The year is 2021, and yet some people still think that body shaming others in public is a funny thing to do. While that's already embarrassingly outdated, imagine making fun of an Olympian who represented the country.
Nurul Akmal, who competed in the women's +87 kg category in weightlifting at the Tokyo Olympics, returned to Indonesia on Wednesday night along with the rest of the delegates from the country – including the women's doubles gold medalists Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu, as well as Anthony Sinisuka Ginting, who won bronze in the badminton men's singles.
As Nurul posed with a bouquet of flowers in front of photographers and journalists, someone was heard sarcastically shouting "the skinniest [in the team]" at her.
A clip of the incident has circulated widely on social media, prompting angry reactions from Indonesians. Many pointed out how Nurul, a person strong enough to lift an adult human and having represented the nation at the Olympics, was still prone to body-shaming.
In an interview, Nurul said she's aware of the video and even the person who made the comment. The 28-year-old lifter reassured the public that she's not too bothered by the remark, adding that she believes that it was intended as a joke.
"If someone made a comment about me for not wearing the hijab, I'll be alright. As long as they don't body-shame me, don't poke fun at my parents, [because] I'd hate [if they did] that," Nurul said yesterday.
Nurul seems to understand just how deep-rooted body shaming is in Indonesian culture that she chose not to fret over the little things. She said that some people have commented on her smaller posture when compared to other athletes in weightlifting, which she has chosen to simply acknowledge as a fact.
However, Nurul also said she finds it "upsetting" when people make fun of her body. "They don't know what the struggle is like to reach this point," she said.
Nurul, who hails from Aceh province, was placed fifth out of 14 lifters in her category. She has competed in +75 kg and +90 kg divisions at various weightlifting competitions prior to the Olympics.