Recently, Samantha Ruth Prabhu was in the spotlight for the promotion of her latest movie Shaakuntalam where she made an appearance in an ivory organza sari with minimal makeup. Later, she uploaded images of herself from the event to Instagram which swiftly drew flak, with trolls claiming she has “lost her glow and charm”. Prabhu, who was recently diagnosed with an autoimmune condition called myositis, opened up about her hospitalisation in an Instagram post in October last year saying, “I was hoping to share this after it had gone into remission. But it is taking a little longer than I hoped. I am slowly realising that we don’t always need to put up a strong front. Accepting this vulnerability is something that I am still struggling with.”
Droves of fans came out in support of Prabhu in the comments section. One said: “It’s very easy for someone to say “you have gained weight”, “you look so pale”, “you look sick”, “you don’t glow like you used to”, “you don’t look happy”, “your nature has changed a lot”. You never know what a person is going through. It takes a lot to go through treatments and medications. There are an n number of side effects and people just don’t think before commenting and trolling!”
Actor Varun Dhawan also rallied behind the star with an uplifting message: “You don’t feel bad about anything. You just care about clickbait, (I) feel bad for you son. Also, glow is available on Instagram filters. Just meet Sam trust me she was glowing.”
As the star continues to battle her condition while embracing vulnerability in the public eye, the trolls seem compelled to pit her against a healthier version of herself from the past. It’s sad to note that in 2023, we still fixate on every minute detail of how women present themselves in public—scrutinising how they look, how much they weigh, how they smile, how they sit sits and how they talk with eagle-eyed precision.
While our paradoxical obsession with celebrities—where we simultaneously love and hate them—is ingrained in our culture, the persistent attacks on women’s bodies seem rather targeted. Unfortunately, Prabhu’s isn’t an isolated incident; singer Lizzo is constantly body-shamed for her weight on Instagram for simply existing and being content in her body. In the age of social media, where perfectly sculpted bodies are a dime a dozen, every woman feels the pressure to look lean, yet voluptuous, or—as the recent trend goes—have her buccal fat removed while still maintaining a youthful glow.