'His life, his pizza': Why fat-shaming Fardeen Khan shows a troubling double standard
It's such a pity when we have to swallow our own words.
A couple of weeks ago, Firstpost did an opinion piece on body positivity in Indian media, lauding Elle magazine and models like Shveta Salve, Carol Gracias for rocking their own versions of beauty.
However, over the past few days, we couldn't help but notice Fardeen Khan trending. Why? Because of his apparent weight gain. Not only did several Indian publications highlight the fact that the former actor had gained weight, but they also rounded up all the funny tweets about it.
Fardeen Khan's weight gain will shock you!
Can You Recognise Fardeen Khan From His Latest Pictures?
While some portals used click bait headlines to support their cause, others were quite blatant about their fat-shaming.
Well done, guys. [sarcasm alert]
What angered us most is the hypocrisy with which we deal with the physical scrutiny of a celebrity. So when Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is criticised for her weight at Cannes, it becomes a hot topic of discussion but when it comes to Fardeen Khan, it becomes a joke?
The very fact that an actor putting on weight is a source of humour or validation for us is a very troubling trend.
This can be tied to the fact that a large part of content around celebrities revolves around their personal life. Who kissed whom? Who broke up with whom over Whatsapp? Look look, this once famous 'chocolate boy' is now gaining weight! Rejoice!
Thankfully, some twitter users agree with our sentiment:
Everyone making fun of Fardeen Khan pls note that he's recently lost his father, and has (had?) a massive drug problem. some empathy is ok.
— jugal (@joogasama) May 20, 2016
We don't body shame women post pregnancy, then why body shame Fardeen Khan. His life his pizza. So be it.
— The Silent Indian (@Mute_Indian) May 20, 2016
Monday: Body shaming isn’t cool.
Friday: HEHE Fardeen Khan mota ho gaya. Chee mote.
— Shit Indians Tweet (@AllIndianTweets) May 20, 2016
Fat Fardeen Khan jokes? Come now guys, we aren't that starved for conversation topics.
— Anuya (@effyourstylist) May 20, 2016
Forget Fardeen Khan, even you guys were cute 20 years ago.
— PollyP (@PolyesterPalla) May 20, 2016
Why is everyone body shaming Fardeen Khan now? He put on weight. Big deal. Get over it.
— NRK (@PWNeha) May 20, 2016
You do realize making fun of Fardeen Khan's weight gain amounts to body shaming right. Imagine the outrage if it was an actress.
— Err (@Errendous) May 20, 2016
As I type this, I am half-expecting someone to comment below with, "chill out, it's just a joke, learn to laugh". To this, I have lots to say.
Firstly, this sentiment on "chilling out" and having a broad yardstick for humour needs to be applied with certain boundaries. If you are okay with someone making fun of your weight, sure, go ahead, do the same. I'm pretty sure some of the comedians who ask people to "chill out" over their controversial statements genuinely know how to take a joke.
One the other hand, we're a generation of people who probably start to skip meals if some aunty tells us we look "chubby". So if you're touchy about how you look, imagine what a celebrity has to go through with the constant discussions around how they look. We are not asking you to make their lives easier, or sympathise with them. Just know where to draw the line.
Secondly, it makes our job as entertainment journalists that much more troublesome, because while on one hand we would love to write about films, theatre, music and/or performing arts, we are forced to give space to trivial pieces of news because of a growing demand for it.
So without sounding preachy, or judgmental, we urge you, the readers, to really think about the kind of content you are subjected to. They say you get the news you deserve. If you wouldn't want someone to scrutinise your (hypothetical) weight gain, don't click on the next Fardeen Khan link.
Remember, karma is a b*tch.