Monday, September 15, 2014

#Mirror, mirror, on the wall.

Women, from times unknown, have been under constant scrutiny. Are her clothes fashionable enough, are her eyebrows the right shape, is her nail paint chipped, is her hair a bit too frizzy, is she a shade too dark? Oh yes, the #fairness obsession. Among all these benchmarks, fairness is a gift envied and lauded. Thus the million-and-a-half #beauty products to make the darkest of skins turn light, irrespective of how unnatural or harmful it may be. The #matrimonial ads are always looking for a fair, slim and educated girl. The #advertisements slyly tell dusky women it’s a crime to remain dark when fairness can be achieved. Our Bollywood blockbusters and magazines photoshop or cake dusky beauties with makeup, transforming them into fair maidens. If you are not dusky and happen to be tanned, your elders will also complain of how unbecoming it is. In this sun-filled country a fair complexion is more important than some Vitamin D. Don't get tanned even if it means getting a shot at the doc's.

The #Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf proposed our society has been conspiring against women by means of vanity. Most women would agree the burden of looking good is phenomenal and never-ending. Add to that #bulimia, #anorexia and #plastic surgery.  It’s frankly, tiring. And we know this. But this requirement is very deeply, universally ingrained in women today. So we struggle every morning, to look better than God made us. To look prettier than the next girl. We mentally reprimand ourselves for being not so perfect. We waste our time in front of the mirror. Trying this and that. And by the time we get out of the door, we have drained out half our brains and energy on the dressing floor. Also, if you observe carefully, our massive advertising industry instigates not only perfect beauty but an eternal rivalry among women. A two-pronged strategy to weaken the fairer sex I would say. #Feminism is nothing but a by-product of this sly suppression. In the last century women burnt their #bras. If another tide of feminism hits the world, I hope to see fairness creams going up in smoke.

I must lightly touch upon the alleged suppression of the male species. I’ve been carefully observing along with many indignant men, the unfair sexual harassment cases and false dowry cases being filed by some unscrupulous women. I wonder how the women convicted and burnt at stake during the witch hunt felt. Injustice perhaps? I’m not condoning these acts of immorality and vengeance. But I see women becoming primary breadwinners and men becoming house husbands. I see women holding positions of power in companies. All this is great I thought. And then I saw the likes of #King Khan and Johnny boy endorsing fairness creams. I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself. Could it be? Is the beauty myth backfiring?

PS: To all the women I know and don’t know. You are #beautiful, for you are #God’s creation. Do not doubt his work of art. You have the divine power to create life. You can create and be anything you want. Just don’t stand in front of the mirror for too long.

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