Beauty is skin deep…

…they say. But, sometimes I wonder what beauty really means? Tall? Slim? Fair? Big eyes? What exactly? Everywhere, I am treated to the same bullshit. Fair is beautiful. Slim is beautiful. But, how do we know what someone else would consider beautiful?

As a teen, I was never confident about my physical appearance. I was always too tall and too fat to be considered beautiful, in the conventional sense. Privately, I wished I could become 2 inches shorter, lose a few inches around my waist and acquire that perfect, toned and clear skin. It was only much later that I realized that perfection was not always desirable. In college, I realized that I was better off than at least 90% of Indian women. I realized that people did not always judge others by their looks, unlike what I had experienced in school. I realized I could still make friends, no matter how I looked and that what was inside was more important than external beauty.

That said, even today, I sometimes feel insecure. Insecure about my physical appearance. This insecurity goes away very soon. Sometimes in 10 minutes, but never lasts more than a day. But then, it sets me thinking. Thinking about why we, as human beings have such rigid and inflexible notions of beauty. In India, fair is beautiful. In Europe, tanned is beautiful. Everywhere in the world, being reed thin is beautiful, never mind if you are anorexic or bulimic. Why are we, as human beings, willing to go to such extreme lengths to acquire that elusive beauty? Cosmetic surgery, skin treatments, botox…name it and we have tried it. Why? Why can’t we accept that we are imperfect and that is why we are human? Why can’t we accept the other’s imperfections as endearing? I wonder if I will ever get an answer to that!

12 thoughts on “Beauty is skin deep…

  1. aargee says:

    So true! I always used to have problems with complexion factor. Distant family members always pointed out differences between me and mom, to such an extent that they would deliberately ask my mom, if I am her daughter. But like you said, once I entered college, I got least bothered. I had a HUGE circle of friends compared to other good looking girls.
    I feel “being good at heart” is all what matters.

    Exactly! What’s inside is more important. Plus my complex went away with compliments I started receiving about being beautiful and interesting! 😉 I love it when people compliment me!

  2. Praveen says:

    well! if your blog can be so interesting, wonder how interesting you can be 😛
    Aside, I have noticed even the sharpest and fantabulously intelligent women worry too much about being “beautiful”.

    He he he…I like that!! I am not worried…just wondering! I don’t care what people think. I know what I am worth!

  3. Praveen says:

    supreme confidence in women is any day an asset compared to so called popular belief of what beauty is.

    Confidence! I surely don’t lack that. I know that much. 10 years ago, maybe I did. But right now, I am extremely sure about who I am.

  4. Praveen says:

    Sorry, I meant in general 🙂 . Some women are worried about looking good and let the brains take a walk.

    Hey! No issues! Brains taking a walk…maybe I should let them do that once in a while! You will get more pointless posts on this blog then!

  5. Indian Homemaker says:

    And still there are Bipasha Basu, Rekha, Draupadi, and countless other lesser known people who look great, and nobody thinks much of how they are not tall, fair, skinny etc.

    I have always believed that looking good is more about style and grooming… clean, bouncing, healthy hair, healthy skin, a happy smile, and a good conversation are something… I was watching ‘The Mirror has two faces’ on the TV yesterday, and thinking all this…

    But I do feel that people who think they look good, and care about the way they look, tend to look good… hence grooming is a useful skill.

  6. Indian Homemaker says:

    I didn’t mean care as in being sensitive about, I meant ‘take care’ about the way they look.

    I completely agree! It’s more about grooming than about what you are endowed with. But even Bipasha, Rekha et. al. conform in some way to the idea that slim is beautiful. And you can’t exactly call Bipasha Basu dark! That said, we do need to carry ourselves well to make that overall good impression.

  7. selvan says:

    “Black is beautiful” so said Muhammed Ali.In Tamil there is a saying,”karuppe Azhagu, Kaanthale Rusi”.Krishna is said to have been nearly black.According to the version I read while he was sleeping in the forest a hunter mistook him for a pig and killed him.Immediately Dwaraka was swallowed by the sea.So probably fair skin was not considered an asset in the past.Gunnar Myrdal has referred to the reaction of the Africans on their first encounter with the whites being ridicule at their white skin and blonde hair.It was the power of the gunpowder and military organisation and discipline of the white Europeans that made the subjucation of the natives possible.
    That way Muhammed Ali’s statement is an antidote to the inferiority complex the colored people may have had about the color of their skin.Our color consciousness may be because of the fact all the conquerors starting from the Greeks to the English were all fair skinned. In the animal kingdom only the males are endowed with physical attributes we associate with beauty,good looks and attractive to the opposite sex.Only among the human beings beauty and good looks are considered most desirable for the female of the species.

  8. Sushmita says:

    Bipasha Basu IS dark. I’ve seen her in person in one occasion .She’s darker than average. Its the light in shootings that she appears fairer. In fact you should never believe the colour in TV or theatres. Technology hasn’t developed that much yet to produce exactly true colour through these mediums(Case point your own complexion looks different photos taken in different lighting conditions).Neverthless Bips is a very beautiful woman and the way she carries herself is wayyyyyyy above average.

  9. phantom says:

    There is some merit in the idea that humans have developed some degree of biological, evolutionary and physiological hard-wiring, that imparts some cognitive intuitive idea of what contitutes physical beauty. There are some generalised parameters for both men and women, that trigger a instintive response within a person.

    For men, a general angular structure to the face, symmetric clean lines, defined nose/jaw/cheek, large forehead, sensitive eyes/mouth, full lips, broad shoulders, slim hips/waist, strong limbs, healthy and full head of hair, greater than average height….all of these convey symptoms of physical health, indicate high chance of the male being a sound mate/head of family/provider of food etc that would naturally trigger a biological and physiological response of attraction within a woman, with said response having been honed after thousands of years of evolution and survival of the fittest.

    Similarly, for women, a balanced hip-to-waist ratio, long hair, soft curves, dainty facial features etc….trigger responses in men to the perceived sense of the woman’s fertility, child bearing capabilities etc.

    The above paradigm of attraction is biological and instinctive. I have seen nothing about skin colour being a parameter that falls in this bucket of evolutionary/biological indicators…and this is quite simply because skin colour is in a different domain. There is a scientific reason to explain that a woman with a more balanced hip to waist ratio shall probably represent healthy fertility, as opposed to a woman with a more pear shaped body. Similarly, men who were taller, stronger and more “symmetric” in physical design, were more likely to be effecient at hunting, farming, and more virile than a fat, short, physically weak specimen. Skin colour on the other hand does not display any co-relation to biological indicators of health, fertility, virility, capacity to provide for family etc.

    The subjective perception on skin colour is a social phenomenon, instigated and contnually propounded by the white race. Starting from the times of european colonisation when the colonisers intrinsically, in a self-praising euphoria of superiority, believed that the white race represents superior material, scientific, social, cultural and physical progress when compared with other indegenous populations in the colonised areas. This sentiment of subjective judgement based on skin colour, was preached and imposed as propoganda and as a mechanism to maintain economic, cultural and military control over the colonised people.

    With India unfortunately, we became a victim of this same sentiment of subjective judgement, that deliberately sought to segregate the indian population that already represented such a vast degree of physical variance in terms of skin colour (milky white to coal black) and physical build – largely due to the presence of different ethnic/social communicties and centuries of infusion of “genes” from distinctly different ethinic / sultural / social groups of invaders / traders (turks, greek, persians, afghans, mongols, arab)…more so in the north-western part of modern day india (and almost all of modern day pakistan). The highly skewed perception of physical beauty, might, and superiority that the colonial europeans intrinsically possessed (and the high degree of convergence in physical characteristics across the major european powers of the time…they were all anglo/saxon, nordic, slavic or a combination thereof, made it ratrher easy for them to have a convergent synchronous view of their alleged physical superiority) has unfortunately left a lasting impression on the sub-continental thought foot-print.

    It is an indictment on indian society/culture, and a severe indication of the huge failings in our self-esteem (from a physical perspective)…that we use skin-colour to be a predicator of absolute beauty. As above, certain physical characteristics are biologically and evolutionarily designed to trigger a perception of physical attractiveness…but skin colour cannot be one of them, purely as it does not provide the cause and effect rationale, that the other physical indicators (such as hip-waist ratio, shoulders-waist ratio for men, full lips for women, symmetrical body dimensions) do.

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