Plus-size Indian activist recreates viral Bollywood dance

Tanvi Geetha Ravishankar recreated a famous Bollywood dance and it started a conversation around body diversity on screen.

Ravishankar wanted to challenge this norm

It's shot by my husband. It's not even professionally shot. I just wanted to recreate it because I did not see anyone doing the same thing in my body. And also I just wanted to have fun while doing it”, says Tanvi Geetha Ravishankar. This Indian body positivity activist recreated a popular Bollywood dance. Her video quickly generated millions of views and started a dialog around women’s bodies and their depiction on screen. 

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Growing up, she saw plus-sized women in pop culture only as… “Comedic characters. They were always made fun of. Like, the hero is told that, “Let’s fix him up with her” and then everybody makes fun”, says the activist. Hollywood has also been long accused of making stereotyping characters based on their weight. “There's always this fat person who has chips in her hands, who has a coke in the other hand, or who's eating a burger, who's very unhappy with her life”. 

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She has been a body positivity activist for years

Ravishankar wanted to challenge this norm at least on social media. “This is not the first time I've worn a bikini and done something on a beach. But that doesn't mean that it does not intimidate me. And I've had people laugh at me, so this is something that I'm used to”, explains the activist. “Plus sized people aren't eating all the time. That's not why we become fat. And the most common thing that I've seen people say on my video is that it's promoting obesity. And I just wanna clarify that me and a lot of fat creators like me… We put out videos and we are just existing on the internet, and we are just doing all of that to show that, you know, you can be comfortable in your body. You can do what you want. You can wear what you like no matter your size”.

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Ravishankar has been a body positivity activist for years … “Body positivity basically is a space that says that every body, no matter its shape, size, color, disability, ability levels, everybody needs to be respected. Everybody needs to be treated equally, and everybody needs to get the same kind of opportunities”. To drive the message of self-love, she started posting photos in swimsuits in 2016. “Especially fat women, they are not allowed, like we did not have options to wear trendy, fashionable clothes. And showing skin is still something that anybody who's not a perfect figure… somehow you are not allowed to, you know, show your skin”.