’s going out with a command that is hers. She is used to making those decisions herself. We try to keep giving them those decisions until they can hold the full weight of their lives.”

Do you disagree with him? I think that’s how we teach children and future women, to claim their own selves – bodies and minds.

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Foot binding – Part 1/3: A search for perfection
Footbinding – Part 3/3: The End of an Era

100 thoughts on “Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s body and Willow Smith’s hair.

  1. I was waiting for a post from you about her!😀
    These men (I’ve seen very few women talk about her weight gain in a negative way) who talk about her should be asked what they’d do if their wives would gain a lot of weight post pregnancy and if wasn’t healthy for her to lose it within 5 months of delivery.

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    • I think, as a nation ( men, women included) we obsess too much about weight. Esp, for a public figure. There are forums dissecting her curves and calling her unfit for movies. There are women calling out to Loreal to change their brand ambassador.

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      • L’oreal is not a weight loss product and Aishawarya Rai is still the same person – don’t see why they should change their brand ambassador. I think they might do better business if they have a real woman as a brand ambassador.

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        • I agree. I am saying, there are many out there who thinks she no longer is beautiful enough for the product. Also, wasnt Freida Pinto made the ambassador sometime back? ( not sure)

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      • You blame Indian society even on this issue, so you gotta read this: Why blight Indian women with our body fascism?.
        Looking at the attacks on Bachchan, a terrible thought occurs –have we exported this to the subcontinent, the bad fairy of the west, hobbling over with its beribboned gift of institutionalised body fascism? It’s depressing enough that the west makes gloating sideswipes at women failing to lose baby weight quickly enough, but the fact that it’s gone international, all the way to India, is guilt-inducing. “Like Victoria Beckham” they say? This means that body fascism could be one of the west’s most successful exports. Well done, us!

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        • I think Indian women have always been under pressure to look good, and to not look like ‘do bachchon ki amma’ (mother of two kids), and to not over do her taking rest after child birth (in Haryana you hear of women who got back to fields and started working within a day or week after child birth) – and also to pay enough attention to the husband after child-birth to ensure he doesn’t feel neglected. We have had ubtans, lotions and potions to get rid of post pregnancy stretch marks and although nobody talked of weight loss, we made up for it with out own versions – fasts, prayers and tabeez to ‘keep the husband’ interested; women are told to walk like how village women walked with pots of water on their heads and to keep their husbands interested by grinding floor on chakki (the traditional millstone).

          I am not sure body-policing or body-fascism is really a western import. Traditionally new born girl babies have faced hair removal with ubtan with more enthusiasm and concern than boy babies. A woman with a husband ( a suhagan/sumangali) is traditionally expected to take care of her appearance or lose the spouse’s “interest”. Turmeric to remove tan, choker, malai, sour curds, besan, henna have been used to ensure the husband didn’t stray (our methods for ensuring a wife doesn’t stray were very different and involved honor murder, throwing out of the house etc)

          So I would say it’s the same body-fascism with a more western look and name.

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        • Loved this comment of yours, IHM! (For some reason I couldn’t ‘Reply’ to your comment, had to do reply to the previous one.)

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        • Patriarchal Societies behave similarly all over the World The differences that is seen depends on the level of economic development. A rich urban society thinks a very thin woman is more beautiful while poorer rural societies think plumber woman is better than a very thin one.
          Being a Dr I get help requests for both.. … to gain weight and to lose weight from women of similar BMI…. -:)

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        • Fascism is not a word to describe a body image. It pisses me off when people refer to concepts as unimportant as weight with the heavy terminology reserved to completely different issues.

          Yes skinny models are not giving a good example. So aren’t fat women. The point is to be healthy. Both protruding ribs and double chin are not a sign of health.

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        • @Formerly Anon
          I totally agree with IHM’s reply.
          But, for a minute, even if we do take it as a western import.. I don’t see why the Indian society shouldn’t be blamed for the issue.. After all, importing something senseless is equally senseless! The blame rests entirely on our shoulders then – for being so naively impressionable by “western propaganda”!

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  2. After hearing that I have more respect for Will Smith. The sad part is, Will and Jada Smith have received a lot of criticism of their parenting style, just because they allow Willow to wear her hair the way she chooses. I feel that’s good thing to your child, especially daughters. I also see that actresses in Bollywood are expected to fit into some unrealistic ideal of beauty. It just goes to show we live in cultures that obsesses over women’s bodies.

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    • I’m not sure I would let my child do wild things with their hair and bodies upto a certain age… maybe 14 or 15?… but then onwards, I would adopt Will’s philosophy… loved the way he put it🙂

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  3. Completely behind this one for Aishwarya. Didn’t even understand why their baby was such a big deal – there was no need for the entire nation to hang with bated breath on whether it was a girl/boy, whether the baby was born, what she would be named…. just because celebrities live in the public eye, it does not entitle the public to comment on their personal stuff. Yeah, we can. But need to exercise the same control as we might like if our work suddenly became something that is in the public eye.

    Really, really like the Smiths’ approach. They were on the Oprah show once and spoke about parenting in ways I felt we could all get behind.

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  4. Respect for Will! This is the way to raise adults. Kids raised this way are more responsible for their decisions,from haircuts to career, wedding choices! Bravo.

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  5. People who are overweight are one of the few categories left that others can openly point discriminating fingers at. And when it’s a woman, well God forbid! How dare she not fit into the ideal dress size that we have decided is the best for her?

    (On a side note, Will Smith looks so hunky in that photo. And his intelligence just adds to his charm!)

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    • //People who are overweight are one of the few categories left that others can openly point discriminating fingers at. And when it’s a woman, well God forbid! How dare she not fit into the ideal dress size that we have decided is the best for her? //

      And if she’s a celebrity too, then she’s doomed!

      I can really relate to what you said, I gained a lot of wait after school and since then I’m fat and well, have always experienced discriminating fingers pointed at myself. Once one ‘well wisher’ told me “You really need to shed some kilos. Or else, you will not find someone to love you. You will end up alone” Beat it!!

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      • It’s such a load of bull. I have been skinny all my life, and would have people telling me that I need to look better, that I look like a ‘malaria victim’ (according to one friend) and when I finally gained weight and began to look better (in my opinion) I had friends saying that I look bloated. And I know that was not true at all. But you can’t please everybody and I never try to either.

        We should all be comfortable in our own skins – to hell with the world!

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        • I second that PGW, people either keep calling you a ‘famine victim’ or they say you have ‘elephant legs’.

          You have to be happy with your body and stop listening to people because you really cannot please anyone.

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      • I do contempt the society’s fixation with ‘ideal size for women’. Her body, her business! And media seriously needs to get a life. I mean its not like there is any lack of news/issues.
        But being overweight/obese complicates lots of health issues. Lifestyle diseases, breast cancer, etc etc… by losing the extra kilos, you’ll feel real great. Dont do it for others, but couldn’t people do it for themselves? Its not about being thin, its about being fit.

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    • Exactly. I see so many grossly overweight Indian men and nobody points fingers at them.

      If weight is a health concern, then we should be crying foul at overweight men too!

      But naah, Indian men can be fat, ugly and still feel that they are entitled to marry attractive women with 24-inch waists!

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      • ha so true! there’s a joke about this- that when a guy is fat- punjabi aunties say: “uski pursnalty acchi hai”. when he is fit- he is kamzor!

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      • True! if health is all one is concerned about then why just target women? that too after having a perfectly valid reason such as pregnancy??

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      • yeah, why only target women? Yesterday I saw a show on National Geographic(or was it Discovery??) the name of the show was Taboo, and it was about weight issues, they did an experiment, where people were shown a string of photos of overweight men, and the reactions people gave after seeing the photos was “he is fat”, He is huge, etc etc. then the same people were shown photos of overweight women, and the reactions were, “she is fat”, “she is gross” “she is lazy” and such other rude comments too.

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      • I think they are now beginning to realize the Health Hazard of being overweight. It will take another decade or so to change attitudes regarding health. The previous generation were conditioned to believe that being overweight/fat was a symbol of being wealthy. Very few were educated enough to understand the concept of living a healthy life.

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  6. There is a very interesting lesson here especially for the indian parents… we are always with a mindset that we can and should control children. I would like to imbibe this approach in my parenting style for my 4 year old.

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      • Also, I think its especially important in terms of parenting girls- this is an example of parents letting their daughters just ‘be’, without enforcing their ideas of femininity on them from when they are toddlers. I see that especially here- when girls are supposed to have long hair. and look pretty. Thank god for my parents who let me get shave my head at age 20! No rebellion, no making any point involved. And neither was it seen as such.
        To the contrary, a group of supposedly well educated liberal people in their early 30’s went out to eat and on seeing the restaurant manager’s short cropped hair and non-feminine clothes, proceeded to offer their opinion on her sexuality!

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        • (what THEY perceived to be feminine or not i.e. Which reminds me of your post on what does it mean to be feminine?)

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  7. Hello IHM ,
    I have been reading you blog for some days now and could never bring myself to comment anything for most people before me already said what I wanted to. I love reading your posts and this one is amazing as always. I am actually sick of seeing the humdrum everyone is making over Aish’s weight gain. I mean,why can’t people leave her alone!! Let her choose what is important to her,her daughter and motherhood or sticking to the stereotyped diva image. I am infact really very happy that she has decided to prove that she is as real as it can be and has decided to shed her baby weight gradually.
    Jean Sasson’s Princess series are my favourites and I love the portion from Daughters you mentioned here🙂
    I cannot agree more on what Will Smith said.

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    • //I have been reading you blog for some days now and could never bring myself to comment anything for most people before me already said what I wanted to. I love reading your posts and this one is amazing as always.//

      What Swarnali said. Just make it ‘some years instead of ‘some days’.🙂

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        • I meant to say that I’ve been reading IHM’s blog for years now, but I rarely commented because most people said I had to say in better words. Glad you found this blog, Swarnali… I think it should be made compulsory reading for most of the people I know!

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  8. I don’t really appreciate Aishwarya rai for her skills or beauty in anyway but I definitely hate the way she has been criticized post her pregnancy…I would say that she should live the life on her terms and I don’t really think its important for her career either. when she is ready, may be she will become healthy again and lose all the flab but never was she a pencil-thinned gal and she is a mother now for heaven’s sake. one should respect her change in life and let her be. just coz Karishma lost all the weight and became fit thanks to those california almonds (don’t really know how much they are actually responsible) doesn’t mean every actress should follow the same footsteps.

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  9. The next time I read an article talking about Aishwarya’s weight gain, I will just go crazy!! Why is there this obession I fail to understand? honestly I am not a big fan of Aishwarya, but I sure respect her all the more now..she seems to have shown the world, that motherhood is normal !

    Hadnt heard about Will Smith’s stuff earlier..I am a bigger fan now🙂

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  10. Not a big fan of Aishwarya but people really need to leave her alone. The hullabaloo created by media and people over her weight was so annoying. On some website and blogs I read certain comment and I felt like slapping the ones who posted such comments. We Indians are an insensitive lot, but we just don’t accept it.

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    • Yes! Same here. One woman who I usually liked ( in a public forum) commented – “she is a celebrity,and earns $$ to look good and not to look like a bloated pumpkin” She adds, I sent these pictures to my husband who commented I looked better after giving birth. What Bullshit, I say!

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      • A woman, a mother no less, saying this about another woman?

        I think a lot of people feel powerful when they slander celebrities and call them names.

        In their insecure little minds, they’re one up over the celebrity, who’s always female. Male celebrities don’t attract criticism for body issues.

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  11. I really respect Aishwarya for enjoying her mommyhood phase. I am a mother, and I know what a woman’s body goes through. So, I would say lay off to all detractors and a huge thumbs up to her.

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  12. I eagerly waited for this. There were many articles doing rounds on the net and in public talks.. Fat-Ash, Aunty-ash, blah blah…. Well, she is fat now. yes. But it is her body. Her choice. She will lose it as and when she wants it. What ever the effects of this are in her own personal life, and unless they know her on such a personal level to comment on it, they should keep it to themselves. Besides, putting on weight after pregnancy is a natural things to happen. Different women lose that weight differently as per their own body and personal activities. Some lose it fast ( i have seen some women looking trim in a month’s time) while some take months.. But it is THEIR body. They will deal with it themselves. Heavens know how difficult it is to go through the whole pregnancy routine. Some time ago I had visited a colleague who was on maternity leave, and she described how it was with the morning sickness, the cramps, and later after child birth she described the labor. Dude, give her a break.

    As for what Will Smith did.. Yep right way to instill values and independence in the kids.. Awesome

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  13. I am not a fan of Aishwarya,especially after she chose to become the Bacchan “bahu”, and besides she is a crap actress. But yes, her body is her own body and she is doing the right thing. As for Kareena (as someone said above), she also shed her baby fat slowly, and took a few years away from work to care for her baby.

    And thanks for the links, IHM!

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  14. Being a. Mallu I was always appalled by the fact that fatness of it’s elderly Patriarchal super heroes like Mohanlal is never discussed while the ‘beauty’ of the teenage heroines are dissected out….
    Patriarchy always have double standards.

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  15. I never cared too much about Aishwarya, but I absolutely love her attitude on this. Hopefully it will send the right message to women struggling to conform.

    As for Will Smith! Wow! That is just amazing. I’ve always liked him, but now I totally respect him for his views.

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  16. I have never liked Aishwarya, both on-screen and off-screen! But I was glad, nonetheless to read this fitting retort by her! Fully support her views on this. The whole issue about her weight has been nothing but obsessive and immature reporting in my opinion. High time the media started acting a bit more responsibly!

    As for Will Smith, fully agree with him! So very well said!

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  17. The body image is just another Indian hypocrisy in action.

    Let’s be very honest – the day a woman becomes a mother in India she is expected to “finish” the life of her own (if she ever had any) and focus solely on the child. That means, if she gets back into shape after the pregnancy people say that she is too self-absorbed (i.e. not a mother good enough).

    On the other hand here we have a celebrity, who in the common opinion should look pretty no matter what because it’s her job. I bet, if she lost weight immediately after having a baby, people would talk about how career is more important to her than the child.

    Unfortunately I think she is sending a mixed message. Because while I agree it’s nobody’s interest what she does about her weight, it is also not the best idea to publicly excuse being fat for dedicating herself to motherhood. It’s like maikng a circle with the common belief that I described above, that the moment you become a mother, you can look like shit, just because you have a baby at home. With the whole outrage around her, you can clearly see from the way she dresses (“tent-style”) that she is not confident with her looks.

    I would say, rock the motherhood, don’t hide behind it.

    About Smith’s comment – I think there is a lot of truth in what he says. Women all over the world tend to change looks for men – in some places that means being oversexualized in others covering the body head-to-toe. And everything just because men have “preferences”. If you teach a girl to be in charge of her image, she will be able to be in charge of her character as well. And that’s a good lesson.

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    • Completely agree with this. I saw way too many snarky comments on various sites about other mothers being “more interested in becoming skinny than in their babies”. The way people are standing up to support Aishwarya is awesome, but in our enthusiasm to do so, we should be careful not to be disdainful of women who choose to lose the baby weight. If the idea is that women should do what they like with their bodies, that includes losing weight and staying slim too. Wanting to keep the extra kgs is in no way more “noble” than wanting to lose them.

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      • I would say that its everyone’s prerogative as to how they want to maintain themseleves but others should just let them be. if they wanna lose weight, they are welcome to do so, of course. just because a mother takes care of her looks and looks amazing doesn’t mean she doesn’t take care of her baby.

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    • ‘On the other hand here we have a celebrity, who in the common opinion should look pretty no matter what because it’s her job.’

      Aishwarya is a STUNNINGLY beautiful woman no matter what her weight.
      Who says you have to be slender to be pretty?

      I’m not a big Aishwarya fan, but I applaud her for not endorsing the ‘size zero’ nonsense.

      As far as dressing & fashion sense I think the entire ‘Bachchan Clan’ could use a stylist.

      As a young girl growing up in ‘perfection obsessed’ California I’ve had enough of the ‘never too rich or too thin’ rubbish. Ribs & collarbones sticking out of bikinis with fake boobs that look like mangoes dangling in socks ain’t hot.

      As a healthcare professional I can tell you that being ‘fat’ doesn’t automatically make you ‘unhealthy’ nor does being ‘thin’ make you naturally ‘healthy’. I wish we’d put more of an emphasis on ‘health’ rather than ‘weight’.

      Yes, being overweight is the last taboo, apparently it is still acceptable to openly abuse anyone carrying some extra weight- especially if it is a girl or a woman.

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      • I have no idea where in my comment you got this idea that I’m a fan of skinny. I was talking about motherhood and how it is not an excuse for being fat.

        Being overweight is not a reason to pick at people. Bullying sucks.

        But your statement that “being ‘fat’ doesn’t automatically make you ‘unhealthy’” is at least bizarre. Fat is never healthy. Heart issues, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol are only a few problems associated with being fat. That’s far away from healthy. A couple of pounds more will probably not create a tragedy, but 20kg more will.

        Obesity is not something to glorify.

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        • “I have no idea where in my comment you got this idea that I’m a fan of skinny. I was talking about motherhood and how it is not an excuse for being fat.” Sure you have a point in terms of health, but why say “look like shit”?!

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  18. There was a time when I weighed 39 kilos in high school when all my classmates weighed 50+ kilos. Everyone commented about my weight. A girl went to the extent to say that her dad would be happy to see me. Why? Because he would know there is someone thinner than his daughter and it would be a consolation to him.

    Ten years post marriage I was a whopping 80+ kilos. Again the same comments except the difference was why I was so fat. Everyone gave me tips on what I should do to reduce my weight and appear presentable.

    People will always have something to say. Why so fat, why so thin, why so tall, why so short, why so old, why this why that? People say things because they feel they can get away by saying. But they would dare say things only to those who they perceive as weak or docile. They would not dare this with those they perceive as strong and aggressive. What they need to be told is to mind their own business.

    What Ash or anyone else does with themselves is their business.

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  19. No offence, but some real women too are thin and healthy. As a matter of fact, following the routine that doctor had prescribed my wife during her pregnancy, she came out weighing less and more charming after the child birth. All those walks, high protein diet and vitamin supplements paid off. Let’s not delude people into thinking that getting fat is healthy. Of course it is perfectly fine and one’s personal choice. But there are some biological standards of what we consider beautiful, no one has to feel pressure to confirm to those, but not like they don’t exist. I am a bit fat. I don’t think its healthy or beautiful but it is something which is not high on my priority this year. Come next year and I may try to lose fat and gain muscles ( something I tell myself every year😦 )

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    • As a matter of fact, I came out healthy, looking better and weighing less as I was walking with her and eating the same diet🙂

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      • ‘Let’s not delude people into thinking that getting fat is healthy.’

        Let’s not delude people into thinking everyone HAS to be thin to be healthy either.

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        • Depends on your definition of thin. In my perspective its not Paris Hilton thin. Anything within healthy BMI range is great.

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        • THE LIES WE BUY, DEFINING HEALTH AT WOMEN’S EXPENSE
          http://www.beautyredefined.net/the-lies-we-buy-defining-health-at-womens-expense/
          After lots of research on perceptions of women’s health, I became interested in the Body Mass Index (BMI) and how it came to be the standard scale for judging a healthy weight. What I learned was shocking. This is an condensed excerpt of a full paper I wrote on this topic for my PhD program. It was accepted to the 2011 Conference of the National Communication Association, where I presented it in New Orleans, Louisiana, to a room full of new supporters!
          Though accepted definitions of physical health should have remained relatively stable throughout the past several decades, public perceptions regarding female health have shifted dramatically toward a focus on thinness over the past 25 years, as evidenced by media’s almost exclusive description and depiction of healthy bodies as extremely thin, toned and free of any unsightly “blemishes” like cellulite. By the early ‘90s, the vast majority of magazine health content focused on weight loss (framed as a means to improve appearance), though overweight and obesity had not yet become national health concerns.

          While science tells us that current beauty ideals of extreme thinness and tall, shapely perfection have little to no correlation with actual indicators of health and wellness, we still see tons of evidence that people believe this myth to be true:

          The vast majority of girls and women now perceive underweight bodies and extremely low body weights as being ideally healthy
          Even underweight and average-weight females are striving for weight loss using dangerous and unhealthy means, such as disordered eating and abuse of laxatives or excessive exercise
          According to studies done in the last five years, 66 percent of adolescent girls wish they were thinner, though only 16 are actually overweight.


          100 Years and 100 Lbs
          Defining Health at Women’s Expense

          A standardized table of average weights and heights for women was developed for the first time in 1908, when life insurance companies began looking for ways to charge higher premiums to applicants based on pre-screening by their own medical examiners. Though previous weight tables allowed for increasing weight with age (which naturally occurs), this new table was the first to deem an increase in weight after age 25 as undesirable and unhealthy. Thus, by setting the thresholds for “ideal weight” and “overweight” lower than what mortality data showed as the actual healthy weight ranges, they were able to collect more money for those they deemed “overweight.”

          READ MORE, HERE, http://www.beautyredefined.net/the-lies-we-buy-defining-health-at-womens-expense/

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        • Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, or DXA (formerly DEXA), is currently the best method for estimating body fat percentage, and determining body composition and bone mineral density.
          BMI figures have proven to be inaccurate in determine percentage of body fat as they do not make allowance for the relative proportions of bone, muscle and fat in the body.
          For example-
          Bone is denser than muscle and twice as dense as fat, so a person with strong bones, good muscle tone and low fat will have a high BMI. Thus, athletes and fit, health-conscious movie stars who work out a lot tend to find themselves classified as overweight or even obese.

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      • I think pregnant women are criticised no matter what their diet or lifestyle is.

        I’ll bet your wife was criticised for SOMEthing by SOMEbody.

        I’ve even seen new mothers being criticised because their baby was too fat, thin, dark, colicy, (insert any undesirable trait here).

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  20. Her life and her choices.! Let her live her life and contrary to people like us, these women get excited when a phase like this comes into their lives, other than the times when they are dressed like mannequins and used to display themselves in front of the shutterbugs.! And not always a woman needs to look all that beautiful.! It’s a part of the Indian culture, “this poking into others business activity” when not married they pester you to marry, when married, they will start asking about the kids, when the first one comes they will ask when is the second due and blah blah blah.! We Indians haven’t learned to mind our own business.! Other’s business entices us more.!

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  21. i have seen both sides of the picture… I’ve seen people who say that NOW that they’ve become moms, they can let themselves go and gain as much weight as they can.
    I applaud Aishwarya and the likes of Vidya Balan.. but I do not like the attitude where the woman thinks that because she is married and has a kid, she does not need to look good anymore.

    Looking good is for yourself. For your self confidence. Being healthy is for yourself. I don’t believe in starving yourself to become as thin as a reed. But I do believe in healthy eating and regular exercise to keep your energy levels up and for a healthy body and mind.

    People who talk about how Aishwarya or Kareena Kapoor or anyone else is gaining weight have lost track of what is important in the world.

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    • True, but everybody is entitled to decide how they wish to look and what they wish to eat.

      We cannot foist our standards on others, nor can they impose their standards on us.

      For instance, I am very judgemental about people who smoke or those who consume large quantities of meat.

      However, I’d be wrong to criticise such people to their faces. Everybody has the right to choose how they wish to look, how much they wish to weigh and what/how much they wish to eat.

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      • of course! I don’t go around telling people what to do with their lives. But it is the attitude that goes behind it that irks me. The attitude that *because* a woman is now married, she no longer “needs” to look good, cos you know… what’s she got to look good for?!

        That, I dislike.. and while I don’t go around advocating that they change their lives to suit my ideals, I do tell them that being healthy and exercising regularly has it’s own benefits. And to those who fret about NOT losing their baby-weight quickly enough, I tell them to take it easy, cos they’ve just had a baby… and losing weight should be the last thing on their minds.

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  22. I never remember a time when my mum was thin. Yet, I never remember a time when she did not look beautiful and elegant. None of my gorgeous aunts were/are thin. None of my mum’s friends were thin. Yet I remember them as stunning women – so confident, so self-assured, so intelligent. Sure, they would poke fun at the weight when they met – but it was all in good fun.

    I grew up on Kannada movies where the heroine matched the hero bicep to bicep. Yet, no one batted an eyelid. We related to the ROLE rather than the actress. The movie critics did their job of analysing the acting and the role, rather than making personal comments on the actors/actresses.

    it does look like it was the time when being mature was classy, being intelligent was cool. Journalism had a place of pride. Now, it is considered intelligent to point fingers and laugh at new mums, it is considered excellent journalism if one writes insulting pieces, it is considered ‘sense of humour’ if one makes fun of another’s body. The era of shallowness has surely peaked.

    Three cheers for Aishwarya for ignoring the d*ckheads – none of them I’m sure, have alabaster skin, washboard abs or other perky body parts.

    Like

    • I’m sure Sharmila Tagore didn’t get bullied by the media each time she delivered one of her three kids. Neither did Waheeda Rehman, Suchitra Sen, Jaya Bachchan or Hema Malini.

      I remember watching Biswajeet totter precariously as he lifted a buxom Asha Parekh, (easily the heavier of the two), out of a boat.🙂

      Most of Dev Anand’s leading ladies could have easily flung Dev Saab over a shoulder if the script demanded it.🙂

      Like

      • Particular favourites being Manjula and Saritha…oh how Dr.Raj and all leading heros were squashed by the affectionate embraces of these two lovely ladies😉

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        • I can’t believe you mentioned them.. I too had Manjula and Saritha in mind when I wrote that🙂.. They are my favourites too!!😀

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  23. So impressed by Will Smith’s approach to parenting, so refreshing! It’s so sick to see girls as young as 12 and 13 dressing in overtly sexual outfits just because they think this will win them ‘approval’ of some sort.

    As for keyboard warriors who hide their identities behind foolish names and attack people on the internet, I sincerely hope they get what is coming to them. I’m not sure why they feel they can criticise somebody else on an aspect when they’re not perfect themselves.

    My only issue is the term ‘real woman’ for any woman with curves. I’m lucky to have them, but women who aren’t curvy are just as real as the rest of us with our lumps and bumps. We’re all amazing and real, whatever shapes or sizes we may be🙂

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  24. If you are fat, they will say you eat too much,
    if you are skinny, they will say you look famished and impoverished,
    if you are tan skinned, they will say, you do not take care of your skin,
    if you are light skinned, they will say, you used too much fairness cream,
    if you are tall, they will say, it is difficult to find a groom,
    if you are short, they will say you are a dwarf,
    if you cut you hair short, they will say you are a modern slut,
    if you grow your hair long, they will say, you are a witch,
    if you go for higher studies, they will say you will become uncontrollable,
    if you study less, they will say you will be a nothing in this world,
    if you work and make money, they will say you are arrogant,
    if you do not and stay at home, they will say you are useless……………………..and so the list goes on!

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  25. I don’t agree with anyone criticizing Rai or will smith’s daughter for their appearance. But I will say this, actresses like Rai have based their entire careers on looks and physical appearance and in fact have contributed to the unrealistic expectations that have been placed on women. It’s a little bit late to cry foul now. If I remember correctly Rai was a model and Ms world participant and on this basis got her break in bollywood.

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      • Before anybody misunderstands me, by looks mattering, I should clarify, I mean exclusively in Bollywood. It’s not like they’re being judged on intellect – their looks are what got them their money and fame. I still think it’s evil the way they’re talking though.

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    • Totally agree with you. I do not agree with people criticizing Aishwarya. It is her body, she can keep it the way she likes. However actresses/models are in the public eye because of their beauty, and to my mind aid and abet the beauty propaganda machine. Then it seems hypocritical to turn around and go all righteous when it suits you and you are at the receiving end. She might say she never was a proponent of size zero, but I’ll take that with a pinch of salt – actions speak louder than words.
      A similar thing happened recently when Ashley Judd’s “puffy face” was criticized by the media. She, a self-professed feminist, made it a conversation about patriarchy, although I’m not much convinced with her argument either : http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/04/09/ashley-judd-slaps-media-in-the-face-for-speculation-over-her-puffy-appearance.html

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      • Also, kudos to Will Smith! Glad there are fathers like him. I recall when a few years ago, went for a haircut to cut my waist-length hair into an ultra-short bob. Here I am in a large city of the “liberal” USA, in a hair-salon of a mall, and my hair-dresser – a very nice Caucasian woman of my mom’s age with a short bob herself, asks me if my husband won’t be upset with my cutting off my hair. I told her I didn’t see why – after all it was my head. I do think that her perceptions were swayed by articles in the media about “Asian” women/honor killings/female foeticide/general female oppression in certain cultures.

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    • I disagree with you. Yes, Aishwarya Rai based her career in Bollywood based on beauty. So, does this give everyone a right to complain about her weight gain? If yes, why? Most male superstars in Bollywood base their career on appearing macho, they beat up bad guys and protect the world from evil in their movies. So, will you criticize them for not living upto their image in the real world? Most male superstars, at some point in their long careers, have been overweight, some of them go around slapping people, hurling abuses, smoke cigarretes in public, have affair whilst married. Will they be demonized like the way Aishwarya is being demonized? Sure, criticism is there but it is hardly as vicious as it is for Aishwarya.
      Why this justification that since Aishwarya got around her good looks, she should not complain when people are viciously attacking her for the weight gain? It is not like she gained weight when she was in the middle of a movie, jeopardizing the movie’s prospects. She gained weight after being delivering a child at the age of 38 or 39. She might have a ton of problems to deal with during late pregnancy.

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  26. (I always thought Aish was a bimbette, till this incident : ). At least she knows what she wants.)

    I think that Aish’s weight is fair game to a limited extent : in the sense that celebrity in the movies, comes at expense of people dissecting your looks. What I did not like was the media not allowing her to be a public figure without commenting on her looks. I mean, she is a mother, she has her priorities. The day she decides to act again, if she she doesn’t fit the audience’s choices, they’ll vote with their wallets. In the interim, all this media discussion of her looks is absurd. (And some, if not most of it, is spiteful).

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  27. I don’t care too much about ash… She,s a pretty ad actress or at least hasn’t been given many oppurtunities to showcase her talent whatever but nowadays I see any young people in India ith simply very unhealthy lifestyles and food habits. Sme lead to obesity which I don’t care to comment on but I think parents show teach youngsters to et well, eat healthy and then et their body wt and shapes fall to wherever it should … I mean one of these youngsters eat absolute crap. How can you abuse your body so?
    As for motherhood and wt gain, it differs for every one but eating healthy, good exercise and peace should be the goal, your body will automatically adjust..

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  28. Never really knew what the big deal with Ash is. To me she, her weight, her baby, her marriage whatever is just another obsession Indian people have. It’s a classic sign of dysfunction, these people don’t really have anything going for themselves so they obsesses about this nonsense. If not Ash it’s going to be Tendulkar / Salman Khan or anything that goes around. I am sorry but Bollywood actresses are lame and dancing around like a monkey is not acting.

    Agree with Will Smith – this is unheard of in desi culture, we would rather put our children through a decade of school uniforms, we teach them to be the same as the other, to blend in, to conform, to be subservient and be ordinary.

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  29. God, the grief I get when people see that I have cut my hair short is unbearable. First of all you are divorced, and now you cut your hair, you are doomed to remain single🙂 And by the way lose those extra kilos and get those pimple scars removed. AND FINALLY, colour your hair black from blonde, makes you look like a rebel !!!! Sometimes, I wish I could slap the people uttering the spoken and unspoken comments on how I look.

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  30. I agree people must not obssess about her weight. I’m glad she is happy being the way she is with her baby.

    But I really wish she had spoken earlier and not let her FIL go around posting regular updates on her pregnancy.

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  31. Criticism to Aishwarya Rai’s looks which does include weight is something she should not be complaining about considering she has actually made a career by conforming to certain unrealistic standards of beauty. I guess the criticism would be a lot less if she was not an actress and was say a famous politician or even a sportsperson.

    Will Smith is Great…

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  32. I think this whole brouhaha over Aishwarya Rai’s weight is a part of the falling standards of journalism (and consumers) in post-1990s India. This is the first place I read about this, so I wonder who is to blame for such articles, the people who scourge for such tabaloids or the media that caters to such audiences?

    Indians are still far more tolerant than South East Asian or Eurocentric cultures when it comes to women’s (or men’s) weight. Most of my mainland Indian friends, both men and women are pot bellied and its pretty much a non-issue (although I see the odd Kumar or Mahesh pretty much salivating over the figures of NE or white women, much to the disapproval of his ‘healthy’ girlfriend or wife).

    As for the ‘real woman’ part, who is to decide that a real woman has to look like Vidya Balan? Women, like men, come in all different shapes, sizes, personalities and other characteristics. Typfying the chubby look as a ‘real woman’ is a parochial way to look at it, as if women who don’t have a few pudges aren’t ‘real’. I wouldn’t even go into the pyschobabble to explain where such remarks come from.

    And frankly, just like women (and men) are free to choose who or how they want to be, so do men (and women) have the right to find someone attractive or unattractive. And since men are more attracted to physical attributes than women, a woman’s weight is more open to scrutiny than a man’s. This is not to say that women’s bodies are all that matters. It is just that a woman is more heavily judged for her looks the same way a man is judged for his wealth and at times, height. Personality is secondary to both genders, unless there is a hard-and-fast personality preference in a mate.

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