Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder

Young woman looking in the mirror at a heart shape drawn around her face
Photo: © Wavebreak Media Ltd

India is a nation with the second largest population in the world. The cosmetic and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry in India is set to reach USD 104 billion by 2020 and is growing exponentially year on year. There are hundreds of products bought off the shelf every day and the major contributor to these spends are the incessant marketing and promotional campaigns on television and outdoor media. They say “Out of sight is out of mind” which is why every brand tries to ensure the biggest share of mind on media. But there is an issue which we should carefully look at and address. It is silently cropping up and affecting hundreds of youngsters in the country.

It is a known fact that India is a nation obsessed with fair skin and beauty products. Every person is supposed to look “Fair and Lovely” which in itself is degradation to the concept of beauty. Beauty is a concept which we, as a nation, usually misinterpret. Because beauty essentially is not supposed to be put in boxes of fair, thin, slim or tall. It is supposed to be diverse, vibrant and universal. So a particular skin colour should not be taken as ideal or a particular body type should not be taken as the benchmark of perfection. But we do realize now that we have failed in keeping a tap on the perceptions being built by these brands in the minds of people.

These days kids as young as twelve are visiting cosmetologists to get their skin colour a few shades lighter or to correct a certain feature of their face. They are so overwhelmed by what they see on television that they begin to take their appearance a little too seriously. So much so that when they look in the mirror they see everything that is not “perfect” according to the set standards of the society and look for ways to enhance or change it. But a lot of this is also happening due to peer pressure.

Fat shaming or skinny shaming is a common phenomenon these days which pushes kids to look a certain way. If they do not fit into the set shape or size, they feel low on confidence. This affects their psychology and makes them feel that they are not perfect. They try everything that their young mind can decipher to change the way they look and in most cases end up harming themselves and doing more harm than good.

Firstly, nobody is supposed to be perfect. We all are blessed with different skin tones, body types and features in order to enjoy this diversity. Take a minute and join me in imagining that we all looked the same. As bizarre as it sounds to you, you need to also tell me, would any of us really like it that way? We all are different and that is the best way to be.

I urge you right now to stop treating yourself like some model you see on television. Let me also break a myth for you. Most of the pictures that you see on billboards and your television screens in advertisements are Photoshopped and colour corrected. So trust me; you are trying to achieve something that is not even real. The same goes for social media platforms. They usually tell you to not believe everything you read on the internet.

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Henari Shah
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Henari Shah

Henari Shah, currently working with Zee Unimedia Ltd., Mumbai, is a post-graduate in Marketing. She is a trained Bharatnatyam dancer and a travel junkie who loves to explore new places. She believes in the concept of carpe diem which is to seize the day and live each moment to the fullest.