It is high time this 'fit and fabulous' fever is corrected

While being ‘Fit and Fabulous’ seems to be the mantra of every other woman in India, the catchphrase in itself would undoubtedly rank among the top 10 overused slogans of recent times. Though fitness gurus say ‘Fit and Fabulous’ means having a healthier weight for a long disease-free life, the images associated with that clichéd phrase are of women competing in a size zero contest. As much as everybody loves not to be shallow, let’s face the fact: ‘Fit and Fabulous (FaF)’ stands for ‘skinny and ready to fit into a breathtaking dress’. The FaF fever in its current form has a distant root in the past.

The fever was not passed on by mothers of the previous generation. They easily fall in the fat category on the FaF scale, not to forget the inexhaustible machine-like fitness they possess to take care of their family, more often the family of the next generation too. The earlier generation was immersed in taking care of the loved ones. Taking care of oneself, on the other hand, was taboo. Over the years, with repeated childbirth, grooming kids and nurturing the extended family, the mother gained weight, apparently because she did not have time to take care of herself. (An indulgent husband and a contended married life were not an acceptable excuse for gaining those extra pounds!) The philandering men had a perfect reason to quote: they started looking outside marriage because their women folks were not attractive anymore.

The women’s liberation movement of the 1960s in the western countries was about fighting the idea of portraying women as sexual objects and extending their roles beyond the domicile boundary. One achievement of the Indian version of the movement, which has had its slow and covert run, is the women’s ‘me’ time has gained its fair share of importance. A woman spending time on herself is not taboo anymore, even though it is still frowned upon behind her back. Now, the ‘me’ time that is precious in terms of quality and quantity is trapped inside a cocoon built by our own liberation movement. Since the philandering men were not corrected in the right way, the woman took on herself the onus of looking good. Women have two strong reasons to be FaF; to feel good about themselves and to restrain the wandering eyes of their men.

FaF is the buzzword in all women’s magazine. Whether one is a working woman competing with men for the next role or a homemaker juggling multiple roles, FaF has kicked all other goals in a woman’s list of achievements to take the top spot. A reduction in weight is celebrated and appreciated much more than a job promotion. The prized ‘me’ time is invariably focussed on gym and workouts. Exercise is important; there is no debate about it.

FaF in its current standard, however, requires much more than that: working out like you are going to die and diet like you are starving, with the ultimate control of the tongue like a yogi who has given up all worldly pleasures. Motivational coaching to control mood swing binging is a recommended value add. If nothing works and if you have a swelling bank account, there are beauty clinics ready to suck the fat out.

If you are one of the many who cannot opt for any of the above options, there is the easy way out. Re-define the FaF standard to your own convenient scale. Invest the precious ‘me’ time in avenues that would interest you as an individual. Be it a simple embroidery class or language class, go for it. Shuffle it with the workout that would keep you refreshed.

Even better, take rest, after all, body and mind need that rejuvenation guaranteed after a quiet nap. Every wave of women’s liberation movement brought an incremental improvement in women’s life. This FaF fever has taken an unfortunate turn taking the women’s liberation movement a step back. It is high time this turn was corrected. How can we ever be fabulous, if we are not proud of flaunting the woman we are, as we are, without the burden of that excess weight weighing us down?

(The writer’s email: veronicablog.wilson @gmail.com)

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