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April 10, 2018

Debunking beauty stereotypes

Every woman, in the course of her life time, encounters feelings of self-doubt and deprecation wherein she turns extremely critical of her body image. Sometimes these phases last longer than usual leading you to abhor the person you see in the mirror. All of a sudden, your face seems too fat, your nose too big, your hair too dry, your ears too pointy. (No, it's not because you've suddenly transformed into a goblin.) Your insecurities make an appearance all at once, deepening an inferiority complex that may have been triggered by an careless remark or an unkind word in the past. This is when the hair straighteners come out from the dresser drawers. Sometimes, it's the hair curlers, the gym membership card, the cycling machine, the crash diet recipes, and perhaps the nuts and bolts that were supposedly holding your brain together. You start getting obsessed with unrealistic beauty standards and begin to compare yourselves with skinny, photoshopped models on fashion magazine.
End result; you feel like a failure-unaccomplished and unattractive. You wish to crawl up in a hole and die, and never be spotted in this otherwise beautiful world with perfect other people.

Having been there and done that myself, I am well aware of what it feels to allow your self esteem go for a toss. I've died in shame when my beauty parlour lady wiggled her nose and frowned at what she perceived as a 'hundred unattended-to comedones' (miraculously visible to her eyes only) in the T-zone of my face. I've held in my breath a little too hard, hoping my tailor wouldn't comment on the weight I've gained as she nipped and tucked my dress at the desired places. I have used styling products in a vain attempt to achieve poker straight hair. I have sulked over my imperfections, tried to conceal my flaws and when I realised it wasn't working, wished for a fairy Godmother who would make me invisible.

But not anymore!
Somewhere, in medias rez, I realised that perfection is just a state of mind. There is no one-size-fits-all.
Why should we have to measure upto some standard set by some other person, living some other life? Someone who doesn't know our struggles, our victories, someone who doesn't care about our fights, someone who doesn't even know the us beneath the surface?

Your worth is not measured by the size of your waste, the colour of your skin, or the texture of your hair. Beauty is something much deeper than that. It is more about how you feel inside than what you look outside. Wouldn't you rather 'feel' like a million bucks than 'look' like a million bucks? I know for sure I would. Because after all, isn't that what it's eventually all about---feeling happy?

So stop belittling yourself. It doesn't matter what the world demands of you. You are not here to meet its expectations anyway. Do not allow anyone to decide how you feel. Our society is fickle and so are its standards.
Too short, too thin, too fat, too dark - that is what the advertising industry thrives on. Do not let it feed on your self-esteem. Instead, focus on what is really important. Concentrate on improving in ways that will have a lasting impact, that are not at risk of fading with age and time, that you will be remembered for even when you are gone.

Of course, you have every right to work on yourself. Eat healthy. Exercise regularly. Take care of your body (and mind). But do it for the right reasons. Do it because it makes you happy. Do not succumb to pressures just to be accepted by a bullying society. Once it realises you care, it will always find new things to bully you about.

Instead, live for yourself. As long as you are fit and healthy, it hardly matters whether you are Pear or Apple shaped, have a tanned or clear complexion, or can fit into your little black dress or not.


And that, my dear, should be enough to keep you going...
Because you may not be 'beautiful' as per convention, but you are at peace with your imperfections which is what make you perfect, just the way you are!

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