I live in a society where beauty trumps brains!
Ever tried to Google on the biggest social threats that women face? I did, and I wasn’t surprised to see how most of the search results pointed to one thing “being socially accepted”. Well, that’s just a political way of putting it, in simple words it has always been one thing that is most feared by any woman; “do i look good enough to be accepted?”
I don’t get it, why are we so obsessed with being thin and fair? Every time I turn on the television I see these fairness and beauty cream and soap ads. Why do we teach and have started making girls believe that being fair and thin is the key to success, at least that’s what I decipher from these ads. Makes me question, is it necessary to be an eye-candy to succeed? Is it always about looks? Doesn’t it count if I am intelligent or talented? I know men are obsessed with good and fair looking women; sadly that’s how majority of the people in our society are. Our society has set these twisted beauty standards. But what’s wrong with us? Why do we have to prove them right?
For the longest time I had been thin and been labeled as skeleton and anorexic. Till the age of 23, my weight had been a constant 45 kg. Now for my friends and some of the family members this was amazing. Things I usually got to hear were like; “we want to be as thin as you”, “ you should be thankful you are so thin”. There were only few people in my life, concerned about how under-weight I was with respect to my age. Majority of us prefer looks over health, intellect and other values. Why?
It’s been more than 2 years since I have been working; I am 25 now and guess what my weight is? Yes, I have gained weight, I weigh 54 kg. Oh how I would love to write all the responses I got for this change but to sum it up, when I had started gaining weight it was obvious from my face and most of the times anyone who used to meet me after ages, was shockingly surprised; “you have gained weight” and after realizing the reaction by the look on my face that’s how they cover up “but I mean it’s good, it suits you.” I mean is there nothing else in a person that people can notice? From my bosses at work, to close relatives and even friends the “weight gain” comment never stopped, it made me sick and it made me turn to taking measures that most women do.
I started skipping meals, I am currently on this routine of having warm water in the morning every day because of the fear that I will turn fat and get a double chin. And when my face shows the impact of my efforts, guess what I get to hear now? “Why do you look so thin?” “Are you sick?” No people, I am not sick, you guys make me sick. Are the people in our society ever satisfied? Why does everyone around us have to constantly keep a watch on us, as to how much weight a girl has gained or how much dark has she become. Is that all that there is to a girl?
Acceptance must not come by how a person looks; it must be for what you are. And whoever and however we are we need to accept each other. Value each other’s differences. Imagine what a world would look like if we all were the same. Boring! Well at least that’s what my value system and brain has made me realize. In the last month there were two very important reports that came out, the first one was the The Gender Gap’ .
Now as per the gender gap report, we are ranked second from last in terms of gender equality which means we are the second worse nation as per World Economic Forum in terms of gender equality. The second report is the ‘The 100 women’. The 100 women included 5 women from our country acclaimed for their achievements. These 5 women must have been lucky that no one gave a damn to their looks or physique and even if people did, then I guess they were smart enough to not give a damn about what people said and thought about them.
I often ask myself, where are we flawed? Girls, the reason guys and their mothers prefer fair looking and thin women is because not only the generation above us spoke or taught their children against it, but also because of the fact that we give them a chance to. Being a woman of the same society, I think it’s very important to break this stereotyping and cliched mindset of “gori bahu”, “dubli, patli”, “acha naak naksha.”
And we need to start this at our end first. Teach our girls what’s more important: Intellect, Values, Education, Confidence, Grooming and grooming does mean that you should be good looking, it means how you carry yourself. At the same time teach our boys to respect and value their counterparts for qualities like her honesty, her persona, her nature and her background values instead of rejecting a girl for how fat or dark she is. After all its both men and women who have to run the show. It is the value system that is flawed, not people.
If only mothers would teach their daughters to be confident in what they are instead of struggling in becoming what they are not, due to the pressure of being accepted by this society. So what we could not have the liberty to live in a non-discriminating society that has laid these weird beauty standards, but we can at least make it better for our future generations. And the time is NOW.