Beauty’s toxicity?

by Shuvechha Ghimire

Why are the standards of beauty being imposed upon women? Is it necessary to look as thin, as fair and as bronzed as the models of either Fashion TV or Flo Rida’s music videos? Why is beauty being gendered?

 Beauty is found everywhere even in the deep wrinkles of an elderly woman to a subtle charm in boyish shaped body of a young girl. The dilemma is not that one wants to achieve the standards of beauty prescribed by the fashion industry but of the obsession with the standardized beauty and surrendering compliance with the consumerist’s economy of the fashion market.  The ‘fashion-obsessed-lifestyle’ amongst other lifestyles (political, social) is one of the most attractive, consumer-lugging, fastest growing and skyrocketing standard of living and to comply with it completely one needs a huge amount of monetary saving security.

 If you lose those last few pounds, you can have it all- an ideal family, perfect children, impeccable marriage, amazing sex and a flourishing profession- this is what is preached in those glossy, semi-nude-women covered, sleek pages of Women’s Magazines.

 One can find reflection of female bodies everywhere, selling every possible thing from a tooth-pick to a condom, from rice to cars. As absurd as it should seem, women are an equal participant in the commercials relating products mainly consumed by men like men’s shaving lotion, men’s deodorant, men’s underwear. They are made to lean and yearn in a posture that symbolizes sensuousness and is used to titillate the viewers by exposing the female body.

 These women on the magazines’ cover or in the commercials with the perfect skin tone and the perfect body impose standards of beauty on the average people which is a highly challenging task for some. This thus, leads to unhealthy living (low food diet, disordered eating), engaging in self destructive behavior like cutting themselves, smoking, drinking while feeling bad about themselves.

 As early as toddler-hood  the young girls are increasingly promoted in lines of beauty along with thinness as being an essential criterion for good looks. It becomes a vital issue for women all over to define who she is individually and grasp her sense of beauty, now that the media controls the psyche of women altering the definition of her internalized beauty. We need to stop being superficially image-conscious and learn to accept and acknowledge who and how we really are rather than forcefully imposing and surrendering to the standards of beauty prescribed by the skyrocketing consumerists vogue market.

Shuvechha completed her Masters in Sociology from Jawaharlal Nehru University (India) in 2012 and is working at Interdisciplinary Analysts, Nepal as a research associate.

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  1. Somehow i don’t even understand this entire farce about being beautiful or not being beautiful. Why is there so much of pressure? why are we so bothered? i see people(more women than me) judging and classifying women(beautiful, pretty, cute…). somehow, i find it hard to even judge and then classify as it really does depend – one day, someone looks pretty, other day she doesn’t so now i just leave the attempt…it doesn’t even matter! the reality is that we all look “ugly” when we wake up… n our “better halfs” will have to accept that. so.. *peace*

    p.s.: i agree with you.

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