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#BodyShamingArchetypes by Shivranjana Rathore

"#BodyShamingArchetypes is an illustration project where I am drawing and sharing one archetype of the human form used to bully, belittle, mock, shame in the name of not matching a certain ideal based on metrics defined by oppression, in the name of race, caste, class, gender, colour, ability and so on. To follow the daily updates on it, you can go here.

The project first began from my desire to draw a body everyday representing archetypes from personal observations and experiences. However, it has also been open for people to share archetypes from their experiences or experiences of the bodies that they may have witnessed for me to incorporate more archetypes that we all live with.

Everyone has a story to tell on how something felt unreal, impossible within their purview but something allowed them to finally discover it and go for it. This knack of killing individual expression, this sense of emotional freedom to be, is something that lies squarely at the base of #BodyShamingArchetypes. Every day, through various archetypes such as Potbelly Padma or Bottom Heavy, has been a trigger for conversations with others, and a reaffirmation of the need to decondition ourselves every single day.

Why the focus on the Body with #BodyShamingArchetypes?

If one is to go by trauma literature, while healing from it takes a longer emotional route, the memories of trauma live within the body until released. We live in dynamic and difficult times when the world seems to be reckoning with deeply oppressive structures. This oppression, be it in the name of gender, race, caste, class, colour or ability, through overt or covert means ends up living within our bodies.

While these labels initially may come about as the brain’s automatic need to sort things into categories, but when used in tandem with the various forms of oppressive structures they become ways of effectively controlling. Any form of violence that exists within the oppressive structures we inhabit will always somewhere begin from and end at other-ing, oppressing and disempowering people in the bodies that they embody. If the very vessel (for the lack of a better word) that you exist in, embody, and meet the world with is shamed, belittled, bullied, nitpicked based on a standard that may not even apply to your unique self, imagine the kind of mental distress and energy expenditure that goes into hating the self, feeling unsafe, unhappy, disempowered within the self, and eventually dissociating from the self.

Body positivity is a well known conversation point, oft used in marketing newer products and lifestyles. However, I decided to do #BodyShamingArchetypes because knowledge alone isn’t enough to embody justice. If it were, there would be no violence, mental health crisis or oppression. Embodiment takes time, patience and consistent effort. Until all of us embody that which we seek to build, I feel that for our own sakes and to validate our own inner revolutions, it is important to continue to sound the bell, to state what may seem obvious."

-Shivranjana Rathore

Shivranjana is a writer and maker of things. Her work is centred around breaking down the micro aspects of oppression within the human psyche, and situating it within the macro. Her work is an ongoing experimentation at the intersection of gender, mental health, the subconscious and the physical through any medium available - writing, illustration, comics, curriculum design and even regular conversations. Aside from that, Shivranjana is curious about the concept of energy and the integration of science and art.

Her work can be found here:


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