I had originally written this piece for a magazine based out of Dubai. The magazine will instead be publishing another feature article I wrote, for their upcoming issue. This piece was initially titled ‘In Pursuit Of Beauty.’
For a long time, I was not content. I was happy, yes, but I was not content.
I was 23 at the time. I had just graduated college. I was restless.
I wasn’t very pleased to have to move back to India after living abroad for quite a while.
I didn’t want to have to start waxing my arms again.
I didn’t want to have to come back to a society that embraced fair women because they were fair, and fair men because they had seemingly higher chances of financial success.
I didn’t want to have to come back to the stories and the aunties that infiltrated society with the notion that, a girl’s early twenties are to be rightly spent interviewing, and being interviewed by, tall, fair, handsome and cash flow positive, prospective soul-mates.
I didn’t want to have to come back to media that manipulated the ignorant masses into believing that fair is beautiful, that skinny is glamorous or that having luscious hair is the secret to a happy Indian marriage.
I didn’t want to have to come back to conversations where people are described first by one of their physical attributes and then by their talent or profession.
But I came back anyway. I came home. Life went on.
Beauty companies continued to cash in on women’s insecurities, while women continued to subject themselves to bullshit that suggests that empowerment lies in a perfect appearance.
The silence got louder. I became wearier. I grew determined to expose.
That hollow victory, in pursuit of beauty, an insatiable urge.
I wanted to learn, unlearn, educate and question, so that I could stimulate a dialogue backed up by awareness.
That’s when I began to write, secretly at first.
I liked how words could invoke emotion and how conversations could inspire change.
It was beautiful. It was powerful. It was transformational.
The more I read, the more I learned,
The more I observed, the more I heard,
And I didn’t like what I found.
This Indian obsession with skin color,
The belief that fair is lovely,
That being fair makes you more deserving,
Of love, of knowledge and of money.
This nonsensical notion,
We hold as the truth,
Is evidence of deeply embedded scars,
From when we were slaves and from when we were mute.
Freedom will be an illusion,
So long as we subscribe to propaganda,
That preaches white is superior,
Packaged in bottles funded by agenda.
This false conviction,
Of perfection equating to beauty,
Being promoted by influencers,
Being driven by greed.
Heavy with importance,
But with no moral sense,
These MNC’s and celebrities,
Laugh while they fleece.
We succumb to their photoshopped realities,
And fall prey to the biases they sell,
Is their conscience dormant?
Blinded by financial wealth?
I didn’t want to see society drown in an ocean of toxins,
Saturated with the crap they put in fairness creams,
To the hormones they pump in our chickens.
I wanted to open eyes,
To cut the strings that played us like puppets,
To peel the gimmicks,
And unveil marketing strategies that muffle our reasoning.
I wanted to make clear that beauty is subjective –
That made me content.
So I created my blog – The Beauty Reel,
To prove that I am no less or no more.
Though I have:
Skin color that embraces the sun,
Ambition despite being a woman,
Stretch marks that adorn my thighs,
Responsibilities because I’m human.
A podgy belly that doesn’t respond well to crunches,
Intelligence that can challenge,
Fine hair that has retired at an early age,
Determination to find balance.
Back fat that’s more stubborn than my dog,
Strength that can endure,
Dimpled bums that resemble the moon’s surface,
And ideals that evolve as I mature.
I am no less beautiful or no more.
We need one to free a few,
And then a few to free many,
From this oppression,
We need to rise,
And see that beauty is in every.
–Click here, to know what the world thinks about beauty.
-If you’re in the mood for more stimulating content, check out my first piece here – The Power Of A Good Conversation.
-If you’ve been thinking of breaking free from mundanity and are looking for happier days, read this piece.
-If you want to read/watch more interesting content, check out the ‘Expand’ section by clicking here.
India’s obsession with fairness