The latest victim of body shaming is a 20-year-old Priyanka Paul, an illustrator, poet and artist who shot to fame with her depiction of the Indian goddess as women who smash patriarchy in her series ‘Goddesses’ inspired by Harnidh Kaur’s poem Pantheon.
For someone creating artwork depicting women in colourful avatars, shattering the societal norms from a very young age, has in recent times, emerged as a strong voice against the patriarchy and in support of LGBTQ.
While she continued with her zeal and self-love by posting a picture in bikini on Twitter, she was body shamed for just being herself. “Honestly this is just so funny that a picture of me, being myself on a vacation is so painful to so many people that they would come out in hoards to troll me. It is also shocking to see that so many women on the Internet have to deal with something like this every day,” rues Priyanka. With such incidents happening all the time, the artist has become pretty much used to them and doesn’t let it bother her.
Donning a mango coloured swimsuit in Bali, Priyanka captioned the picture, “Mango dolly hu me??????// Desi lemonade beyonce vibes (sic)”. Twitter user Raghav was among the first to shame her asking her to join a gym. “Err I’m all for bikini and inner beauty stuff but you know, before you post this stuff perhaps you should hit the gym first like for a year or so. I'm sure you are going to kill it, then.(sic),” replied Raghav.
What Paul finds funny here is how most of the users body shamming her on Twitter are the ones with ‘Chowkidar’ in their username. “It is so connected to a political ideology that makes it okay to hate women or the minorities on the Internet. Even something as non-offensive as me putting a picture of myself is bothering people so much is really very funny. And these people are relentless. All trolls are ugly sad boring people and they have nothing better to do with their lives,” she says.
At a time when awareness and endless discussions are held across the world against putting women into certain societal norms, the illustrator further shared her bikini pictures on Instagram to highlight how people continue to think.
“I am used to it (shamming) in the sense that I don’t let it affect me but I also recognise that it is wrong and that I should object to it. No one has the right to talk to anybody like that. And it is so sad that the social media gives the platform to hatred like this, which is completely baseless. You are not getting any discussion out of my body, it is just pure hatred,” she stresses.
With an army of supporters to back her up, Priyanka feels amazing to have a great support system. “I have a lot of great people who back me up and are writing in the comments against these trolls, it means so much. It is so nice when someone else is standing up for you,” she smiles.
While her young age does bring in unwanted concern and opinions, Priyanka believes one is never too young to be doing something. “I hear that a lot. In comments, people say ‘oh, she is just 20 and doesn’t know what she is talking about’. But that is utter nonsense. It is not that people my age don’t know about sex. I have done my research and have learnt about things that I am talking about. They are from my personal experience, nothing that I do is coming from someone else,” she asserts.
In the longer run, Paul informs that the most important thing is to have a very strong idea of self.
“It is good to remind yourself that this is not what defines you and your beauty is your beauty. No one else has any claim over it. Strongly believing in yourself and not letting any of this matter you, are very important. The Internet is a cruel place to be and it is important to know that what people on the Internet think doesn’t influence who you are,” she concludes.