Feminism India

Atlas Should Have Shrugged

I decided that I had just about had enough. I glanced over at the other fingers; bent and worn with the immense weight and wondered when our punishment would finally end. For centuries, we had known nothing but the crushing weight of the sky and now it was high time things changed. We were aeons away from the times when we held goblets of spirit and listened to snippets of idle chatter among the gods and goddesses.

Among the conversations one night, I overheard Hera lamenting about her recent gain in weight to one of the nymphs. I found this extremely strange since I had always envisioned goddesses as being above these trivialities. But as I listened further, I was shocked when she recounted how Zeus had likened her to a pregnant cow and threatened to leave her if she did not find a way to get back her waiflike figure. She began to sob and I remained curled around the narrow stem of the goblet, listening.

Before Atlas was confined to this cruel punishment, we often looked into the world of humans through misty portals. We saw them making merry, grieving, raising children and growing old together. Yet, I saw that even mortal women shed tears in great measure for every ounce of fat that they gained. They anxiously leafed through volumes with glossy paper that were full of portraits of women whose bodies were almost as thin as me. These readings would then cause them to stare in mirrors for hours on end, finding non existent flaws; critically examining each feature.

I often wondered how Gaia could bear the constant cacophony of unhappy women who went through extreme lengths including medical procedures to change themselves. Sometimes I saw husbands and lovers like Zeus perpetuating this stifling practice of making women believe that they had to have hour glass figures in order to be considered beautiful. Other times it was the peculiar forms of entertainment which portrayed women in bizarre ways.

I heard labels such as “too skinny”, “too curvy” being flung around as often as the weather changed. It made me wonder how difficult it must be to live as a woman; constantly trying to meet society’s beauty standards and always missing the mark. As I pondered upon this, I suddenly thought back to Hera and wished she had taken a stand right then. Perhaps that would save humanity and make them realise that measuring tapes and weighing scales could never truly measure beauty.

Rhea Tewary

Mumbai |

When I introspect, I see myself as a self-aware person with an annoyingly steady moral compass juxtaposed with hints of brutal realism. I express myself best through writing and am an avid reader.