Why does our heart go out to beauty?
Think of a little white puppy with floppy ears and big eyes. The protective instincts flare up in all their glory. We instantly imagine ourselves to be the savior of the little one in need of love and keep him away from life’s vagaries and whims. But what if instead of a cute little puppy it is a woman. Not beautiful by standards defined by society. Maybe dark skinned. Maybe fat. Maybe with a scar on her face and graying wispy hair with no make up. Our first reaction is repulsion at the perceived ugliness. Second is of judgment.. she ‘let herself go’. And the third is indifference. The puppy maybe rabid with the capacity to kill and the woman may be the kindest person you ever met. Or she could be very rich and beneficial to you if you were to be nice to her. But a quick judgment call is made.
What irks me most is, we do agree there is beauty in the wrinkles of our mom’s hands. Or there’s beauty in an arid desert landscape. Or in a wild thunderstorm. Or a snow covered mountain. A sunny day with blue skies and fluffy clouds is beautiful. A snowy day is beautiful and a wet day in Venice is equally beautiful. Even a pug is considered adorable. Nature with her inconceivable antiquity and incredible and inhabitable extremes manages to make herself beautiful to us. In all her forms. Then why are the standards so stringent and narrow minded when it comes to human beauty and then especially physical beauty for women? Everything in nature is considered exquisite. Everything that tries to mar it is ugly. Then how come we have the exact opposite standards for ourselves. Everything that we are born with, we are hell bent on changing.
It’s not something that I talk about but something needs to be said. Only so that I can put it behind me. (Did you forget, it’s all about me! :D) Well, I had the worst classmates in engineering college. We were about 5 girls in a class of 60 with the rest of them being mean spirited, competitive guys. And I was the butt of relentless jokes. In all forms. Why? Because I was not one of the pretty girls. So I did not hold the attraction. So what to do with me? But make fun. I had a friend tell me that no guy will ever date me. And as a starry eyed 19 year old, it was quite a devastating statement coming from someone who was among my favorite people up until then. But times change, we grow up and things change. I learnt to forgive the careless remarks. What I never learnt was to forgive myself for being something less than what a woman is expected to be. And to actually realize that what he said was his opinion, not the truth. All the way up till now.
And now, I don’t care. I refuse to live by the ideals that society forces upon women. More often by women themselves. I refuse to have body image issues. I refuse to feel inferior to anyone else because I don’t fit in the cultural definition of beauty.
I get one life to live. It’s wonderful. And I refuse to let so-called social definitions to ruin it for me in any way..
PS: I have had this post in my draft box for a couple of days now. Worried whether I am sharing too much. Especially because a lot of people who I know in real life read this blog. But to hell with it. And as a disclaimer, I am not sad or depressed or dealing with self-esteem issues. I am just plain angry that I let this bother me for so long.