Bani J Talks About Beauty Standards And How Society Still Doesn’t Accept Muscular Woman. We Have A Long Way To Go.
As far as ideal beauty standards go, muscles are meant for men. Women are supposed to have soft, delicate features. Okay, fine, maybe if they absolutely have to, in case they are athletes or wrestlers or something. But otherwise, even then, if you ladies could please maintain those dainty feminine physique, that would be great. If the these statements anger you, then know that they aren’t mine, but the society’s general views. And as VJ and Four More Shots Please! actor Bani J will tell you, our society is lagging way behind in its acceptance of muscular women.
View this post on Instagram
In a recent interview with the Free Press Journal, Bani spoke about being a fitness icon to many, how fitness has always been in her genes, thanks to her mother, and the judgement she gets for her muscular physique.
Speaking about being a fitness inspiration, Bani J says that for a while now, she has been thinking, behaving and living a lifestyle that helps her get closer to her fitness goals. And that seems to have resonated with her followers on social media, and inspired many to follow her footsteps and head to the gym. And Bani loves that she can be this icon for fitness seekers.
“It actually feels good. Even though it wasn’t a straight up goal of mine to be a fitness icon, I train and treat myself as an athlete, therefore it’s cool that people see the dedication.”
View this post on Instagram
However, her popularity on social media and her OTT acting stint also bring with it some negativity. And a lot of it is focused particularly on how she looks, which is sad because not only does Bani J have to lift weights, she also has to lift the weight of stereotypes about women and conventional looks and then smash them. And that’s going to take a lot of work, thanks to the media constantly pushing forth ridiculous expectations of women’s bodies.
Says Bani, “There is definitely a lot of work that needs to be done in the area of acceptance of muscular women. Especially when it comes to women who are physically fit or look different from what mainstream media is trying to portray beautiful women as. Media showcases a general blanket categorisation of women and their beauty. If they don’t fall under this blanket, then they are not beautiful. So, I feel this is a limiting factor that is put upon especially women. We already have enough trouble in the world and things to deal with, expectations to live up to.”
Also Read: Jennifer Lopez, Taapsee Pannu Are Flaunting Their Toned, Muscular Physiques And We’re Here For It
As a result of these ‘ideal beauty standards’, despite being an inspiration for many, Bani J has had to deal with negative comments. She deals with them in a way that best suits her.
“I have become way more isolated since 2019 in terms of the kind of people I’m meeting and all of these people are not generally outspoken when they meet me straight up. We have keyboard voices (read people) on the internet (read society), which are always voicing opinions and have no idea about the topic. Therefore, it doesn’t really count but if somebody that I know passes a comment, I am aware that they are coming from a place of ignorance or they just don’t understand what fitness is about or are not used to seeing women who are physically fit, who lift. Though not knowing any better, I can’t really say it’s changed,” she says.
However, it is not all negative. The Internet taketh away, but it also giveth support and positivity. With her fitness content, Bani J has managed to gather around her a community of fitness enthusiasts who are positive and love her content. And that keeps her going!
“I feel my videos have helped them have some sort of exposure in getting used to seeing women in fitness and sports and treating them as athletes.”
I think Bani J puts up some pretty amazing content, and is one of the few Indian women who began this trend of flaunting their muscular physiques, giving way to more women owning up their bodies. In the West, we’ve got celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, who has been admired for the way her body looks at 51! Last year, actor Taapsee Pannu had posted a picture of her training for Rashmi Rocket, in which she plays an athlete, and her toned physique was the talk of the town. Many would say that maybe it makes sense for women to bulk up for a role or if they are athletes. But why should there be any exceptions or caveats? Do men have a copyright on muscles? I don’t think so.
Women’s fitness has often been ignored, and only given importance to when it is about obesity, sports or looking good. It is great to see that more and more women are breaking the ‘weaker sex’ stereotype and flaunting their muscles. And role models like Bani J are leading that charge for muscular women everywhere!