Jakarta. Even before the advent of social media, body shaming was something that unfortunately most of us – especially women – have to deal with on a daily basis. Now in the Instagram age, we are still constantly exposed to negative messages about our bodies.
In fashion magazine articles and comments section on your social media of choice, body shaming is all prevalent, boring itself into our thoughts and slowly crippling our self-esteem.
After coming across a negative comment about her body on her husband’s Instagram account, wife of comic and filmmaker Ernest Prakasa and mother of two young children, Meira Anastasia, decided to write a book about her own journey of self-acceptance.
In "Imperfect: A Journey to Self-Acceptance," Meira – who also co-wrote the scripts for Ernest's "Susah Sinyal" (2017) and "Milly & Mamet" (due for release later this year) – shares her struggles in overcoming body shaming and accepting her physical "flaws."
The book – delivered with warm humor – incorporates her own experiences as Meira gently guides her readers through a step-by-step process of overcoming oppressive body-shaming practices in society.
"Fighting body shaming is a life-long journey, the hurt and pain take a long time to heal. Writing this book opens up many wounds but I feel like I have to share my experiences so other women who have been body-shamed can stop hiding," Meira said.
She said self-love is key to fight the effects of constant body shaming.
"When we were kids, our parents would tell us we were beautiful and smart. We should never lose this fundamental love for ourselves as we grow up," Meira said.
But she said constant exposure to "ideal beauty" has eroded our self-confidence and self-love.
"We see covers of beauty magazines, slick ads for beauty products, everyday. We begin to compare ourselves to these ideal faces and bodies that society has deemed most desirable," Meira said.
Meira pointed out that sometimes the worst kind of body shaming comes not from strangers on social media, but from friends or families close to us.
Being the wife of a celebrity can make things worse. As she wrote in her book, some people expect that the wife of a celebrity should be skinny, tall and light-skinned.
"I have short hair, dark skin and sometimes I don't even put on any makeup. It makes it even harder to make peace with myself. I used to feel so unaccepted, and no one deserves to feel that way," Meira said.
Meira said she had to seek help from a therapist to help her control her emotions.
"I won’t lie. Seeking help was the scariest and most embarrassing experience for me, but it’s also the best way to get rid of the pain," she said.
Taking care of two small children can take a huge physical toll on anyone, especially if you do it without any help from other family members or an au pair, just as Meira does.
As a cop out from her stress, Meira used to binge eat junk food like chips, chocolates, crackers and burgers, and drink gallons of soda every day.
"I sought comfort in food. I would binge eat everything I wanted and I would not stop because it felt so good," Meira said.
Eventually though, even junk food didn't help and Meira turned to exercising at home.
"My husband told me I needed to take better care of myself. I got pretty angry at him at first, but then I realized I had to do it, for my own good," Meira said.
She read fitness tips and watched endless workout tutorials on YouTube and started developing an exercise regime for herself.
In her book, Meira shares workout and healthy eating tips – from making sure the food you eat is nutritious to managing your calorie intakes.
The workout tips are simple and easy to follow, with pictures to make it even easier for readers to digest.
"I'm not a fitness expert but working out makes me feel amazing. There’s nothing wrong with sharing that to my readers, is there?" Meira said.