aishwarya_rai_02Even if you’re not a Bollywood fanatic, chances are you’ve heard of Aishwariya Rai. She’s a former Miss World title holder, she’s been cited as “the most beautiful woman in the world,” and she’s appeared in a number of Bollywood blockbusters.  Aishwariya gained even more celebrity when she married into the Bachchan family.  Her father in-law, Amitabh Bachchan, is probably the most famous Bollywood actor…ever. 

Her newest role is being a mother to a six month old baby girl.  And here’s where the controversy (or so called controversy) comes into play.  The Indian media has been passing a lot of judgment her way because – gasp – she’s in no rush to lose the baby weight!   Many claim she’s letting herself go, and that this is just not acceptable.  She’s an idol in the eyes of young girls, and she needs to set the right example.  Umm, what!?

Based on some of the comments that have been made, you would think she committed treason or something.  People don’t understand how she’s not in top shape after six months of giving birth.  Supposedly, she owes it to the people of the world to lose all of her pregnancy weight in record time.

Honestly, I was surprised to read that she didn’t hire a personal trainer right away.  It seems that celebrity moms (from all parts of the world) are in a rush to lose the baby weight plus some and are able to do so easily.  It’s hard to believe that someone with the means to do so chooses to take her time with the process. 

After thinking about this for a few days, I’m actually happy that she’s doing what makes her and her body happy, as she’s the only one who knows what it needs.  If it doesn’t bother her, why is it making so many people angry?

Maybe it’s because of cultural norms, maybe it’s because she chooses not to do something even though she can, or maybe it’s because people aren’t ready to accept that Ms. Rai has gained some weight.  In any case, I think these people are sick.


The sad part is that all women, celebrity or not, go through this.  Personally, I’ve seen close friends and family members work their asses off to lose pregnancy weight because that is now the norm.  One could even call it a competition.  The women I know literally felt pressured to shrink back to their previous sizes as quickly as possible.  I’ve never been pregnant, so I honestly don’t know what it’s like to try to lose that kind of weight, but I imagine it’s hard…really really hard. 

It’s just sad to me that on top of all the internal pressure new mothers face, people pass judgment when the weight doesn’t come off that easily, new mothers feel like ugly whales when the scale doesn’t budge, and society still defines beauty by what’s on the outside.  Sad smile

Something I try to remind myself on a daily basis (because sometimes I fall prey to thinking thin) is that…

“Beauty is not in the face (or the body); beauty is a light in the heart.” – Khalil Gibran

Thoughts on the Aishwariya “controversy?”  Do you think the [global] cultural norm is for woman to be as thin as possible?

By Parita

14 thoughts on “Aishwariya Rai’s Weight Gain “Controversy””
  1. I didn’t know her name, but I definitely recognize her! She is gorgeous! That is awful! I think most celebrities do it because they want to be able go back to work after their “maternity leave.” But in her case maybe for the first time in her life she’s comfortable with herself and not just goggled over her beauty and just wants to be. 6 months is not even that long!! Her baby is probably her biggest focus and when she’s ready to go back to work, she’ll refocus on her body.
    Is weight a big thing in India? Polish people tend to be naturally very small and skinny, so any signs of weight are a huge deal in Poland, especially when it’s celebrities. Going to Poland last year was my first time going and actually seeing people that were overweight and it’s a become a huge thing in the media, and blaming the popularity of American fast food chains! Is there anything like that in India that makes this a bigger deal than here?

    1. Personally, I think weight is a touchy topic in the Indian community. I actually had a couple of conversations with my Indian friends after writing this post, and we talked about how outward beauty (in all ways) is desired by everyone. It’s funny though because you wouldn’t really think that after going to India or meeting Indians here in the states…it’s an unspoken thing I guess.

  2. Parita! you just spoke my mind because this issue has been bothering me too because can’t they just leave her alone! I am sure she is aware that, no body knows b better than her that she has gained all the weight- its her body and people should give her some respect and privacy. She has all the money and means in this world to lose weight, gain weight or do whatever her heart desires,. This crazyness about being size 0 is insane and makes other people who are genuinely trying to lose weight feel shameful because should not we all be feeling healthy- emotionally, mentally, socially and not just physically on the outside.

    1. I think your last sentence nicely sums up how I feel about all of this. When the media does what it’s doing to Aishwariya, it affects everyone. I think we should always try to aim for a healthy lifestyle, but the obsession with size has to go!

  3. thank you for writing this post. there is so much pressure for all women nowadays to be in top shape and ms. rai has decided that losing the baby weight isn’t a priority right now and that needs to be respected as a healthy decision, both physically and mentally, as she embarks on the journey of motherhood. her decision sheds new light on beauty, as your quote reminds us, and how we define it in this image obsessed society we live in.

  4. I’d say it was amazing to me, but it’s not. Nothing about the media’s take on the physical body amazes me anymore. This takes the cake though – she just had a baby – it’s like people forget that the body actually needs that weight to nurture the child.

    1. I am seriously looking forward to the day where people love, accept, and encourage each other to be the best they can be. I think I may have to wait a long time!

  5. First off, Aishwariya is gorgeous. And she’d gorgeous at any weight. And good for her! I’m glad she doesn’t feel pressured to look a certain way. I can’t imagine living in the spotlight like she does and I think she handles it beautifully.

    It’s not easy to meet others’ standards. I speak from experience, living in LA!

  6. Excellent article. So I see this situation both ways… i don’t think we can compare normal people to a celebrity.. motherhood is tough regardless, but celebrities have the time and luxury of money that most regular people don’t have. I can see why the media has attacked her… she really does represent India, when most non-Indian people think of India, Ash Rai is one of the people that comes to mind. So I can see why they are attacking her since she is a symbol of the country.. and how she portrays herself reflects the country’s image in some weird way. I also believe the media makes a ton of money by just writing crap about her.
    On the other hand.. I do think someone who is that stunning would be a little vain, and I have more respect for her for not having a care in the world to lose the weight. Like you, I thought she would have hired a personal trainer immediately, but I do believe she is probably just enjoying life being a mother since it came to her at 38, her priorities are probably very different from say a 30 year old.
    Not sure if you saw her pictures at Cannes… although overweight, this woman looked GORGEOUS!

    1. Great points! I wholeheartedly agree with you. I guess what gets to me the most is the name calling. It’s just so unnecessary. Being a new mother is a beautiful thing, and who cares if someone doesn’t want to lose the weight right away. And you’re right, she’s gorgeous at any size!

  7. Good for her not to be influenced by the media frenzy and ‘starlight’ which insist you have to be slim to be beautiful. That said, obesity is a much bigger problem and, despite eating disorders, a much bigger killer. If she is taking her time to get back in to a healthy shape then that is great. If she is going to end up unhealthily obese (I don’t know if she is or not – I honestly DIDN’T know who she is!) then too much individualism is definitely a bad thing. Who cares if she never gets back to her pre-motherhood shape – she is undoubtedly gorgeous whatever size. But let’s hope she doesn’t embrace the “eat as much as you like” mentality of much of the world’s richest people (ie anyone from the West…).

  8. Okay I’m so glad you brought this up. I have seen this all over my Indian friends’ facebook feeds. It’s ridiculous. As long as she is doing whatever she needs to do to keep herself and the baby healthy, then who really cares about the rest. It’s really sad when society puts more “weight” on whether she is going to lose weight as opposed to being happy that she (1) had a fabulous (crazy celebrity – move over Suri & Shiloh) baby and (2) she is taking care of the baby. As long as she is happy and the baby is happy and healthy, the rest is just ridiculous.

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