Everyone in her school called her ‘super speedy’. Five years in a row, she had won gold medals. She was the fastest of them all, ran like a speeding bullet ! She LOVED running ! It felt like freedom, like flying !

She was now in standard eight. The inter-school racing competitions were scheduled for January. She had already begun her morning practices.

Then it happened.

That year, her body was transitioning into a woman’s and she had put on some weight. Before she knew it, five months in, her mother had to ask her to start wearing a brasier.

Despite the physical changes she still felt like the same person inside who loved running. She religiously maintained her morning practices.

One such morning, on those tracks, her world changed forever. 

She was on her third round when she noticed a group of older boys sitting on the side lawn smiling, she just tied her hair up and kept running. She was on her seventh round when one of the boys gestured something with his hands while the gang cracked up in smirks and laughter.

What was he saying?’ she thought to herself.

The moment she realised her face froze. She noticed they were gesturing towards her breasts and how they moved when she ran. Her face turned red. She wanted to disappear. She ran & locked herself  up in the washroom.

There standing in front of the mirror she looked at herself in shame. She felt dirty and disgusting. She punched her chest multiple times and cried in anguish.

Something woke up inside her.

She came into an awareness that running on track in public would never be the same carefree experience ever again. The thirteen year old who walked out of the washroom that day couldn’t find the courage of returning back to the tracks.

That year, the boy who used to end up in second position for the past five years, finally came won. And people couldn’t stop talking about the hard work & discipline he put behind beating ‘super speedy – their best racer on the racing track’.

Read the Next Story Here https://blog.swateemiittal.com/the-white-ironed…equality-at-work/

What seems insignificant, often lays the foundation of lifelong shame & trauma, of discomfort with one’s own body.

Growing up whenever I used to see a park, I would see kids of all ages and genders playing. But Gradually as I grew up, I noticed girls silently disappearing from the fields outside. You could see boys of all ages playing football, cricket, tennis and basketball, but no girls.

So where did the girls go ? Why did they vanish ?

We might brush this story aside as merely a teenage girl’s struggles with body image during the transition from adolescence into teenage. But if you look deeper, it is a story of a teenage girl’s body shaming with no consequences for the perpetrators.

It is understandable in the story, that the boys on the ground were inquisitive, excited and probably attracted towards the girl on the race track. However, what I fail to comprehend is, where do they learn that it is okay to make obscene gestures at a young woman ?

We, as a society not only allow but nurture ‘bullies‘ by brushing such incidents off under the sick narrative of ‘boys will be boys’. We would expect the girl to ‘start behaving like a woman‘ and to easily ‘give up‘ running. And if she still chooses to come back, well then she will be “choosing” to face such scarring incidents for as long as she is on the race track.

So what does she do ?
She leaves the Race Track.
And we as a society collectively call it her ‘Choice’.
How many other areas of life do you think they are forced to make this ‘Choice’ ?
These Choices that run their lives.

And just like that, one day you look at the Race Track and see a swarm of boys. Without stopping to wonder where did the girls go ?

We rarely speak about The Transition. Because, patriarchy has conditioned us to associate guilt with the natural process of growing up, of transitioning into a woman. Most teenage girls faced body shaming specially during their transition.

There we are, as kids roaming around, playing in the fields without a care in the world. And suddenly just like that, something happens with our body. This new thing not only transforms the way we look and feel about ourselves, but (unfortunately) also hands the power to the society to dictate how are we are supposed to live our lives, forever.


From the way we are allowed to walk in public to the way we dress. We are automatically expected to terminate a list of activities from our lives almost overnight and embrace a whole new persona that aligns with the gender narrative imposed upon us, even if it does not resonate with us inside.

Till when will we allow this to happen to our sisters, daughters and ourselves ?