What is Beauty? – Guest Post by Puja Mehta

Note: Hi all – Please allow me to introduce you to Puja Mehta, a young student who contacted us for a guest post spot on Deranged Writers as part of her university assignment. We’re happy to have her sharing her article here on the blog and wish her all the best in her task.

I hope you all will give her a warm welcome too.

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Since we women have come so far, it’s almost pathetic for us to feel bonded to age old tradition. So this message is for ladies all over the world, be your own beautiful! You are the only one who can define your self worth. Your minor imperfections are what make you perfect. Break free from all bondage and conquer the world.

Plus size modeling careers, Pinterest pages as well as magazines such as the “plus size style and beauty” dedicated to these beautiful models as well as articles showing great respect to models who switched from “straight size” to plus to improve their health and “their grip on reality”. Stereotypes being broken about “black actresses not making it big”. I was certain that the concept of superficial “beauty” was changing, and people were genuinely growing out of this phase I switched on the television to stand corrected.

I was swamped by adverts pursuing me to pick up the latest BB creams, celebrities revealing their own “secrets” by the help of the latest bleach creams or even some new happening make-up cover up. They seem to be not only convincing me to buy them but assure me that with the help of these, I will undoubtedly get clear, glowing skin with no fear of getting any blackheads or pimples back. Though it is never directly shown in these TV adverts, they are in fact pointing out our “ugliness”.

We begin to question our own abilities and mostly our physical appearance as we are brought to down to the petty thought to believe that this is our only way of help, to be accepted in society and hence over all succeed in life. No doubt, the media do play an extremely important part in our lives and do manage to convince a lot of women into believing their not beautiful but I think its time for somebody to take a stand and realize its principally wrong.

Today’s TV commercials are a threat to the sovereignty and self-respect of today’s women and are just reinforcing the agents of Patriarchy in our so-called modern world.

Jean Kilbourne is an author, filmmaker who is widely recognized for her work on Advertisings image of women. Recently, I heard her speech on the same on YouTube a lot of what she said could be co related to today’s times. Kilbourne’s analytical study of models as well as Photoshop shows us the ugly side of what is ‘beautiful’. She show speaks of Anna Reston who not very long ago was told off being too fat eventually starved herself to death and she wasn’t the only one. For something so drastic I am sure I wont be the only one pointing the severity of this. Her most important point would be that since a young age, we women are taught that it is extremely “normal” to spend hours and money to make our self “beautiful”.

It is this point that the media plays on, as they are constantly coming up with “solutions to our many problems”. I remember last year, when I emptied my bag from London I found so many products that I was sure I wouldn’t use and that’s what made me realize that unknowingly I had fallen into this as well. It is almost as if the Feminist movement died in vain. We are only falling back into the trap of Patriarchy. I say its dead because today it’s more like women don’t want equality. The most common examples of women choosing to be treated more differently then men are in relationships and work. 7 out of 10 women expect men to ask them out, buy them dinner, give them more flexible work timings (simply because they are women) and even for men to the only ones that work after marriage. I saw a fairness advert very recently about a fair skinned girl being considered over a slightly darker skinned girl. It’s not only an infringement against people’s rights but it just creates one more difference.

In today’s world of uncertainty, where women choose to challenge patriarchy by enforcing their rights, challenging violence against women, how is it normal for us to accept this type of un fairness? What’s more disappointing is that in the advertising industry there is believed to be more women then men! If you include the advertising world, the people shaping your media messages are 60 % female, compared to 47 %of the overall workforce, according to data compiled for The Atlantic by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

Finally, after years of struggle we women have shown to be if not more, as capable as men so why let society tell us what’s beautiful or not? This particular advertisement enforces the fact that inner beauty, talent is dead but as long as outer beauty is attained with these products success is guaranteed. We can be sure of the fact that how ever old we get ‘beauty” will never fade as long as they keep coming up with new products for all age groups.

We need to stop being so insecure about ourselves and understand that in order for us have brighter futures with no doubts of equality we must be confident of who we are and not let foolish things make us feel belittled. I realize this is easier said then done, because this would include breaking years of social conditioning which tells us that society judges us on beauty hence we must excel on that front but the sooner we realize that this idea of “choice” given to us for these products and supposed after effects of the same isn’t the freedom we want the more fulfilling our lives would be.

~*~

About the author:

Puja Mehta is originally from Bombay, India, and currently in her last year studying Media and Cultural Studies at the London College of Communications. This article is part of a current module ‘Writing for the media.’

She chose to write on the portrayal of beauty in media as she sees girls in society with low self esteem and lacking confidence simply because they do not think they are beautiful enough. Encountering this phenomena often with her female friends, Puja realized that this issue exists everywhere. This is her effort at reminding women and girls to be their own beautiful.

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The views in the article belong to the author and do not necessarily and/or in their entirety reflect those of the Deranged Writers.

If you’re interested in writing a guest post for us, send us an email on derangedwriters@gmail.com

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5 thoughts on “What is Beauty? – Guest Post by Puja Mehta

  1. very interesting!when i was almost to smash men,thinking they are the ”source of all evils”,hence ,they are those who complaint about ”sizes”,i didn’t thought that women too belongs to ”complaint peoples”.but,still, in all our struggle to be 90/60/90 ,the main target is HE,whatever is the husband,the boyfriend,the boss,the neighbour or the pool boy. but we didn’t look like a wolf in front of a sheep when we saw a Brad Pitt,or ,like in my time, Alain Delon or Paul Newman?
    Good Luck and many articles!

    Like

  2. hi puja, iam priya – I work in the Middle east and iam a mother of two girls – my vocabulary is not too good and hence I always limit my comments to bare minimum. If you ask Anne, she would say that arjuhisis is an ardent follower of this blog and is a regular commenter with minimum words.
    But after reading your article, I have made up my mind that I should not shy away from my insecurities of my vocabulary.
    I completely agree with each and every word written in this article and salute you for this guest post
    all the very best to you puja
    anne, thx for giving your readers an opportunity to read puja’s awesome post

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Warmest welcome Puja , bravo to your strong and powerful voice.

    This is a very important issue which exists infront of our eyes, all around and yet we seem to overlook or prefer to live in the bliss of ignorance.

    What is beauty? – Even this innocuous question would invite varied answers all across- for some it might be an emotion, physical trait ,the inner spirit and many more so why do we bother with other’s perception in-terms of something like Beauty which is so abstract and subjective.

    Is it because somewhere we have used it as a power-play, a distinguishing trait to segregate one human from another. White-Black, Fat-thin… , hence the bifurcation on the basis of Beauty with a set of social nomenclatures and perceptions for some sort of validation.

    Women who are already caged and made to believe in being the weaker gender fall victim to the trappings of this socially approved version of Beauty. Maybe because for them it becomes all about the survival of the most “beautiful” one. The one who adheres with the set requirements for beauty -wins the round and is sparred the social pity , shaming and has her own power to play.

    This breeds insecurity .

    The “beauty industry” profits off on negative self-esteem , insecurities and body image of many women. The constant feeding of a certain type of photoshopped, manufactured image which in unattainable creates a permanent impression in the minds of consumers .
    Some will take to unhealthy lifestyle to get the size zero Kate Moss figure, or finish tube after tube for whitening their skin.
    Media uses this nexus very well to their advantage. They capitalize on the need for validation in humans and the basic insecurities. They communicate the message un-apologetically, playing the role of 4th state to perfection . Be it through shows, music, magazines, adverts – the unattainable standard is well and truly circulated . It’s a cycle- consumer, producer and the messenger- demand & supply.

    The only way out is to accept who we are and how we look. Our flaws might be the greatest asset for another, unless we are not comfortable in ourselves , we would struggle, be coaxed and finally will give in . it’s not an easy battle, but the one which we will have to fight ourselves and foremost – with ourselves. Will we stop judging others on our criteria of beauty- think that should be the start , right?

    Having said that there is no harm in fawning over that Mac red lipstick or L’Oreal kajal, wear them, buy them because you want to and not because sporting them will make you seem more beautiful to others.

    The moment , the product or a look overpowers and start hiding the basic identity – time to realize that something is off . Step back, chant – “I am sexy (beautiful) and I know it”… with that walk away.

    Phew, Puja, this was such a well-written thoughtful article , I hope more women and men too , realize how we are all being trapped in human segregation in the name of beauty. Media needs to find it’s own independent voice and regulate the limits to which it is used as a messenger for breeding insecurities .

    Honestly Tolstoy said it best, “It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness.”

    Thanks DW- Anne , Chani for introducing Puja to us, this message needs to be heard and internalized by everyone. One small step and many leaps to follow…

    Hugs and love

    Like

    1. While Puja has to be appreciated for bringing the focus on the way advertisements promote an unattainable concept of the ideally accepted woman, I am all for charminggenie’s perspective on it. Advertisements exploit this low self-esteem most women have, to their advantage….but it is up to the woman to comprehend what constitutes her personality & decide accordingly.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Very well written article Puja…
    No doubt now we all want perfect body and complexion and skin. Beauty now meams fair and glowing skin, shiny hair and perfectly tonned body. if u have a little fat on u it means u r F.A.T. People will tease u and what not. Same goes with color which made people mad to resolve this issue. Remedies r exchanged and sometimes they r so drastic that they cause death. (one such incident happened when a girl consumed vinegar for some time on an empty stomach n died just to lose her weight). I wont say being plus size is a crime but its not good for health (i myself m fat) so if u want to reduce it dont do it to please others eyez do it for ur own self. Other than that every person is perfect. Its the fault of society which has these attributes fixed for beauty. Then what u said abt women wantimg to b equal to men yet at some things they want THAT special treatment. We want to b eaual to men yet there are things where we want them to behave with us. But asking for our rights at some points doesn’t make us male does it. I won’t mind pay for our date (if I go on one) but I simply can’t lift him in air if he says yes to marry me 😀
    well I totally agree to u what u said just a little difference of approach from my side. Well I being a girl agreed to what you sakd but when commenting my thoughts went to a number of actors and actresses I like or liked coz of their looks (beauty or handsomeness).. then I saw where our thoughts or rather the subject of this post conflicted was ur subject was just focused on beauty of women but I would say its not only women whose complexion, height, hair and overall physique the society worry abt. its men too. Its the fault of our society which has such strict norms for beauty which is all abt the physical appearance. The craziness to participate and win the race is no doubt boosted by media and ads where 98% contribution to the said beauty is adobe photoshop. Very nicely written post and thank you DW for providing a platform to get to know thoughts of fellow follower. lits of love to u both Anne and Chani

    Like

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