Does beauty really lie in the eyes of the beholder?

Most Indians (North, South, West or East) see being fair as being beautiful, and it’s common to see a light skinned person being described as good looking – sometimes  even if they don’t fit into conventional standards of beauty.

But what’s unfortunate is when a reasonably good looking, dark skinned woman describes herself as ugly, and actually believes it. This can become a self fulfilling prophecy because confidence is generally attractive (no matter what we are traditionally taught about being self effacing). Lack of confidence can be unattractive. An inferiority complex can make one bitter and resentful too. (Not attractive).

And yet how does one feel confident about how one looks when one is constantly being reminded (not necessarily directly) that one doesn’t fit into the standard definitions of beauty? After all beauty is supposed to lie in the eyes of the beholder?

Indian girls risk their health to avoid skin darkening. Wholesome sports and outdoor activities are seen as ‘bad for skin’. How is this obsession with fairness any different from corsets, feet binding, elongated earlobes, and you can never be too rich or too thin‘ /‘nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’?

One hears about accepting and loving oneself the way one is – but how does one do that in a world so obsessed with how one looks on the outside and its standardized yardsticks of what is beautiful?

Should self acceptance depend upon how intelligent or how kind or how qualified one is? Because then that becomes another restriction. How does it matter how fast you run or how well-read you are? Acceptance would be being comfortable in one’s skin – no matter how thin, fat, dark, fair, tall, short, rich, poor, popular, or ‘ordinary’ one is.

Did you ever eat more or less, not because it affected your health, but because it affected how you looked and how the world saw you? I have blogged about this before – what would you have done or not done – and how would your life, health, happiness,confidence level been different if being beautiful (in the eyes of the world) was not as much of a concern?

Do you think that darker skins or thinness make a bigger difference to how a person looks than their attitude?

Do you know women who are not thin and/or not fair and look good? And finally, can the world like us if we do not like ourselves?

Related posts:

What makes a woman look beautiful?

Beauty without cruelty.

“How would your life be different if you never had to give a thought about how you looked?”

Fair and Lovely meets Fair and Handsome.
So why do some women judge other women?

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44 thoughts on “Does beauty really lie in the eyes of the beholder?

  1. Thin/fatness or fair/dark skin doesn’t make any difference as such. But, it probably plays a psychological role, albeit small, in the way we perceive other people. We tend to like to talk with fairer people than with their darker counterparts, even if we consciously don’t wish to differentiate between them.

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  2. Been there – done it – bought the tee and Torn it too …

    I use to think that way but not anymore and yes it bring down confidence a lot .. again been there But now It does not bother me , I am fat for some – Athletic for some- healthy for some .. THEIR problem .. I eat -drink what i want or feel WHen i want to …

    and yes you can see how people beahve , I can see people who will talk to someone more handsome or good liooking then me , even if we are in a group but not with me …

    How would it be different well for a change I would have applied for a job much earlier which i applied later on and been something .. I did not apply for police when i have initially come here to uk thinking I was not fit .. by the time i got the confidense I have lost on a couple of things and then i repneted because I was much better Fitter then FIT … and am Better then 80% out there .. So yes it use to matter .. Not anymore …

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  3. I am tall, fair and overweight. and I am lazy most times to work out regularly. Often people tell me [ read guys] , am perfect wife material , being so well read , and kind natured and blah blah .. but they will not consider em an option ever since I am not thin. I do not fit the rules of being beautiful .. how do i feel about it ? Often I don’t care. I am what I am .. If i ever have to make a change, I want to do it for myself and not to be accepted by some guy .. Do i stick to this ? No .. ’cause unless I change how I look, my parents are going to have trouble finding a groom for me. No matter if i am actually better than many others to run a family , I can not have a family unless some oen approves how I look ! am i bitter about it ? totally yes ! Am upset with whoever makes this social norms of beauty for others.. But also I do not have anything to do against it .. [ I did try to not care and be the way I am ,, but concern in mother’s eyes makes me all the more guilty and sad ]

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  4. I used to face this whole “fair=beautiful” and because I am dark skinned, I was automatically labeled as ugly. This was when I was little. I grew up thinking I was ugly until common sense and better judgement prevailed!!

    It used to matter, back in school, but as the years went by and I saw more and learnt more, it has stopped bothering me. It still hurts sometimes, but, I have learnt to let it go and not be bothered with some random person’s comments!

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  5. It is so sad when we meet attactive people who believe that they are ugly because they are dark. I remember a couple, where the husband would call his wife, ‘Kaali’, and she would shrug it off saying that he always wanted a ‘gori’ wife, but had to settle for her. She sounded so resigned to her fate. And so many women believe that they look unattractive becuse they are dark. Someone I know, took her baby to doctors because she was ‘dark’. I can’t help wonder what complexes she will grow up with.

    To be thought unattractive by society, and growing up believing it, must do terrible things to their confidence 😦

    And I realized during my last holiday in India, that no matter how much we try to insulate our daughter from such concepts of ‘dark, ‘fair,’ beautiful’, ‘ugly’, etc, she will stil lget exposed to them. We were at a friend’s place and she ended up watching TV. One of the commercials which came on was for ‘fair and lovely’. She picked up from watching that ad, that one would become more ‘beautiful and white’ if we used that cream 😦

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  6. I grew up with a biased attitude ‘cuz of how I was treated in my maternal family. I was born extremely fair. In a family of mostly wheatish to dark skinned people, it was a celebration. I can’t explain it, but I was treated special wherever I went because of my color. Or that’s what I felt. I didn’t think I was beautiful because at my own home, my father gave me the complete opposite view. He thought I was ugly, skinny…and pointed out every little imperfection in my body frequently enough to have it ingrained in my brain…I had to work a lot to look beautiful.
    Sincerely I did put in a lot of hard work…I prayed with all my heart every day, every moment of my life ever since. I asked God to make me beautiful.
    I don’t know if I was born ugly or beautiful…I like to believe God listened to my prayers and gave me the understanding, the knowledge, the sensitivity and the eyes to find beauty….everywhere. I found babies – black or brown, yellow or white the most beautiful beings…I think if one really wants to find beauty, then all you need to do is look into a baby’s eyes. And if you want to find if you are beautiful, grab a baby picture of your’s and take a good look…what do you see, how do you feel? That’s who you are.

    It is said that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder because our soul looks out through them. I also believe that whenever our soul identifies, or finds a connection, a match with another soul, we find that person beautiful.

    I think beauty is a perception of the mind, sadly used as a weapon in the most despicable ways one can imagine.

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  7. The line that “beauty lies in the eye of the beholder” unfortunately cannot be generalized. It is too idealistic to be true. If it was true for majority of the masses, then the fairness creams and beauty industry would not have thrived, as they thrive today.
    What we can ensure that at least we, do not judge people based on the looks, and make sure that we ourselves are confident enough to carry ourselves the way we are.

    All my entire childhood, I have grown up seeing a person dearest to me in the whole wide world being ridiculed for her dark skin. And probably this is one of the reasons I ‘most of the times’ do not care about the way I look or what people think about the way I look/dress. I have learnt growing up that people who ridicule you about the manifestations/outward appearances are idiots. I mean seriously..how hard is it for people to mind their own business?!! It really beats me.

    I also *truly* believe that the people who really love you, and care for you do not go about telling you to look good, try and become fairer, not do the things you like because you might get tanned… They do not tell you anything other than being yourself and using your own brains to decide what you want to do. So with this belief, I find it pretty easy to filter out opinions and friendly advice I get.

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  8. I was always reminded that i am dark,it effected me a lot.I didn’t had confidence till i finished my post graduation.My job gave me confidence.My mom forced me to resign my marketing job cause that job will make me more darker and she has to get me married (boys prefer fair skin girl).I left my career when i was doing good just because i was dark,even after 10 years i regret that decision.There is constant free suggestions from people how to make my daughter fair…

    Now my daughter is constantly reminded that she is dark,i keep on telling her not to get affected by that.Sometimes she asks me why i am dark and why her sister is fair.We indians are crazy people who prefer fair skinned people,i many times faced that,now it doesn’t bothers me and i see that my daughter too wont get bothered…..

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    • You know we’ve all suffered at people’s perception of how we look and at some point of time…we all realize the constrictions we ourselves put in the way of appearing beautiful.

      I hope and wish we don’t make our kids suffer the same way as we did…but sadly the trend is still on. My mother screams in horror at the sight of my kids darkened skin every time she visits…my kids love swimming and at times swim 3-4 times a day during the summer. Well, I think what works the best is…whatever anyone says including members from my own family, if I don’t pick up the topic (ignoring the person and whatever they said with due respect to them) and completely reverse it by giving out a random compliment to my child or any other child (its not hard to compliment a child, is it?)…kids love and pay more attention to a genuine compliment than anything else. The more I do that, the more my kids believe, that for me, their skin color or any other physical imperfection doesn’t matter.
      The point is MY reaction makes a HUGE difference to her confidence.

      So I would plead to all parent who face this dilemma, not to react or make a big deal out of a question like ‘am I dark?’
      Say, ‘I donno what you r talking about darlin…I just LOVE the way your skin FEELS/SMELLS!’ 🙂

      And its not just girls who are subjected to color discrimination…remember we’ve a popular song ‘Yashomati maiyya se bole nandlala, radha kyon gori, main kyon kala!’

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  9. i dont like stereotypes. personally, i like ppl , not fair or thin or dark or fat. I like healthy ppl and hate being so fat myself. But thats just me. i wldnt judge fat in another person. Not as a conscious act of will, but .. thats how one is..there, end of confession time..

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  10. You know what…I have changed my dietary habits in the past because I wanted to get skinnier, and lose that paunch that comes post baby. I may still try to do things to get into a better shape. And in my head that will definitely make me look more attractive.

    But you know what the difference is? This exterior beauty is only a part of my personality, it does not define me or consume me. I do not think I am less/more smarter because of it. My self worth is not affected by it. Wanting to look attractive is a natural thing, but when people start making it to be the only thing they care about you, then it becomes an issue.

    Beauty, also, does lie in the eyes of the beholder. People for ages have thought that a certain kind of hair, skin, eyes or even height is more attractive. And we are all entitled to our preferences. But what is happening now is that we are told that we can consider only a certain type as beautiful. Then it no longer becomes a personal preference.

    The worst is when someone else’s preference becomes your benchmark for how you should look and then it takes over other parts of your life. In India, every day this is happening to women. Their self worth is based on this one thing that they cannot even control to some extent! And sadly most of this propaganda is pushed on to them by their own parents and relatives. I myself had to go through this because I was darker complexioned in my family despite a very fair father and a fair mom. I did not even realize it was an issue until relatives started coming up to my mom and giving her advice on how to make me fairer. Such people were laughed off, but somewhere it did affect me.

    When I got out of India, people I met would complement me on my lovely olive blemish free skin. First I was astounded that my skin / looks could elicit a compliment (yeah the power of conditioning!) but later on realized that beauty can have more than one definition. Previously I never thought of myself as pretty – but a few years distance from the “society” made me see differently. So much that during my wedding , when people commented that I was darker than my husband, I just felt sorry for those people. And then forgot about it.

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    • you said it all, clueless. The lines IHM has highlighted have to be read by all – it’s really okay to have a preference. But then, when a particular preference becomes the preference of the majority(like say, the preference for Tall/ Fair) and there is active campaigning for the rest to follow, won’t the minority automatically want to change themselves to fit in?

      For years, I believed that my dark skin was something that had to be “countered” with other “positive traits” like great grades, keen intellect etc. I grew up(thankfully) and today I have the maturity to laugh at myself. Today, I do not look up in surprise when someone thinks I’m pretty(I used to and was even suspicious of people who complimented me on my looks!)

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  11. I feel you can never be universally acceptable. And if you accept yourself, you would really not worry about not being accepted. So, whole problem is self non-acceptance. I think most of this “I need to get fairer” notion in teenage girls comes from the peer pressure of getting “noticed” or “attracted”. If one always requires external approval for most things, life will be miserable.

    It is a fact that the human eye gets attracted towards a fairer complexion. This means that a person of darker complexion will receive lesser attention. I guess this “less fair is less beautiful” complex is seen more in women than men. I have heard women remark on other women’s complexion more than men do.

    On a related note, I know women who work out longer, watch their diet to painful details etc. during the interim period between their engagement and wedding! The reason for this can surely not be the lack of being acceptable by someone. Relates back to requiring external approval for looks!

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    • I think the human eye might notice a darker skin more easily when/if all the other skins are lighter…?
      And I also feel that the men preferring to marry lighter skinned women is the reason why fairness became such a big deal.
      Men too face the skin color prejudice. Take a look at this ad that exploits this prejudice.

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  12. I think its absolutely critical that we deal with this issue in high school and before university. A lack of self-esteem in adolescence can have a great affect in participation in athletics and other activities throughout school and college. And success later on life depends quite a bit on such participation.

    “after controlling for age, height, region and family background, participation in athletics is associated with an 11.4 percent increase in adult wages, and participation in every club other than athletics is associated with a 5.1 percent increase in wages.” – From a study by three professors of economics at the University of Pennsylvania.

    We really dont want young women (or men) to enter college thinking that they are less capable because of their color, height, caste, gender whatever.

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  13. had always thought that academics would compensate for my dark skin.but it does not.
    nowadays,i become skeptical if a man shows interest in me since there are many slim and fair girls around.i also have to choose my attire with great care,for anything looks good on a fair girl,but a dark girl has to make an extra effort to look appealing.
    another thing-you can never tell if the a person is biased towards you because of your looks.’lookism’ has always existed and thrived.

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    • i liked ur comment, not bcs one likes your predicament.. but bcs.. well… confession time again.. i have the same phobia.. .it took a LOT of talking by my friends to make me realise that its OK to be not good looking.. bcs if u think u r good enough, it dont matter what others think.. and guess what? if u think u r ot good eough for urself, it STILL dont matter what others think.. but if u like urself,others will like u too..good chance, at least..

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  14. In India, I think the fascination with fair skin is a major problem which makes even the most pretty dusky girls look to some fairness cream or the other. And to top it, we have family members who vouch for some product or the other, and who pass on this new found knowledge to girl’s mothers. Unless the mother says that I think she is fine the way she is… the girl will never feel confident.

    This comes from the ex-fairness cream user. It was irritating at times, how my mother used to insist I put on Fair n Lovely everyday!

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  15. It’s actually strange how fair skin is considered a beauty ideal in places like India, while in the West (where most people are fair by default), tanned skin, or sometimes even the exact same dusky complexion that Indians abhor is often considered exotic and therefore attractive. In continental Europe, I’ve seen SO many people desperately applying large amounts of bronzer and foundation to their faces and complaining about how dreadfully pale they look! I think we are all drawn towards something *different* in our partners, something that sets them apart from the norm.

    Self-Worth is ENTIRELY different from physical beauty. There really is very little causal connection between them, because whether or not the newspapers, and magazines and Miss Universe judges realize it, beauty IS highly subjective. Anyone who takes reasonably good care of themselves is liable to look in the mirror and say “boy, I look good!”. Sometimes, even very beautiful people get bogged down by social prejudices and only see an ugly face in the mirror. That is because they use the social mirror to judge themselves. They do not see how they really are, they only see how others might see them.

    The social mirror is a cracked, damaged mirror. By some combination of chance, it might show you a nice image of yourself, but in the majority of cases, it will tell you that your ears are too small, or your nose is too large, or your skin is too dark, or that you are too fat, or that your eyes are too close together and so on.

    Unfortunately, we humans are programmed to look into a social mirror instead of a real mirror every time we look at ourselves. It takes a terrific effort of will and mental strength to overcome that programming and look at our real selves, free from the prejudices and inanities of social opinion. I so wish more people exhibited that strength, for then they would rip off the veils and cloaks that the social mirror forces upon them and realize how beautiful they really are, at least to the one person in the world who actually counts! 🙂

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  16. I was the ugly duckling in my family. I was always compared with my pretty cousins and that really took a toll on my self-confidence. I was wishing that I had that “something” (I was not really sure what it was) that made people notice me. But in my teens, I started to turn beautiful and people started noticing me. Over the years more and more people started to notice and that did help me to see myself as beautiful. But even though it felt good initially, I was not all that happy as much as I thought I would be with that attention. I could clearly see the shallowness of it all. I started to ignore those stares, because I knew that praise had no value, because what I had become on the inside was much more beautiful. I had developed compassion for those who didn’t fit the standards. Now even that feeling has matured. Whenever I meet a person, I don’t feel anything, neither that exaggerated appreciation for their beauty nor the compassion. Sometimes I see myself not even bothered very much by how the person is on the inside, I guess I am becoming more accepting. But I’ve always wondered what would have happened if I hadn’t started seeing myself as beautiful? Would I have grown bitter and resentful?
    Now when the complexion of my toddler is subjected to the same scrutiny I received, I am angered. I don’t want her to go through what I went through, but again I can’t change her circumstances, I can only help her develop that inner strength, to be happy with who she is and what she has.

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  17. I can totally relate to what you are implying being a dark skinned girl and having a very fair mother which makes it worse.I was also very skinny when I was young.There were so called well wishers who would ask my mom blatantly ” Why she is like this ? Dont you feed her anything?” Ofcourse from the very young age I understood they were not refering to my skinny look but dark skin.Not only my mom failed to protect me from such remarks and she also hinted that I was ugly.
    So there I was growing up totally insecure about my looks,never looking face to face and even forgot how to smile because once my mom told me the way I smile is idiotic (I dont know how a mother could tell such a comment to her daughter).Even now I cant smile or laugh freely 😦 .Othewise I was a brilliant student and healthy person who loved to read because i could escape to another world.During my teens I NEVER looked into a mirror fearing of the reflection even though there was nothing wrong about my face.
    When I reached my 20s I gained little self confidence while living in a students hostel seeing other girls laughing and enjoying their life and I understood its not their looks but the way one feel about herself brings joy.But soon this realisation vanished coz my parents began to look for a bridegroom and exhibiting the girl infront of the prospective bridegroom and his relatives began. I felt like a commodity being exhibited and every bit of my self esteem vanished because most of them didnt have a favorable response just because I was dusky (the funny thing was most of the grooms were themselves darker than me)The only drawback was my complexion other wise I was coming from a respectable upper middle class family with a postgraduation in science field.There were days I would pray to GOD let me die so that I dont have to face the world .I am not saying I was a dusky type with exceptionally good features but if I had been fair none of this would have been happened because FAIRNESS = BEAUTY.The biggest drawback I received was my own mother ingrained in my mind I was ugly.She still considers everything fair as beautiful.In all other respects she is a very good mom may be she doesnt realise what she has done to me.
    Fast forward,now I am in my thirties;married with two children(my hubby is very fair LOL) and the cycle repeats because my daughter (she is 6) got my genes in the complexion Dept and my son took on his father’s.Its now my daughter’s turn to ask why her brother is fairer than her and she is asking me ways to become fairer.I am trying my level best to assure her that she is the most beautiful thing on earth to me :-).We recently watched the Miss Universe finale and when the judges selected the final five contestants, I asked her casually who would win and she selected Miss China with the fair skin and with the ravishing red gown which made her even fairer.When the result came and Miss Angola won all I could see on my 6 yr old’s face was utter disbelief and the wise judgement “JUDGES ARE CRAZY”.The world hasnt changed. Sorry IHM i took out a loooot of ur space because I had to vent out my feelings somewhere and I stil havent got closure because I am ‘mentally scarred’ and still the wound opens up and hurts a lot.Again sorry IHM if this post is in inappropriate place.

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      • @ Shail ,thanks for your reply.Really feel guilty talking about my mom like that.Like I said, may be she didnt really mean it or may be she was
        in one of her mood swings when she said it.Nevertheless,the DAMAGE was done.Apart from that she is a wonderful mother who loves and works hard for her kids.The truth is that mothers should realise the effect such
        statements can bring in their children’s life.

        And beleive me ,this is the first time I am bringing this
        in open after 25 years of misery and getting a response.
        Thanks IHM for making this happen.

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  18. Humans have an inherent tendency to find spouses who will give their clan a survival advantage. Scientifically speaking pale skin in tropical climate is disadvantageous. Still it became sought after attribute probably because of the class divisions of our society. Upper class people became fairer as they had a sheltered life. Having a fair spouse implies (rightly or wrongly) elevation of ur class and better survival. Being little bit on the fat side was a sought after attribute previously to combat infections. It is like that even now in ‘Bharat’ compared to ‘India’.It was also a sign of upper class. With the surge of obesity related diseases not-being-fat has now become a ‘gud’ physical attribute for survival.

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  19. What a question. I’m not even sure it can be answered. I grew up being told how beautiful I was but at the same time being sung songs about the evils of being fat. I remember telling my gma that I didn’t want to be beautiful when I grew up and I meant it. I held that thought for years. I knew and still feel in my heart I would never want to be a beauty queen. Then as a teenager at a size 6 my muscular frame from working out so much was taken for fat and I was called fat and boys didn’t like me. When I aged and put on weight it ripped me apart. It took me years to realize that I was a good person, no matter my weight. I had to find things about myself I knew were good qualities and that others liked and learn to appreciate those things. Now my weight is going back down and people are commenting on my good looks but I don’t want them. I don’t want to be the center of attention, with it comes the hateful songs about the evils of being fat all over again. Its all stupidity. While being overweight may not be healthy for some, it does not make you ugly. What is inside of you is what makes you ugly/beautiful.

    I do know several beautiful women (inside and out) who are heavy. Some have freckles, some have voluptuous curves, and some have really bad skin or hair. But when you sit and talk with them and they laugh and smile you feel like life is good for a change. Life is fun and exciting when have conversations free from judgment and stress and just take the time to live. If the person sitting next to you while you’re living is heavy what right is it of yours to act like they are anything less than you are. You’re not the one who has to be heavy, or live with what they live with and they are not asking you to defend their right to life so get over yourself and stop thinking the world has to be what TV says it should be. Is your mind so small that you have to be told how to think by complete strangers who only want your money? Then I feel sorry for you.

    (Not you personally obviously, but the people who are passing judgment.)

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  20. Beauty truly lies in the eyes of the beholder. For the beholders to “see” that real beauty, they have to go beyond a decision making that depends entirely on a photograph, parents opinion or a 5 minute interview or even a few outings scenario.
    When people mingle (I mean boys/girls) and choose their own partners, such emphasis on totally ridiculous factors as fairness might take a backseat. More marriages will happen because people are comfortable with each other rather than color of skin. I have noticed that when people spend time with each other they tend to see beyond the ‘fairness factor’ (or any other ridiculous prejudice) and see the real beauty of that person.
    Beauty in conventional terms with all the features in right proportions, flawless skin or fairness gives,a good body… all may attract your notice at first. But after the first visual treat, then what?? It all has zero impact compared to the beauty that comes from within, the confidence that a person has and the openness with which they interact.
    I find anyone with the ability to laugh openly absolutely ‘beautiful’ while those with constipated look though they be fair and with the best features, a real eye-sore. Eyes that smile mischievously makes a face irresistibly beautiful and interesting than all the fairness can achieve. I have a cousin who has dark skin. When she smiles, it is as if the day has brightened up. She is one of the MOST beautiful persons I know.

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    • hi shail,
      your first para really brings out the memories of countless ‘pennukaanal’ fiascos
      of my life 🙂 . Ofcourse I understand everyone’s need to find a beautiful lifepartner;
      but like you said I couldn’t understand how they (men) could arrive at a crucial decision with
      a mere photograph or with a 2 minute glance under the scutiny of elders.How I wished during those times any prospective suitor asked me what my thoughts were on such and such, what I felt about this and that,what type of books I liked to read…the list goes on.

      I really longed someone would talk to me even for half an hour before making a decision and instead all of them made their decision based on a 2 minute stare.May be they all
      thought nothing pretty serious goes on a woman’s head and all they are worth is their
      physique.Poor guys ! they dont know what they have missed 🙂 Again the post became so loong ,thankyou IHM for giving this platform and encouraging women to think and voice
      out what they THINK.

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  21. I know what most of us will say – that looks don’t matter, the person does. But how many of us actually follow this line of thinking. Our first impressions are always based on how the person looks – be it a man or a woman.

    And is self esteem always dependent on how we look? I don’t think so!.It comes from a sense of achievement. It comes from confidence in our abilities.Yes it does help if we are slimmer and prettier and if we are not, why sweat over it!

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  22. To put things in perspective, I was born a dark girl and grew up to be what is described as wheat-ish in matrimonial columns. As a kid I jumped off a tree with friends and got my lower lips split into two, which was specially stitched to leave minimum marks. It still has a wound mark. As a teenager I had a lot of pimples and many left marks and pores on my face, I was given dermatologist’s advice and ayurvedic face packs on this. My teeth was pretty uneven and slightly protruding, this was fixed by removing four of my teeth and wearing braces, while I was in college. All this was mostly done by my parents as foundation work for my marriage…after all that was their supreme responsibility.

    Luckily for me, I never cared for what any one else thought of me. May be I realized early enough that there are no standards for approvals and actually no worth in those approvals too. Even when you win the oscar or the nobel, there are people talking how you dint deserve it.

    I remember telling my mom (around my teenage time) that “i read in xyz article that beautiful people have it easy…so is that why everyone tries to be beautiful…” Her answer stuck with me – “Beauty is for others to see and enjoy, not so much for you. Don’t let anyone fool you by saying beautiful people have it easy, its a lot tougher for them. Even if they make it high with a lot of hard work, their beauty will take credit than their hard work, which can be insulting to say the least.”

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  23. I think that ‘fairness’ obsession is much worse and more psychologically damaging because you cannot bleach human skin to make it lighter. You can become thinner, you can have your nose reshaped, you can have pockets of fat taken out, you can sit in the sun until you are nice and bronze. But can you ever become ‘fairer’…no. You can take the Michael Jackson route and completely kill your melanocytes but that would not make you beautiful even in the most fairness obsessed of societies.

    Human beings (and animals) are drawn to ‘beauty’–though that generally means symmetry. Even babies respond better to ‘beautiful’ faces. However, beauty has nothing to do with the color of one’s skin. The association of skin color to beauty is cultural and not biological.

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  24. I already posted a comment on your Fair and Lovely blog post and I had not yet seen this blog post.

    This is an interesting discussion.
    Even the English language is guilty.
    “Fair” is a pleasant word.
    “Dark” is an unpleasant word.
    Why do we say “dark deeds”
    Why do we use the expression “Black Sheep”, “black guard”?
    There are so many examples of emotionally charged words based on colour.
    Blackmail, is just one.
    When you wish to humiliate someone you “blacken” his face.
    When you wish to clean up, you “whitewash”.

    Why is black associated with dirt and filth while white is “clean”
    In short, why is black bad while white is good?
    Why do we wave black flags?

    It’s not just colour.
    We even suffer from directional prejudices.
    Left is bad, down is bad. South is bad.
    Right is good, up is good. North is good.
    Things looking “up” , is a cheerful situation, while being “down” in the dumps is not.

    When Sachin scores a century, he looks up when he want’s to look heavenwards!
    Why can’t heaven be down?
    Why do we keep our head up when feeling great and bow down when feeling bad?
    Why can’t it the the other way?
    Why do we use the term “underworld” to denote criminals?
    Why are birds that soar in the skies preferred to reptiles and worms that crawl on the ground?
    Is it the UP versus Down prejudice working again in our minds?

    Just musing.

    And now in answer to the questions you have raised.

    —————————
    Did you ever eat more or less, not because it affected your health, but because it affected how you looked and how the world saw you? I have blogged about this before – what would you have done or not done – and how would your life, health, happiness,confidence level been different if being beautiful (in the eyes of the world) was not as much of a concern?
    ———————–

    I have never thought of what my diet does to my looks.
    Only now, when I am older and wiser, I think of what my diet is going to do to my Health, not looks.
    I have crossed the age where my looks matter to others and I am also not impressed by how a person looks if his personality is not okay. I define personality as the sum total of all that a person is and looks play only a minor part.

    ——————————–
    Do you think that darker skins or thinness make a bigger difference to how a person looks than their attitude?
    ———————————
    No. not to me. As I said above, I size up the personality. not looks. I find Obama devastatingly handsome. But I am aware that to some people skin colour makes a difference.

    ——————————-
    Do you know women who are not thin and/or not fair and look good?
    And finally, can the world like us if we do not like ourselves?
    —————————–

    Bipasha Basu, Beyonce Knowles and Naomi Campbell look stunning to me.
    I am free from colour prejudice.
    My daughter is fair in complexion, she chose and married a dark skinned friend of hers who had outstanding achievements and they are a happily married couple.
    I am “wheat complexioned” myself, my wife would rank as fair by south Indian standards. I hardly noticed her complexion when I first met her. I only noticed her personality.

    Yes, I agree, we need to like ourselves before we expect the world to like us.

    Regards
    GV

    Like

  25. Everyone should listen to the song ‘Unpretty’ by TLC.. It’s inspirational and an eye opener though it’s not about skin color but about bodily imperfections.

    me –
    Here, I found this video,

    Like

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