A recent article published by the far right digital news website Parhlo titled CHUBBY PAKISTANI GIRL SHARES STORY OF HOW HER HUSBAND FOUGHT FOR THEIR MARRIAGE, goes on to show how fat-shaming is deeply ingrained in our society; it also shows that journalism really is loosing all credibility in Pakistan.
The story of a Pakistani couple who had to overcome the initial unacceptability from the groom’s parents, was taken from a private Facebook group and narrated in such a way that it took away from the body positivity movement in Pakistan. The report unfortunately ended up focusing more on the woman’s physicality.
Body positivity is hard to maintain in a society like Pakistan, where young boys, girls and even adults are constantly praised for their weight loss and shamed for their weight gain. Many youngsters find it difficult to embrace their bodies due to the very prevalent criticism and call out culture when it comes to body weight.
Keeping in mind the connotation of the word ‘Chubby’ which is used as a derogatory slang in social circles, the choice of title for this story can be dubbed as highly insensitive.
Mentioning a person’s weight changes the entire narrative of the article; it no longer reports a love story that succeeded despite all odds, but rather, it further stigmatises being plus size. The piece also implies that getting married as a plus size woman is so rare that it’s news worthy.
Parhlo goes on to write in the article, “Generally, in Pakistan, chubby girls are looked down upon in society, with women being their biggest enemies. With a plethora of taunts, they would be targeted and told that they wouldn’t get married to a good guy. However, Tuba’s story breaks all those stereotypes!”
While the news platform applauds Tuba for breaking stereotypes, they’re reinforcing stereotypes themselves: it’s 2020, let’s stop pitting women against each other.
There is a particular line in the original post which states, “In return, I never asked him for anything. No expensive gifts, nothing. He would do so much for me that I generally didn’t want anything else other than his love,” is problematic on so many levels. While we’re happy Tuba married the man she loves, it’s really sad to see that she feels like she can’t ask him for anything else because he’s already done enough by just marrying her.
There’s another part of the original post in which Tuba says, “I don’t find myself beautiful, I think I’m very fat. And our society does not accept fat girls, especially in the context of marriage for their sons.” This is heartbreaking to read because why do women who are not of “acceptable size” have to feel insecure about themselves and their bodies?
We hope that as a society we progress enough that plus size women don’t feel ostracised – and new agencies don’t capitalise on it.