In my recent outing to buy my grocery, I came across a group of tourists roaming in the market. They stood there in front of a lady selling fruits and kept making fun of her features in their native language. Sadly I understood the language and was totally disgusted.
Did you ever go through the matrimonial column of a newspaper?! Amazingly, every Indian guy wants a ‘tall, fair, slim, educated, modern, homely and the list goes on’ wife. I hope these men themselves fit into these category themselves… just saying!
A Pakistan based fashion designer Ali Xeeshan, in his bridal collection for 2015 supposedly promotes diversity and his beautiful collection appeared with the caption “Ali Xeeshan goes to redefine beauty standards again! The shoot is set to promote embracing your own colour rather than going for other beauty standards’. Yes, I loved the collection but picking two fair skinned models to portray dark skinned villagers. Why did fair-skinned models have to be slathered with dark foundation to sell the idea that ‘dark skin is beautiful’ is beyond my understanding.
A very talented Indian actress Tannishtha Chatterjee goes to a comedy show to promote her critically acclaimed movie – Parched(a must watch) and she is painfully trolled for her dark skin and so much that she has to walk out of the show. I mean wow!
In a documentary Shadeism, we are introduced to a four year old Tamil girl, who at this tiny age feels that the society only recognizes that society perceives light skin as beautiful and dark is not. She admits that she hates her skin colour because its brown and she needs to become white.
We as humans have these weird standards that define beauty – if you are tall you are beautiful, if your short then sorry! your not beautiful enough. If you are fair you are beautiful, if you are dark, sorry! your not beautiful enough. If you are thin you are beautiful but if you are healthy, you are not beautiful enough. You need to have big eyes… fuller lips… pointed nose… perky breasts… thin waist… round ass… lean arms… thighs shouldn’t touch… flat stomach… and the list goes on and on. We forget that perfection is a myth and moreover how are these the only criteria of ‘perfection’. These man made beauty standards are having worse effects on the minds of an individual than we can perceive.
“We are losing our bodies as fast as we are losing languages”, says a British psychotherapist Susie Orbach in his documentary The Illusionists. Just as we are obsessed with English as a language, likewise we are not appreciating of the great variety of human bodies that exist – the white, small nosed, pert breasted , long legged body is the only one that is coming to stand.
We are all more obsessed with our appearance than we like to admit and I feel concern about appearance is quite normal and understandable. But all thanks to the media, TV, billboards, magazines that our normal concern about how we look has become an obsession! And sadly most of us may not be looking at the mirror out of ‘vanity’ but out of insecurity. Being in India I see how there are so many unrealistic standards that media shows us about what is ‘beautiful’.Whether we realize it or not, it has a huge influence on our self-confidence.
It is high time we realize that this needs to stop! Making fun of someone’s weight, skin colour, height, features is NOT FUNNY!! These are the areas where one cannot do anything and making someone feel bad about the way he was made naturally just talks about how messed up your mentality is.It’s time to shift the conversation and question why so much of our mental energy feeds into discussing bullshit beauty standards.
Have you ever imagined how your own daughter or lovely niece will feel flawed just because she does not look like the girls on a magazine cover. Imagine she being bullied just because she is fat or she is dark skinned or she is short. Can you imagine what that would do to her confidence and how she will see herself when she looks into the mirror the next time?!
Think about it!!!