‘Beauty’- The Bane Of Every Woman’s Life!

Originally posted on Women’s Web

Disclaimer: This post was written with an intention to highlight the impact/affects of the association of the word ‘beauty’ on women, particularly in Indian society. Any other implications drawn after reading are purely unintentional.

woman-in-a-sari
Image via Shutterstock
Why is the beauty of women given so much importance? Men don’t need to look attractive to feel confident. So why are women forced to?

A quote from one of the oldest ever feminist philosophy works, ‘A Vindication of the Rights of Women’, published in the year 1792, states: “Taught from infancy that beauty is woman’s scepter, the mind shapes itself to the body, and roaming round its gilt cage, only seeks to adorn its prison.”- Mary Wollstonecraft, who was an 18th century British feminist philosopher and an advocate of female rights.

It is indeed an irony that a societal flaw recognized way back in the 18th century, still holds true after centuries of advancements in every possible field and aspect of the world! In spite of increasing emphasis on female rights and women empowerment, there still exist certain obvious factors impacting women directly or indirectly.

One such factor is the association of the word beauty with a woman. While this word association can be flattering most of the times, the pressure women face to give it a priority can be traumatic at some point in their lives. Beauty here may not necessarily imply physical attractiveness, but the need of being reminded that women are beautiful in every way possible, hasn’t lost its impetus.

Women have come a long way in terms of education, independence and fight for equality, yet they haven’t been able to shake off the label beautiful often bestowed on them. Yes, being a woman might be termed beautiful due to their motherly capabilities and emotional strength compared to men. But what is the need to be reminded, when they are naturally bestowed qualities, similar to many such traits of a man?

While the ascribing of beauty is considered inevitable and has been taken for granted all over the world, in a country like India, the impact is much higher.

The matrimonial advertisement of a groom seeking a bride hasn’t really changed much over the last two decades. The groom still seeks a tall, fair, slim girl with an addendum of the words, ‘educated’, ‘postgraduate’ or a ‘working professional’. This is irrespective of the groom’s complexion, height or weight. (Should it really matter?)

Well now, it’s the 21st century! Women are going places, making wonders as easily as making babies (!), they are at par and occasionally higher placed than their male counterparts. Yet, they are often forced to keep looking beautiful or groomed! A dark-skinned girl is still not considered equal to a fair-skinned one, irrespective of how accomplished she is. No matter how independent a woman becomes, she is reminded either by her mother or the neighborly auntyji to either maintain her looks or act lady like, only to attract alliances.

Let me put it this way! There are a plenty of women who prefer gadgets to jewelry and books over makeup. But there comes some point in life, where she will be asked to feel or appear beautiful, irrespective of her lack of interest. If not for the family or the so-called well-wishers, there will always be various forms of print and media or videos that go viral, that remind her to feel beautiful, no matter what! Wonder why there aren’t any videos/ slogans saying, “You are handsome, no matter what!” 

What is the need for associating self esteem with feeling beautiful? When men don’t need looks or do not need to be reminded of appearing attractive and pleasant to feel confident, why are women forced to? When self assurance and morale are not gender based, why should the approach towards making people feel confident differ?

A mother of an independent, well educated, dusky daughter is worried even today about her child’s marriage, fearing rejection due to complexion. Yet, the same mother seeks an attractive daughter-in-law for her average looking son. The problem is deep rooted and needs a shift in the mindset of parents to eradicate the association of beauty with women.

Women are taught from infancy in various ways about the emphasis of beauty in their lives (as the quote above says). Beauty should be a matter of choice rather than a necessity. A man is never forced or reminded to look groomed and physically attractive, as long as he is well settled. Nor does he need motivational videos and campaigns depicting, ‘Find your beautiful‘ or ‘What is real beauty’.

But a woman, no matter how well read she is, she is considered to lack the basic trait of femininity, if she isn’t groomed or ladylike. Thus promotional campaigns keep prompting to her that in spite of her flaws, she is still beautiful. Why should a woman look or feel beautiful in the first place? Embracing beauty may be one way of boosting self esteem, but it isn’t the only way. The kind of stress and drama revolving around looks can lead to emotional break down in many women.

It is high time for a change in the way a girl child is taught to be confident. Instilling faith in their children, that the need for beauty has no place, irrespective of gender, is something parents need to inculcate from early stages.

A daughter needs to be reminded that she is what she is and can be confident for the kind of person she is and not by the need of feeling or looking beautiful.

A son needs to be educated that women are so much more beyond looking pretty and are similar to men in every aspect.

Unless the change begins within us, in our minds, in our homes, through our children, the word ‘beauty’ can never get out from a woman’s dictionary!

 

 

P.S: This was my first published article outside of WordPress

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17 thoughts on “‘Beauty’- The Bane Of Every Woman’s Life!

  1. Well beauty depends on how u perceive it. Beauty without brains are called bimbo in slang.. I think we all appreciate someone who is not just beautiful but have a good talent, who is confident enough ,along with humble heart…
    Look at bipasha , kajol they are accepted not just for their looks but for the kind of talent they have ..
    Remember arunima sinha.. The first amputee girl to summit mount everest. Look at Venus and Serena Williams , are we not respecting them.. I mean yes u look at rose u say its beautiful because of the kind of pleasant feeling it gives when u see it. That doesn’t mean people appreciate only beauty and no talent..
    Good post liked it .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I completely agree with you. The purpose of mentioning it was the focus of reminding women about beauty in one way or the other, which sometimes gets traumatic. Thank you very much for quoting some of the best examples and giving your thoughtful comments! 😊😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Like so many deep-rooted falsebeliefs and superstitions in our society, the need to be and look physically beautiful also needs to be dumped now. However, like those same problems, it is far too ingrained in our psyche to go away easily. You’ve rightly explained how it is an issue on multiple levels of society and needs the participation of all of us.
    Brilliant article. Thanks for sharing here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very true! This is just like many other false beliefs we have instilled! Oh yes and it is indeed too ingrained to let go any time soon. But change needs to start somewhere. Thank you for your valuable thoughts as always!! 😊😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You know my thoughts on this article from Facebook 😊

    But again, I will say excellent piece on many levels at people’s perceptions and deeply ingrained social expectations. These same expectations ignore how it makes some people feel about themselves which is unfair and wrong.

    A good article my friend and thank you for your insight into Indian culture at the same time!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks again Gary! Social expectations do more harm than good. Falling a prey for societal pressure is very depressing most of the times. Thank you so much for taking time to give your views 😊😊 Can never thank you enough!! 🙂🙂🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes they do…reinforced in media, tv, magazines and Photoshopping, which seems the new way to achieve ‘perfection’. All very depressing as you say. What’s your next topic going to be 😊

        Like

  4. Well-written. Apart from beauty, there are tons of things expected from women, so with beauty starts a long checklist of what a woman should have! That’s how gender roles have been defined, particularly in the Indian society. Then there are brands that take advantage of this mindset and sell their products promising women that they will become fair or beautiful.

    The problem starts from childhood when certain expectations are placed on each gender. Matrimonial ads seeking boys don’t clearly mention but expect a man with a 6-figure salary. That too is an issue with women in India, they don’t give as much importance to earning their bread even after being well-read. So, change has to start from both sides. 🙂

    I totally get your point though, girls are humiliated constantly for not being beautiful for which they feel inferior.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry, the previous comment of mine was posted by mistake! I totally agree with beauty being just one aspect of the many things expected from women. And ya, many brands promote this wrong idea too! It is very deep rooted, emerging from childhood with giving children notions of the traits and responsibilities of genders- which includes expecting huge paychecks from prospective groom, irrespective of the woman’s independence! This can be a whole new post of how the society is exploiting men as well disguised in pseudo feminism. That sprouted a new idea in me, thank you!! 😃 Thank you so much for sharing your valuable thoughts on this! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am glad that I could give you an idea. I see a lot of posts which talk about equality for women and I strongly feel that as a first step we need to make them financially independent, everything else will follow.. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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