Swara Bhasker was body-shamed by a news outlet; here’s why that’s really messed up

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Actor recently addressed an article from a prominent newspaper

Actor Swara Bhasker recently addressed an article from a prominent Hindi newspaper that body-shamed her and suggested her weight gain was the reason she wasn’t getting film roles. Sharing a screenshot of the article’s tweet on her Instagram Stories, Swara criticised the publication.

She penned, “For those who cannot read the Devanagari script, this is a leading Hindi newspaper handle that thinks it is newsworthy that a recent mom, who birthed a child a few months ago, put on weight! Can someone please explain the physiology of childbirth to the geniuses…” The original tweet claimed that due to her weight gain, Swara is not getting work.

For those not in the know, Swara married politician Fahad Ahmed in January last year, and welcomed their baby girl, Raabiyaa, on September 23, 2023. The article targeting the star’s post-pregnancy weight gain and linking it to her professional opportunities raises several significant issues that reflect broader societal problems.

First and foremost, the alleged piece of “news” engages in the unabashed body shaming of a public figure whose body has just gone through a traumatic process. Childbirth may be termed a miracle, but the toll it takes on a new mom physically and mentally is unmatched.

Body shaming in and of itself is a harmful practice that undermines an individual’s self-esteem and perpetuates unrealistic beauty standards. For a new mother, such comments are particularly cruel and unjust. Postpartum weight gain is a natural and healthy part of the recovery process after childbirth. Criticising a woman for her body changes after giving birth not only shows a lack of understanding of basic human physiology but also perpetuates harmful stereotypes about women’s bodies needing to conform to specific standards at all times.

Let’s not steal focus from the fact that the media’s focus on Swara’s weight rather than her professional achievements or personal experiences reflects a deep-seated misogyny that prioritizes women’s appearances over their talents and contributions. This narrative reduces an accomplished actor and new mother to her physical attributes, disregarding her abilities, milestones, and the significant life event she has just experienced. It reinforces the toxic belief that a woman’s worth is primarily determined by her looks – a notion that has long plagued various industries, particularly entertainment.

Articles like these can also have a detrimental impact on the mental health of new mothers and women in general. The transition to motherhood is challenging, and new mothers often face immense pressure to “bounce back” to their pre-pregnancy bodies.

Furthermore, linking Swara’s weight to her professional opportunities is not only unfounded but also highlights a discriminatory practice within the entertainment industry. The suggestion that a female star’s employability is contingent on her physical appearance rather than her talent is deeply problematic. It perpetuates a toxic culture where actresses are judged more harshly and held to unattainable standards, which can limit their career opportunities and hinder their professional growth.

Journalism carries the responsibility of informing and shaping public discourse. Sensationalising a new mother’s weight gain fails this responsibility and instead promotes harmful stereotypes and body image issues. Thus, it does not come as a surprise that there is a pressing need for more responsible and respectful journalism that uplifts rather than undermines individuals, particularly women, during vulnerable times such as the postpartum period.

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