Long legs, blue eyes, jet black hair and fair skin- How many of you pictured a man while reading these words? My guess is probably none. I mean, this is not how you generally describe a man is it?  This shallow description of a person is only limited to the females and it is only this side of the gender which is reduced to the double standards set by our beautiful society.

Beauty has become like any other assembly line,
a mass produced good- specific and homogenous.

Since the beginning of time, it seems that a woman usefulness is always reduced down to her beauty or her ability to cater to a man’s need. Years and years of history has constantly taught us that the role of a woman is to cook and clean while it is the man who goes out to provide for the family.

Many might argue that the sexist gender roles dictated to us has been shattered and with technology and advancement has come the new age- an age where women are not reduced to being “just a pretty face”. Women are no longer just mothers and wives but scientists, entrepreneurs, engineers and astronauts.

While it seems like women have been able to break the stigma surrounding their inability to be better at something other than cooking and cleaning, has anyone noticed the new way of putting a girl down, which includes evaluating every single detail about her appearance and finding nothing but flaws?

What is the true definition of beauty?

There is no perfect answer to that question other than the fact that the definition of beauty varies from person to person. What is beautiful to one might be ugly to some and this is exactly how it should be. The fact that people will have different perspectives is natural and that is what breaks the whole idea of putting beauty in a square box and expecting every single female to fit inside it.

However, with increasing communication and integration of cultures and societies, it seems as if beauty has become like any other assembly line, a mass produced good- specific and homogenous.

Take for example, the princess stories we’ve grown up with; be it Cinderella, Snow White or Princess Jasmine, one common characteristic between all of them is that these princesses have perfect skin, perfect hair and are only bothered with finding the love of their life. Even with the movies we watch or the books we read, which have a female protagonist, it has always been made clear that the “heroine” MUST BE DROP DEAD GORGEOUS.

She could be running through the woods or coming out of a burning building, but God forbid her hair does not look blow dried or her face does not look ready to be photographed for a magazine cover. The heroine might be going through the worst possible life tragedy imaginable but she must have pink lips and rosy cheeks. The media, sometimes consciously or unconsciously, has continuously glorified the fact that a woman must look or behave a certain way in order for those dramatic and beautiful things to happen to her, the kind of things we see in the movies.

Now the problem does not lie in making “appearance” the focus but the main issue is trying to put boundaries on the different ways a person can be beautiful. The problem with the world today is that it has now set such ridiculous and illogical definitions about how each feature of a woman should be, that every woman is left feeling dissatisfied about the way they look, no matter how gorgeous or otherwise they might be.

The Complexion

Be it the dolls we play with or the movie stars we see, every “beautiful” woman has to have perfect porcelain skin. White like snow with rosy pink cheeks, anything otherwise is downright unattractive. No care given to the origin or the diversity of culture, be it a black woman, Hispanic woman or Asian woman, she must have perfectly radiant and spotless white skin. Men will groove to the beats of Beyonce or Rihanna, or Naomi Capmbell could be THE most celebrated model in the history, according to the movies, only the “white girl” gets the “husband” at the end. The Asian or the black girl is merely the supporting actress while the white girl gets the happy ending.

The Hair

“You cut your hair so short, you look like a boy”- most girls have heard this sentence at least once in their lives, after a particularly bad haircut from the hairdresser. Why can’t a woman have short hair? Who decides the appropriate length of hair for women and who decides which is desirable and which is not? Just because Rapunzel had long hair which she threw down for her prince to climb up, does it mean that every woman should have a head full of bouncy curls or sleek black hair to be considered pretty? The phrase “dumb blonde” is obviously known to all and this describes how women with blonde hair are usually considered to be stupid. Another example of how easily a woman is judged by the color of her hair.

The Body

Body shaming is perhaps one of the cruelest discoveries of this generation. Body shaming is criticizing a woman purely based on how her figure looks. A human being’s body structure is something they cannot control. It seems as if the whole world is consciously ignoring that not every woman is built the same way and no matter how much they starve themselves or how many hours they spend in the gym, the so called “desired body shape” is not achievable by all. It is painfully true that if you make a woman feel bad about even an extra inch of weight on her body, she will drive herself to the point of insanity to change it and make herself a little bit more “perfect”. Desirable women on screen have always been portrayed one of two ways, either hauntingly skinny or perfectly curvy with the 36-24-36 measurements. There is no in-between and if you do not fit those sizes, your body is just not good enough.

This is the bad news. Every single individual around you will try to put you in their own definition of right and wrong, attractive or unattractive, interesting or uninteresting. It’s deeply sad that women tend to put their happiness in someone else’s hand by trying to fit the society’s definition of “perfect”. The good news is: YOU CAN STOP. YOU CAN CHUCK THE BOX.

Why should anyone get to dictate to a woman about the way she looks and why should she put the power in anyone but herself, to make her feel beautiful from the inside out? By choosing to simply ignore baseless criticisms and downright REFUSING to be “PERFECT”, women can chose the path to a happier and satisfied life.

Why listen to the 50 fashion magazines asking you to lose those last five pounds? Why wear uncomfortable heels to make your butt seem bigger or your legs seem longer? Why put yourself through misery just to mould yourself a certain way when at the end of the day you will still find one other thing to be dissatisfied about yourself?

Life is too short to be wasting time cutting your
wings, just because the fish said the sea is more

Regardless, a certain positive shift is also revealing itself gradually with time, as we see more diversity about the standards of beauty around this world. While designers are choosing more unique models, even Disney is coming up with ethnic princesses. The world is tentatively moving towards a direction where the beauty of a woman is not totally specified and is more open to diversity. It is on each and every individual woman to make the choice of whether they reduce themselves to the society’s standards or put their foot down and celebrate their imperfection and uniqueness.

by Aurapouts