In recent years, there have been many instances of women openly and defiantly breaking down the constricting beauty standards placed on them. From fat-shaming to skinny-shaming and everything in between, if you're a woman, you're damned if you do, damned if you don't.
Because society holds such a narrow view of how women "should" look (and behave), anyone outside that limited ideal becomes the target of many an unsolicited opinion. Indian actress and MTV presenter Gurbani Judge, or VJ Bani, knows that all too well. As an avid weightlifter, Bani has muscles that look like they've been sculpted by the gods themselves.
But because we still live in a society that pushes back on women's ambitions and desires, Bani is frequently subjected to quips about her being on steroids and comments that she is too muscular "for a woman."
Recently, Bani posted full-bodied photos on Instagram showing off her strapping muscles, and in the caption called out all the criticisms that she's heard about her body.
"'Lifting weights will make you look manly.' 'You're not a girly girl if you lift weights.' 'I don't lift weights because I just want to 'tone up'.' 'Girls should only do cardio, lifting is for guys.' 'So what steroids are you on.' 'That's way too much muscle... For a woman,'" she wrote in the caption. "I've heard it all. And not once because I actually cared enough to ask, 'hey, what do *you* think of *my* body?'" she wrote.
"I don't go around telling people they should eat healthier or lift or try to lose weight," Bani wrote, "you do you. I'll do me."
Bani added that her decision to weightlift has nothing to do with whether it would be attractive to someone else. "I never entered the gym because of what people said I 'should/ ought to/ must' look like,'" she wrote. "I love me so much and that's all that matters, I am so happy (blame all the endorphins) doing what I do day in and out that all else is tuned out."
Think (Body) Positive is an A Plus original series featuring body positive advocates and thought leaders. Their goal? Encouraging you to love the skin you're in.