Updated: Aug 1, 2020
BEAUTY- AN ILLUSION
When I asked a 10 year old, what was her criteria of qualifying someone as a beautiful person, the words she uttered were heart-breaking. According to her, the person should not have a dark complexion and should be tall and thin.
You know why these words sounded horrific to me? Because at the budding age of ten, she knew how to categorize people into separate groups, she knew who to call pretty or ugly and she knew exactly in which category she belonged.
With a world population of 7.8 billion people, her perception of beauty or should I say our society’s perception of beauty is so narrow that we cannot even think to accommodate everyone in that criteria. So, we call the rest of them ‘ugly’. We have a singular term-‘UGLY’ for anyone who is black, fat, short, too thin, bald, hairy, etc. Now imagine the per cent of the world’s population these people might constitute. That’s what scares me the most. We are labeling such a huge amount of population as ugly creatures.
QUESTIONS BEING RAISED
Do you ever wonder so as to what made us put people into separate categories? What made us accept that fair and thin equates beauty? Is it right to confine people into these rigid standards when half the population doesn’t even fit into these categories? Is it right to make people feel alienated? Or is it okay that so many of us look into the mirror and end up hating and cursing ourselves for what God gave us? Because if that’s okay and normal, then why to waste our breathe fighting against it?
LOOKING FOR SOME ANSWERS
The reason we are able to draw a line between ugly and beautiful is because of the preconceived notion of certain limited beauty standards ingrained into our minds by toxic westernization as well as the role of media in glorifying this toxicity.
Effect of this can be easily seen when we look at our bollywood celebrities. Almost every top tier actress or actor looks the same - FAIR, TALL and THIN or MUSCULAR, TALL and FAIR respectively.
It cannot be denied that celebrities have a huge influence on our minds. Some of them are even worshiped like gods. It is obvious that, with this much influence we tend to follow them without giving a thought to what is wrong or right. So, when celebrities like Shahrukh Khan or Yami Gautam promotes fairness creams, fans like us won't think twice before using the product.
Social media sites have played the role of a catalyst to rot the minds of our youth by influencing them to attain the unattainable.
They say that looks and appearances won’t matter once you reach the age of maturity or become independent i.e. around thirty. But do you realize that by then you’d have spent half your life under immense insecurities, stress, anxiety and lack of confidence. Some of us don’t even reach the age of thirty because we end up taking drastic measures by killing ourselves to get out of this hell. According to an article by BBC NEWS, one in eight of us experience depression and suicidal thoughts due to poor body image.
Source - Pinterest
The business of cosmetic surgeries is flourishing day by day and has reached to around 13.8 million dollars worldwide along with the business of the beauty industry of 426 billion dollar worldwide.
Source - Pinterest
WHAT TO DO?
So what does this tell us? If this isn’t the time to stop hating ourselves and start changing our perspective, I don’t know when is!! What we need is to start using our minds to distinguish between right and wrong. We need to stop blindly following everything. We need to stop making Bollywood or Hollywood celebrities our ideals and the most important, is to start internalizing the fact that these celebrities are not what an average person looks like. We need to stop equating beauty with health. Aspiring to be fit and healthy does not mean you have to have zero figure or six pack. You are not healthy if you constantly worry about how you look. Health is not just physical fitness , it constitutes mental well-being as well. If you are disease free but have poor body image, you are not healthy. Try to unlearn the conventional definition of beauty. Take steps in building an environment where there is no limit to beauty.
Build a safe space where we won't have to wake up in the middle of the night with tears in our eyes; where we are not forced to accept that we are not enough with each passing day; where we don't have to hide this façade of “beauty concept” under the covers of personal choice and where we start realizing that it was never a personal choice and it will never be a personal choice.