E or a girl, a wedding dress is also a dream dress. Just the way a famous designer once described it as an “embodiment of a dream come true”. However, for many Indian brides, finalising on the wedding trousseau can also be a nightmare. The recent body shaming incident by the staff at celebrated fashion designer Tarun Tahiliani’s store only reinforces this fact.
For the unversed, Instagram influencer Dr Tanaya Narendra put out a post on social media calling out the brand for body-shaming her, while she was at their store for her wedding shopping. The influencer said that it had been her dream from the age of 12 to be a Tahiliani bride. Over decades, the fashion industry and the media have knowingly or unwittingly perpetuated a message: fat is undesirable, by using size zero, tall, fair, models for their creations. Their air-brushed hair, smoothened skin, trimmed waists have put the real ones in the real world at a disadvantage.
In India, it is disturbingly normal to body-shame brides. Following this incident, many brides came out on social media narrating their stories of being shamed. Designers asking brides if they wanted the outfits stitched a few inches smaller (so that they can diet and lose a few kilos ahead of the big day), relatives sending slimming teas, to designers charging extra for pleats for bigger sized girls…the horror goes on.
CEO of Hakuna Matata Events in Chennai, Mohan Babu, said they have had to quell many unpleasant situations in the course of organising weddings, “We try our best to leave the bride alone while she gets ready for her big day. Relatives tend to throw all kinds of comments which can be stressful to the bride. We have witnessed unsavoury comments on body and even moral policing. In an incident, a bride had to switch over to a different outfit because some felt the outfit did not suit her height and skin tone. We even had a make-up artist comment that the bride was way too tall and ‘did not have a face’, she was never made part of our team again.”
It seems patriarchy too plays a role, There was a bride who was made to lose her heels for the reception, as guests felt it would make the groom look equal to her height, the girl struggled with her dress the entire evening. Another one was asked to tone down her make-up, as it would take the attention from the groom who was not equally ‘fair’, Babu said.