The story “The strongest girl of Belldale” is the second one from the book ‘Beautiful Inside and Out”. It begins with an introduction of Hilda and her family. She is a loving girl, sharing a strong bond with her sister Kimberly.

There is a happy family atmosphere until they decide to move to a new neighborhood. Every mother insists their children go outdoor and play, because it provides ample amount of exercise, plus it’s good to have friends. Hilda’s mother did the same too. With Mrs.Unity’s continuous persistence, Hilda does make new friends in her neighborhood.

But, it wasn’t long when she felt disappointed in them. Why?

Hilda is healthier than the rest of the three friends she had. She happened to be bullied by them for being “fat”.

“Beautiful Inside and Out” serves to be unconventional. Yes, it has fantasy wonderlands and set in the most magnificent locations, too good to be true, with a lot of picturesque imagery to capture the child’s creativity and thinking. But, at the same time, it speaks on diverse subjects.

The story of Hilda is one of the chapters in my life. When I was 6-years-old I was healthier than our Hilda. It occurred to me that if I could be shamed for being healthier than my peers 14 years ago, then what about the children or teenagers today?

In a culture where people are obsessed with thin body ideal, it has become somewhat difficult for people to accept larger body people. There are so many phrases which are actually fat-shaming but we aren’t aware of it, like, “Have you lost weight? You look great?” “You would have looked better in that dress if you were a little thin.” “Do you eat alot of potatoes?” “That dress wouldn’t match your body type.” “If you’re a vegetarian, how did this happen to you?” “Do you have health issues?”

When I was 10, I had heard a few girls whisper to each other during a racing relay, staring at another girl larger than them “I think she will make our team lose.”

A mother used detox drinks to force her 8-year-old to lose weight. The child didn’t know what it’s all about, she just obeyed her mother. The little girl eventually had a very bad stomach upset, only because her mother didn’t want her to be a fat teen or eventually a fat lady. Plus, her social status did not allow her to have a fat kid, especially when her kitty party ladies had pretty and lean daughters.

Girls or boys with healthier or larger bodies are often stereotyped as being lazy, dumb, low on intelligence, low on tenacity, and several other negative comments that they do not deserve. The society filters them out with a lot of negativity, which follows with the future generations as well. Fat-shaming is a heredity or genetical disease, it will be passed on to generations until cured.

The reason that children, especially the teenagers let such negative comments affect them is that they forget they are Beautiful Inside and Out, and no one has the authority to put them down. They do not need to adjust, adapt or alter themselves to please people. The only thing which is of utmost importance is self-love, also the fact that they will always have their family, friends or benefactors who will always have their back.

A good heart cannot be judged by outside appearance, and a good heart makes a happy person.
-Beautiful Inside and Out | Harsha Sheelam

By the end of the story, there is a moral to learn, something that children need to know. Something that will teach them good and prevent them from doing something bad.

She explained to the children that no matter what shape and size you are, it does not matter. Being happy with who yourself is the most important thing. People around the world do not look the same, and each one of them is gorgeous just the way they are, whether they are a boy or a girl.

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