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22 Apr
2017
Editorial Team.
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Why Are We So Driven by the Unrealistic Beauty Standards Set by Media?

When I was nine years old, the women at the daycare asked me why I didn’t own any frocks. I wasn’t a tomboy. I had long hair and a thin frame. I pestered my mother to buy me skirts and frocks. By twelve, I had outgrown them.

The same women, so obviously inspired by the beauty standards in India, looked at me with disdain and asked me why I didn’t own any bras. I did not have a thin frame anymore.

Even at that young age, I knew it wasn’t going to get any better. Frocks became strapless dresses, the Lilliput sandals became heels from Aldo, and our generation got introduced to drug store makeup.

The expectation to become an ideal Indian woman kept on towering against my frame. But, puberty had made me 46 kgs so it was quite difficult to move me.

It may not have moved me, but it did leave me with one major psychological retribution - Insecurity.

For decades, people have debated and discussed the negative ways in which the images we see in media impact the way we see ourselves - especially when it comes to beauty and fitness standards in today’s society.

Media’s unrealistic beauty standards aren’t the villain here though. It is us. It is the standards we have set for ourselves and the people around us.

Media does highlight the ideal - but it does not tell me to do it.

It is the people who told me to do it.

It is the people who informed me of my lack of femininity, or excess of obvious femininity. It is the people who changed the trends and defined how a woman should look, dress and smell. As far as I know, those ramp walks have pieces of art walking down, rather than everyday clothing.

It is the people who dug this hole of insecurity.

I am at fault here too. I let them do it.

Have you ever been told you look better a certain way? That you should improve something about your physical appearance? That you will look more attractive in something else? That you need to use something to enhance your looks?

Of course, you have.

Beauty trends have showered over too. It doesn’t matter if you’re a boy or a girl. It doesn’t matter if you’re fourteen or twenty three. It doesn’t matter if you buy clothes from Zara or go down to the old city area to get cheap deals.

It doesn’t matter if you’re thin or fat. It doesn’t matter because we have all heard it.

The thing is- the standards of beauty we uphold is just one jigsaw puzzle piece. Some pieces may fit against the edges. Some pieces may seem similar, if you don’t look too close. Reality is, most of the pieces don’t fit in and are not similar.

If you feel like you don’t meet the standards of beauty, step right ahead. You’re not the only one.

Wear makeup. Don’t wear makeup. Work out the extra fat. Don’t work out, start eating instead. Curl your hair. Straighten your hair. Wear heels because you’re short. Don’t wear heels because you’re too tall.

Boys will like you if you wore a certain bra.

Girls will like you more if you put shirtless pictures on Instagram. Get a tattoo. Don’t get a piercing there. Color your hair auburn. Cut your hair short. Wear your hair long. Wear these clothes - they’re in.

You must have heard at least one of these ‘polite’ pieces of advice before.

What my polite request to you is - do it. Do it all. Do it because YOU want to do it.

Do it because makeup makes you feel more confident during presentations. Do it because your weight is affecting your health. Do it because you find this pair of heels cute. Do it because the tattoo means something to you. Do it because you’re bored of your usual hair.

Do it because you are your own standard of beauty.

It is not their life, so it is none of their business. It is your life, and your beauty is your business.

Also, they don’t know what’s best for you. Only you know what’s best for you- physically, mentally, and aesthetically.

What may be right for someone else- may be completely wrong for you. You know what your comfort zone is, and if you want to jump beyond it- go ahead! If you let them hold you back, or force you ahead, just know one thing- you’re the one who is stuck with the end result.

You are stuck with you- not them. Life is too short to not look your personal best and regret.

The hard truth is, it is impossible to please everybody. It is harder to please yourself.

You cannot control what they think of you. What you can control is- how you look at yourself. You may not be a Jenner, but why do you need to be like them? You may not have high cheekbones or flat abdomen- but at least you can enjoy a McChicken without worries, right?

You may not have the new Lakme lipstick- but does it really matter?

You are you. You may not be fit, but you’re fine. You may not be rich enough to buy those clothes, but you’re fine. You may be allergic to that concealer, but you’re fine. You are you, and that is fine.

Makeup brands should really get this as their tagline - You are your own standard of beauty.

What has been your experience with society’s standard of beauty? Let us know.

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The Wall and Us Editorial Team.

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