gender and sexuality · image identity · reflections

Getting to know “me” – body image

There is a certain ‘me’ that I have never been one with, the ‘me’ that is my body, the ‘me’ that is my physique, my skin, my hair. I have always looked at this bit of ‘me’ borrowing the gaze of an outsider, an outsider who lacks both the proximity and empathy I must experience but unfortunately don’t.


I remember as a teenager, when I first spotted hair growth on my legs, my world continued as it were. It was only a friend of mine- well aware of worldly affairs and stereotypes-who pointed out at those and asked me to get my legs waxed.

I was filled with sudden shame, a certain stigma, as if hair are not natural, as if I am the only living being blessed with those. I followed her advice and began to get my feet waxed at quite an early age. I have grown up in a town where you might end up being horribly waxed all your life and not even realize that the experience need not be this bad. I went through the trauma of burns and skin allergies only to realize later that the employee at the salon hardly knew what she was doing, she had no sense of temperature, of hygiene and definitely lacked humane sensibility, considering the cruelty with which she carried out this task.To come upon a solution, I stopped wearing  skirts and shorts for some years, something I loved, but just let go, as I let go of many more things as time passed. I have seen men with hair popping out of every crevice, they don’t hide, why should I? Why should I be compelled to hide? Why should I be mocked at if I don’t?I rarely frequent the salon now though, honestly I don’t care that much anymore.

DO you have whiskers? I do, I discovered this lately. For the first few days, I think I was in depression. Hair on the face!! This is it, life has come to an end! I don’t know why, but we all desire a certain permanence in how we look, in how we “maintain” ourselves, so even I took my sweet time to accept this inevitable change and many others that human body would go through. I know that one day I will have a wrinkled skin, but I still don’t like to believe it. Why?

White hair, well premature greying is now a norm. I am gonna go all white pretty soon. I have not been spared by anyone in my proximity. I have heard different forms of comments, whether its about ageing, or ugliness or vitamin deficiency. Why the hell should I even consider your foul smelling henna? I am not interested, why are you so perturbed by how my head appears?

Vaginal Hair, poor souls, I know you suffer much ridicule from many, even I made you feel really sorry for your existence. If your boyfriend demands a clean waxed vagina, punch him. period. No one has the right to demand anything from you, from your body, every body deserves to be celebrated and loved, first and foremost by the one who resides in it. Date a man who respects your body, cares for its well being, its good health, than looks forward to a plastic doll, why not buy him a nice robotic sex toy then?

I am acquainted with women who are scared to death during pregnancy for they fear changes, they fear that their men would not find them attractive enough. This is the lowest form of self-esteem and self-love my friends, you are not an object which has to stay as it were when acquired, you are not in a relationship based solely on how you appear to your partner, your partner is not as lacking in love and respect as you probably imagine, and lots more than I could say here. anyway, maybe later.

Lets move on to:


For as long as I can remember, I treated them as someone alienated from my own self. I was disturbed at first, and slowly embarrassed. I remember a friend of mine who would call me names because I was heavy breasted, I decided to never run, I haven’t run for very long. I still feel conscious of breasts bouncing and catching attention. I do not understand why women do this to other women? Why can’t we accept that everybody is different?

On our farewell from school, I felt shy and awkward in a sari, for I felt that my blouse made them prominent, I could have also felt beautiful, wholesome, but no, I had borrowed someone else’s perception, and disliked what I saw in the mirror.

Men of course take it to another level altogether, from lewd comments and gestures, to being forcefully touched, squeezed and pinched, I think my poor breasts have indeed suffered much at the hands of horny douchebags all around.

At times, when that stupid bra makes me feel suffocated, I want to throw it away and just let my breasts breathe freely, but I lack the courage to do so. You won’t believe it, but I wear a bra and sleep at night, so scared am I of letting them be, there I go again, let me correct, so scared am I of letting me be me.


I hide my belly, I have almost always hidden it from everyone. A reason was also the fact that I have never had a flat one, but still, there is no need for the paranoia that I nurture. In the last few years I discovered a discoloration on my belly, something that my grandmother got at a very old age. I thankfully took it in stride unlike the other changes, but it did require much rationale from my adult ego.

There are times when wearing a belt hurts my belly, but in the fear of falling trousers exposing the crack of my bum, I keep the belt on, and allow my belly to suffer, I think this much penance for nothing is sheer stupidity.


We were acquainted as poornima and Chhee Chhee. Chhee Chhee is not to be touched for it is dirty (basically a way to assure that little girls don’t discover the joy of masturbation). Chhee Chhee is to be protected, Chhee Chhee, if gets infected, UTI, then it should not be spoken of loudly. Chhee Chhee should be hurriedly cleaned and avoided.

That is some of the nonsense that surrounded my vagina’s reputation.

I never related the lobes and lips one studied of in biology with my real organ. I never even attempted at marvelling that how through this passage I might deliver a child one day. All of this is not a discourse, it should not be thought of. In fact, to be honest I hardly ever looked at my Vagina, and consequently, would not want it to be looked at either. This is pushing me towards acknowledging the extremely unhealthy understanding of sex and sexual relationships I had, but I won’t get into it here.

When I would have a discharge, I just knew I am to be disgusted, I never understood what it was, whether it was fungal, whether it was normal menstrual discharge, whether it was due to stomach infection, I just never understood. I do so now, and I am much relieved.


They are only meant for Potti. Apart from that, I never acknowledged their existence. I never noticed how they were, I never tried to look at them. I despised the fact that when you make love, they would be seen. I hid them as well, I wore long t-shirts, loose pants, because those with tight jeans were considered to be amoral when I was really young and I borrowed those tweaked notions of morality and sexuality. Later after being conveniently slapped at my ass by random men on the road, I made it a point to hang my backpack real low. It made me conscious, I still am, I hate it when I wear my skirt, knowing that it would make my bum stand out in all its glory. I wish I could enjoy that, i wish I could calmly and happily walk with a bounce, rather than a manly stride that i copied from my brothers.


My legs were called logs, because they were always very fat. I don’t have the long slender legs you see in photoshopped images, I have shorter ones. I have never been proud of them. I have never thanked them for making me move, for allowing me to enjoy the thrill in a bicycle ride, for letting me grant a kick or two. I just have them, that is all.

I wish I could respect them, and even take care of them, walk more often, run, give them that strength they firmly demand. But no, I just treat them as passive logs. What shame!

I wish I were more at ease with how I am, now that I am beginning to be so, I decided to share it, a move I might have been nervous about or scandalized by earlier, but i think that if I wish for all women and men to love themselves and not be embarrassed of body parts then I should probably begin with letting go of my own inhibition, of accepting my eccentricities and uniqueness, of acknowledging my redundant fears.

Love yourself, Love your complete self.


If you felt this made any sense, you might enjoy this blog post as well:












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