The pursuit of beauty


How important is being beautiful to you? Is it directly linked to your self-esteem and self-confidence? Does it matter to you if others find you good-looking or not? Do you seek appreciation and approval from others on your physical appearance? Well, all these questions might seem trivial to most of men but not to most of women. From a girl next door to a celebrity, every women would have experienced doubts concerning her looks at some point in her life. The perceived beauty of self has tremendous impact on self-image and confidence level. As per a recent research, a child as young as 3 years starts questioning if she is pretty or ugly.

The whole beauty business starts early

This starts to show up even in children as young as 3. You go to any children’s birthday party and you would find how starkly different boys and girls are dressed. Girls will be dressed in all party wear dressy frocks with all accessories and frills. Boys would be in simple casual clothes such as tee-shirt and jeans. There is pressure and expectations on mothers of little girls to dress up their daughters. I agree that mothers get to play dressing up dolls game in real and it could be fun but the larger point is that we are setting expectation and norm for the young minds to follow as far as beauty is concerned. Sometimes children don’t want to dress up and we kind of force them to wear the heavy dresses with frills and all just to conform to the unofficially set dress code for girls.  It should also be perfectly okay for a girl to go to a birthday party in simple casual clothes like boys. By letting girls choose what they want to wear would not only teach them to be independent in their decision-making but also teach them to break free from gender and beauty stereotypes.

The created need of women to look beautiful and flawless

The whole cosmetic Industry is thriving on creating and sustaining need of women to look beautiful. I have always wondered why was being beautiful thrust upon women and not men in the same way. A man takes bath, wears ironed clothes, combs his hair, puts on a perfume and he is ready. A woman in addition to above things a man does goes on painting her face with all sort of chemicals and then she is ready. Women are bombarded with advertisements of beauty enhancing products such as  pimple removing creams, whitening creams, weight loss pills, anti ageing creams and so on. One constant running theme of such ads is that by using such products for example a pimple removing cream or skin whitening cream, a girl is shown achieving her goals which stereotypically are getting attention of boys and winning beauty pageants. What about the other goals girls may have such as topping an exam, getting a job, winning a game, excelling in career? Can these ads show that through use of cosmetic products one can achieve such goals? No, they can’t because success is not skin deep, it takes consistent hard work over the years, grit and strength of character to achieve long-term success and definitely you can’t show these virtues being built with a skin whitening cream. The whole industry is misleading the young minds and messing up their value system. I have always felt parents have such significant influence on holistic development of children as it is the parents who can guard the young impressionable minds from getting misguided. Parents should focus not only on ensuring measurable performance in studies or sports but also on ensuring that children develop right attitude, values and perspectives.


Unrealistic beauty standards to which women are subjected

My point is the difference of expectations and set standards for women and men when it comes to grooming and looking good. The attention to dress and make up can serve as distraction from a focus on studies or job at hand due to the absurd beauty standards to which women are disproportionately subjected. Society tends to objectify women with beauty classified as the greatest asset for a woman. Sometimes having physical beauty can be a hindrance in letting people see your talent beyond the appearance. You come across articles such as 10 most beautiful female IPS/IAS officers. Even cracking one of the most prestigious and toughest exam  does not let women to break free from age-old shackles of beauty defining a woman.

Myth of flawless and perfect beauty

Women can follow their pursuit of flawless beauty and glamour but one must understand that flawless beauty itself is a myth. When we think of beauty, we think of the celebrities donning the fashion and beauty magazines,  looking beautiful and groomed all the time. What we might not realize is that  flawless looks on magazines cover is a result of a rigorous schedule of diet and exercise, hours of make-up, teams of fashion stylists and make-up experts and on top of everything the use of technology such as Photoshop . Actress Sonam Kapoor busted the myth of flawless beauty in a recent article. I suggest every girl to read it. As per the article, Flawlessness is dangerous and high budget myth and its time we shattered it. Any expectations of flawless beauty from oneself and others is unsustainable and damaging in long run.

Pertinent questions women must ask 

Why is it responsibility and duty of every woman to look beautiful all the time? Why is being beautiful so important for being a woman. Why can’t we ourselves and others around us accept us as we are without any makeup and beauty procedures done, the way we accept men. Why looking good has become part of feeling good and confident. What changes before makeup and after make-up? You are the same person with same skill-sets.  Through thousands of years, this enormous responsibility of being beautiful has forced women to voluntarily do it on their own. Women’s self-confidence is depending on being beautiful which is dependent on use of cosmetic products and all the artificial procedures done to their body. Why nobody tells them that you don’t need to do anything to look beautiful, you are beautiful as you are. Having a kind and gentle heart is what makes you beautiful.  Why as handsome as it does is not used for women? Why not as beautiful as she does?

A radiant and genuine smile is the makeup which would make one look beautiful always. When I see a woman without makeup and with a confident smile, I respect her for I know she has freed herself from this responsibility of being beautiful all the time. She knows who she is and doesn’t need chemicals applied on her face and procedures done on her body to feel good about herself. We need more of such women!


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