The fight pertaining to sizes that are correct for the Indian body type has been a long standing debate for years now. However, with the launch of the ‘India size’ research by the Textiles Ministry we do see a ray of hope. That’s the context of sizes and fittings. What about the brand promotions where most brands end up using perfect figure models? Looking closely at the lingerie industry from this point of view we will able to note that the industry is still reeling under the concept of ‘size zero’. In India most brands fail to recognise the need to promote their brands using the right Indian body type models. From banners to hoardings to online catalogues, it’s all about the slim and trim of it. International brands on the other hand have started to embrace the idea of body positivity and therefore has become more outward looking and all encompassing. Today, H&M does not shy away from using a plus-size model to advertise a swim suit. However, inclusion seems like a far-fetched reality when it comes to brands in India. Here’s what some aware consumers had to say.
Copywriter at Webchutney & Comedian
When asked, she loves to describe herself as ‘some days, I’m a Copywriter, other days, I surprise myself.’ She is smart, outspoken and has been standing for the right every time she becomes aware of something wrong happening in her environment. Her ability to lighten up serious mundane life has earned her many claps and smiles on the stage. She is busy crafting words all through the day and that qualifies her to speak her mind for our topic too. Here’s what she had to say.
The belief that ‘size zero’ is the ‘perfect figure’ for women is a deeply-rooted context and to a greater extent our society should shoulder the responsibility of such vehement wrong expressions. Moreover, this concept is constantly getting reinforced based on the way women are getting portrayed via a range of media expressions. Be it advertising, movies, music, or books, we always see slim women dominate our visual ground. Although, off-late, in western countries, a lot of plus-size models, especially in the lingerie category have entered the field of micro-influencers and models, I feel people show a little restraint in unlearning their prior notions about women and beauty. When it comes to a country like India, people are a little more resistant towards unlearning their prejudiced notions about women. According to me, till the time the aware masses of the society, especially the media, does not reinforce diversity, change is uncertain.
TANUSREE ROY SALUJA
Data Analyst at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank
An Indian at heart, soul, and nature, Tanushree presently resides in Dubai. She is a data analyst by profession and is mother of a toddler. Her stint with Economics, data, and business gave her a strong foundation to spot the good and the bad right at the start. She has, over the years worked in various corporates in India and abroad and has observed how the world is evolving by the day. Her outward nature and her sharp insights have shaped up her opinions. Here’s what she says.
“Change my Mind, Not My Body” – read this quote somewhere a few months ago and it has stuck to me ever since. I have gained quite a bit of cellulite and stretch marks along with my motherhood status some two years ago and since then, every time I saw a model in lingerie ads in magazines, TV, online etc., I was quite depressed about how I look now versus how I used to look back then. Feeling less of a woman and that too a beautiful one. However, while reading an article on body shapes I came across this quotation and realised nothing has changed in me. These lingerie advertisements are just playing with our mind. We don’t need to fit into a specific shape and size to look beautiful. Worldwide this concept is being accepted and India being one of the emerging markets of consumer goods should too. India, being a melting pot of different cultures since historic times, is the home to a variety of people in terms of looks, shape, size and many more such aspects. Standing in the 21st century I personally feel that India should be much more modern in its thinking and our entertainment and consumer industry should reflect exactly that.
Senior lecturer at Sai Vikash Junior College, Guwahati
Ananya Das is an ardent writer. A lecturer of Botany by the day and a reader by night, books are her lifeline. A headstrong person by nature, she believes in equality for women and loathes discussing her opinions in the third person. She is out-and-out in her thought journey and plays in the front foot, come what may. This has been a practice for her through her entire professional and personal journey, which she has blissfully spread among her students at every step. Here’s what she has to say.
Women in India and other countries are constantly kept under the peer pressure to abide by societal parameters. Be it their colour, their size, their etiquettes, or the choices they make. Everything is standardised as if it’s not a woman but a dessert in the making. The models wearing lingerie published in the magazine pages are live examples of this. They make the women, whether a teenager or someone reaching their mid-40s feel the pressure to remain slim in order to look appealing. It necessitates the need for long legs, flawless skin, perfect hair, and an impossible body that actually doesn’t exist.
As a result many women take up unhealthy ways chasing such unnecessary goals. Some succumb to depression on being constantly body-shamed, while others give up on their productive hours sitting in the make-up chair or going through painful surgeries. However, the worst part is, even men are taught to view women as objects. It’s high time that real women should dominate the lingerie promotion scene. Just like the different varieties, sizes and colours of the lingerie, brands should cut away from clichés and embark on reality. After all being beautiful is all about being healthy and confident.
RIMA GUHA THAKURTA
Model turned actor
An extremely confident woman by nature, Ruma has won many hearts through her amazing performance in films like Devi, Wish to be Sunny Leone, and more. Her dusky complexion, curly hair, and her go-getter spirit make her the industry’s beloved. Still working towards making her presence felt and trying to firm her foothold within the industry, she has never shied away from opening her heart out to the right and the wrong. Here’s what she has to say.
“Bikini looks good only on thin people” –this idea is baseless, but sadly the lingerie brands are promoting this idea through their ads and other promotional materials. They should celebrate body positivity and not just the skinny thin models. In India, we don’t see such ads where plus-size women flaunt bikini or lingerie for that matter. It is high time that we make ads for every kind of body. To wear a bikini one has to have lots of confidence and love for themselves; being skinny or thin cannot be a parameter for this. I am curvy and I love my body. Lingerie brands need to understand that it’s just not about the women’s body, but it is also about who they are. I would wait to see an India that embraces every body type with equal prowess.