Published: 26th February 2018
Nagpur girl Anjali Mishra redefines societal notions of 'fat' with loads of love
The trolls get to her at times, but Anjali Mishra knows that breaking down isn't something she'll allow herself to do. She puts on her funny lens and tackles the issue with love and laughs instead
If I say the word ‘fat’, the first thing that might come to mind is probably the overweight, lonely kid whose life seems to revolve around dodging all the stereotypical jokes and going home to ponder over why life sucks. Anjali Mishra has a different idea. This 20-year-old’s doodles, quirky posts and self-inspired art are dropping jaws and breaking through blurred lines to prove that ‘fat’ doesn't necessarily mean shame.
Known to most, trolls have a way with words — shallow, blunt bullets aimed at the soul. To fight back, Anjali, a student of Indraprastha University, Delhi, and raised in Nagpur, she has taken these trolls and turned them into words laced with humour, satire and puns. She might not be a known face, but with small steps she's using social media to tell Gen Y that shame is a construct and that being ‘fat’ doesn't make you less cool.
No blow: Anjali has come to terms with the fact that what she does will always be looked at with a double lens
Excerpts from a conversation with this bold and beautiful woman:
Your posts exude confidence and self-love. Do you think empathy and awareness about the issue, especially to people who are overweight or fat helps?
I really believe it does! Almost every overweight person that one comes across has been subjected to ridicule at some point in their life. Body shaming of any kind is a vile thing to do but is more often faced by people on the healthier side of the spectrum. Awareness regarding the same not only helps counter the ridicule but also lets people know that a physical trait is not worth such hatred. Awareness and empathy do not mean encouraging an unhealthy lifestyle, which is what body shamers use as an argument to justify their stance. Awareness and empathy lie in the mere fact that being fat is not a sin. Also, from what I have seen, fat people have a lot of hatred in themselves after having been conditioned that way. Awareness helps in making them realise that it is okay and that they should love themselves for it is self-love that motivates one to do something for themselves, not self-loathe.
What are most of your ideas themed around? Do you receive backlash and negativity for them?
Since most of my stuff is themed around body positivity, many people think I sugarcoat things for myself because I am fat and I cannot come to terms with how that is a 'bad' thing. My posts have received a lot of backlash and hatred and I have even been bullied and threatened on numerous occasions. All because certain people cannot wrap their minds around the fact that a mere adjective does not describe a person as a whole. Like I mentioned previously, many people vent their hatred out under the garb of their 'concern'. Initially, such backlash used to affect me a lot, but I realised that these are simply their insecurities reflecting through the hatred. Now, I don’t pay heed to negative comments and I try reasoning out with them as much as I can. And, if I’m lucky, a few of them end up understanding!
Badge of honour: Anjali's work and doodles are famed among her peers and a friend converted a photograph of hers into a badge
There are many who push the limits of beauty and the ‘ideal’ body type. Are you fighting against that?
Ah yes. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with being the 'ideal' body type, emphasising on the same and putting forth the idea that only this is 'beautiful' puts immense pressure on girls of all ages, especially pre-teens. In order to fit society's concept of 'attractive', girls start conditioning themselves to stuff as ridiculous as rigorous dieting at a young age and that is really unhealthy. While advocating that everyone is beautiful regardless of their body type, I also try reaching out to people ridden with insecurities, convincing them that they don’t have to give in to societal pressure. What matters at the end is how content they are with their lives and how comfortable they feel in their body.
Do people come out with positive feedback, even testimonies?
They do! That is the best part. I have had friends and even random strangers commenting and messaging me. They share their story and how some particular post moved them and inspired them. Stuff like that ends up making my day too!
Work of heart: Most of her posts are aimed at sensitising and creating aware, positivity and love among her many followers
Are people surprised when they meet you and you turn out to be this fantastically pun-ny girl, who has broken the stereotype of what fat or overweight people should be like?
I have come a long way from being that timid insecure girl who wouldn’t dare post full-length pictures on social media. Many people are indeed surprised by how outgoing I can be, but I am glad for I have come across friendly and positive people who just love me for who I am!