What comes to your mind when I say “beautiful woman?” A woman with flowing hair and skin so fair and smooth on a figure so perfect, like the ones you can only find on the ramps of the best fashions shows? Anything apart from the above or rather different from above description is not even considered in the league. Not many realise this but there is a definition that has been created, not by us though? But it still exists.
The beauty industry started gaining pace in the 90s. They knew they had to target two most important factors of our lives – beauty and aging. They play with the desires of all to look attractive and youthful. They are well aware and well researched that the demands for products that enhance appearance and make people appear more youthful will never fail and so neither will their businesses.
Everything around us i.e. TV, online shopping sites, digital advertisements, hoardings, magazines, newspapers, beauty pageants – all of these are continuously bombarding us with images of flawless women. We all know they wear heaps of make-up and most of these images are photo-shopped, but what can we do about it? We humans are visual people and manufacturers play with our psychology to sell their products. They create such impressions on our minds that leave a lasting impact and sometimes even influence our thoughts and choices. Hence we can say that all the definitions are created by media, advertising and celebrities. But do we really need to fall prey to them?
We all form an image about our physical selves and about our body that is called body-image. I am so huge. I have fat arms. I have huge shoulders. I have narrow legs. I have horrible acne. I am short. I have large thighs. I am dark. I have a bulging belly. Have you ever thought how did you decide that you are xyz? On what basis did you decide so?
A voluptuous girl is made to think she is fat i.e. abnormal, and almost stigmatised to such an extent – “you will not get a good job or husband, people will ignore you. If she has pimples, she may not have friends because people will not talk to her.” That’s the influence of advertisements. So, obviously her image about her body will go down. She will think why is my body like this? Why can’t my body support me? I dislike myself because I am not one of those?
Something similar happens with men who are anorexic or obese. This is called a negative body image which is directly related to the person’s self-esteem which is related to self-confidence. If an individual isn’t happy with their own body, they can never be happy with themselves. Anywhere they go, whatsoever they do they are always conscious about how their body looks and if it’s performing correctly.
There is nothing against grooming, weight loss or any other products or services. Rather with globalisation, the world has become smaller. Indians are doing business with different countries and coming into contact with people all over the world. So rather, being groomed and well-dressed is important because it’s a proven fact that people make first impressions in 3-5 seconds of meeting so one, especially strangers. So the decision of making or breaking the deal largely depends on our first impressions. There’s nothing wrong in making the best out of what we have. But why portray only skinny women and muscular men? Why create stereotypes or rather insert fear in people? Are we really progressing this way?
About Priya Kanakia Shah
Priya is a certified image consultant and founder of Bespoke Image Solutions. Priya specialises in image management offering modules including creating personal style, body shape, wardrobe evaluation and closet organisation. Priya believes in creating a personal style that is unique, authentic and true to one’s own self.
Priya is also co-founder at The Holis Tree, which looks at holistic development of individuals using life changing education based on life skills. Priya also loves writing about social issues in India, parenting, relationship building and career development. She feels writing is a very strong tool which can change the mind-set of individuals.
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