A beautiful author once said,
“The definition of Beauty is complex and infinite. It is not defined by the shape of your body, your appearance, You define your own beauty.”
It gives me a great sense of happiness that there are so many open conversations about Beauty & Body standards now, however we have a long way to go.
Having been subjected to it myself enough times and now more than ever as I run a brand that sells skincare now, the number of people that have wept their hearts about how they are just ready to do anything to get ‘fairer’ or ‘whiter’ has really disheartened me.
I am sure all of us at some point have been subjected to “Oh, haven’t you gotten too fat?” “Oh, itni patli hogayi hai, hawa ke jokhe se ud jaegi (Oh you’re so thin, the wind can carry you)” , “Oh, I think you should apply some Besan, if your skin colour isn’t fair, who will marry a dark skinned person!” and the likes of those comments that have long lived in this society that a lot of people don’t even consider them problematic sometimes.
Back in 1993, My Husband and I met with a gruesome accident in order to save a small girl from getting injured. The windscreen of the car got broken and all the glass pieces came on my face. We were rushed to the hospital. Since it was a Sunday, we somehow managed to arrange a doctor who agreed to do my surgery and we landed with 93 stitches on my face.
When they first removed the bandages from my face in order to show me my face, I was taken aback. I couldn’t see myself in the mirror. I had such clear skin but this had left me devastated. The constant looks of the family, friends and often strangers, devalued my confidence so much. I dreaded looking at my face for the longest time. However, with the support of my mother, I started slowly building up my confidence again.
Now that we have a skin and hair care brand, I have been exposed to a whole new number of people asking for “Whitening” products and every time we read that word, my daughters and I, sigh deeply before even opening that message. It’s disheartening that these are young girls, boys, women and men and we feel horrible about it. We feel the pain and sorry about the circumstances that person has been subjected to that has led to the person arriving at a stage where they can’t accept their natural shape, size or colour.
Our first rule is to tell them, we don’t have “whitening” in Mommy’s kitchen or heart. We can help them with self care products that will make them feel refreshed or fight daily skin care issues like sun tans or burns or dirt or other 100 things that happen due to climate, weather or just general lack of care, we can’t change the colour of one’s skin.
My daughters are dusky too, the elder one is subjected to, “your height is short, and you are also dusky, you weigh a little bit more, if you reduce it, you might look better, otherwise you may face troubles getting married.”
The younger one is too thin, so she gets subjected to “You should eat more and gain some weight, you look like an incense stick. Gain some weight and work on your colour, apply some milk or besan, no, you’ll look amazing”.
It has taken me several pep talks with the girls to respectfully fight back these comments. Constant reminders that beauty lies within the eyes of the beholder and a person’s character is built by the work one does and not by shape, size, colour of your skin. But, you see the point, either way the society isn’t happy. I have clearly told my daughters to be fit in whatever shape or size they are in but only and only out “SHINE” in their skills and not try to outdo their naturally gifted self. There is no way you can please anyone and there is no need to do that to begin with. There’s only one person you need to please everyday and that is and should be you, YOURSELF, You’re beautiful in your own individual way and you’re capable of doing so much that counts to make you a better person and trust me shape, size and colour doesn’t come in any of that. Make your confidence your superpower and do not not let anyone demean you. Allow you to define YOU!
About The Author
Ritu Bhansali is founder of Everything Mom Made – a skin care band. She loves to keep it natural and really vouches for “No makeup makeup look”. Mother of three crazy kids who wants her to learn how to scold or be angry without laughing. Ritu is Fun but sensitive and very open to learning new things.