Looking Good: A Slow Poison

The pressure to look good is working as a slow poison and killing women. Society is piling on the pressure upon women to look good, thin, fashionable, and perfectly made-up body, as a well manufactured product from a company with specific features. Those who don’t meet these standards are kicked off.

Recently, I watched a video footage in which one of the prominent Bollywood heroines, Rekha was seen. She was attending a marriage party of Akash Ambani and Shloka Mehta. Her appearance made me dazed. I admit I couldn’t get my eyes off her perfect looks, her great body, heavy saree and jewelry more because she’s 65! 

I looked myself in the mirror it shocked me that I’m 45 and dealing with the spread of age. Earlier healthy plump bodies used to be accepted for the purpose of bride in villages and the usual expression used to be “moti ghati chha ghaas katna sakchhe” girls with slim body used to be discarded saying “rogi chha kaam garna sakdina.” Now it is all changed, not only in cities, in villages too “moti” is “rogi” and is rejected where as slim is accepted. 

Bollywoos heroines of up to mid 80s used to be healthier. Kareena Kapoor’s “0 figure” in Bollywood came as a flood and drowned all women from all walks of life. These days women of every age, every profession, and from anywhere of the globe are fighting battle of gaining the throne of “0 figure”.

We have been projected that “0 figure” is one of the standards to look beautiful. Last Friday I attended to a birthday party to my surprise a mom was stopping her girl child eat a cake saying “yo khayu bhane motauxau ani timlyi kasayile bihe gardyina” These days young girls to look good and achieve perfect body are cutting their diets and are subject to Eating disorders.

As I happened to go through one of the current reports published by Current Psychiatry Reports, I found that the eating disorders had the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. 

Nobody’s self worth comes from how one looks, makeup, beautiful hair, high fashion clothes or perfect body. It comes from deep within the heart and strength can’t be seen.

I think women kill themselves slowly, in bits and pieces, because of the pressure to look good. We’re trapped by the huge industry producing whitening brightening creams to different shades of lipsticks, nail enamels, eye shadows etc. Not only this, women are now forced for Botox, Tummy Tucks, Augmentation Surgeries, and many more. Glamour magazine (2006) says that 3,64,000 women went for breast augmentation surgeries.

Recently, I read about something called the ‘Husband Stitch’ that new mothers are subjected to after just giving birth. It’s an additional stitch in the vagina to make it narrower and thus make sex more pleasurable for men. After knowing this, tears rolled down my cheeks.  What more do we need to do?  And why?

If anyone thinks men have the same pressure to look good and thin and perfectly presented, then they’re so mistaken- there is no match to the scale and extent of pressure that women face. Sure, men in the movie and modeling industry might face high standards of looking good, but I’m talking about regular women, young girls, school going children, teens. 

How many standards we need to meet? And why?
There’s nothing wrong in desiring to look good and being healthy, but it’s important to draw the line. One has to create her own measuring rod to judge herself because everyone is different in this universe with a purpose to meet. And the purpose of life will decide the standards.

Nobody’s self worth comes from how one looks, makeup, beautiful hair, high fashion clothes or perfect body. It comes from deep within the heart and strength can’t be seen. It’s for nobody to see and judge. Stop poisoning self with the standards of beauty made by others and set standards by self. Life is important not the looks.

Dr. Sharma is Associate Professor in Nepal Sanskrit University.