I am what I am!

06 Mar 2018 #Mental health

Why do we judge people based on the way they look and the way they dress up and the way they conduct themselves? Why do we, even after begin so educated, blindly follow beauty standards set by the media and society? Why do we always succumb to the pressure of looking beautiful just to impress someone else? There are so many whys but the answers are very few. Let me get straight to the point. It infuriates me when a person judges another person by the way he/she looks or dresses up or talks. So imagine a person constantly bad mouthing about one person’s looks and judging them by their skin/hair color, thin/fat body etc. It has been engraved in our head since childhood that one has to be fair in order to be considered as beautiful. One has to of certain weight to be considered attractive. Who sets these standards? Who gives anyone any right to decide how one should look or be? Aren’t we all humans after all? Have we all lost common sense totally? Body image has been closely linked to low self-esteem in adolescents and has proven that it leads to eating disorders, early sexual activity, substance use, and suicidal thoughts. This problem is only exacerbated by mainstream media. This body dissatisfaction manifests itself at an alarmingly young age. According to studies, 81% of 10-year-old girls are afraid of being fat. Depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem can significantly affect a child’s ability to succeed in school and in life. As a child grows older, low self-esteem takes a larger toll, and in young women it becomes a predictor of teen pregnancy, intimate partner violence, and dropping out of college. I blame this mostly on the media and our society. The daily soaps which are played 24/7 on every TV channel. There is a reason why it’s called an ‘Idiot box’. How much ever good the story might be there will always be a woman who will be judged for looking a certain way, for looking healthy and for wearing things in a certain way. To my surprise it’s usually from their  female counterparts. I have hardly seen a male/female friend of mine commenting about a male actor on television as much as they comment about a female actor. I look back at my childhood and think, what would have happened if my grandmother/grandfather were this way? They always taught me to be nice, humble towards people. There was never a mention of color/weight/diction. I am not denying  the existence of  differentiation based on religion and caste but instead of coming out of that era our generation is going 10 steps backwards and is stooping even low. From the day we start to read and write, we are taught that we are not good enough for this planet. It mostly starts at home, our parents, relatives, friends constantly keep reminding us that we need to do a little extra to look acceptable for the society. “Idealized images of beautiful women are a major factor affecting young women’s personal ideas and body image; other influential factors include peers and family and the perceived preference of the opposite sex” (Casanova 2004: 289). The entry of Indian origin models and heroines in the Western fashion and entertainment industry is responsible in part for the huge change in body shapes. Here, it should be noted that the phenomenon for attaining a slim slender body is somewhat restricted among urban women who are heavily exposed to foreign media and lifestyle as compared to rural women who are not. Due to its vast diversity in culture and traditions, the Western Ideal of Thinness seems to have affected those parts of the country that are more advanced and westernized while backward and rural areas continue to stay the same. The choice to not eat entails a power of surplus production which only the privileged or well off class enjoy. Thus, we see that it is in urban metropolitan cities that many slimming clubs and gyms have sprung up and the clientele consist mostly of the rich and affluent. The quest for slenderness seems to be stronger among young independent urban women. (Chingri Zimik, 2016) I myself sometimes cannot stop someone from judging people. I feel really sad when someone sitting right in front of me passes a comment about someone’s body/looks/color and I have nothing to say. If few people can come out and sometimes speak up to such people, this world will surely be a happier and better place to live in. I truly believe that we are so much more than the beauty standards set by others. We are all tiny bits of this vast universe built with so much power and strength within us that no single person can put us down by their opinion. With so much hate around us, the least we can do is be nice and accepting towards each other. So go the extra mile, smile at a stranger, try to start a conversation with a person whom you judged before. Try to let go off any baggage you have because you were called ugly/unattractive/stupid before. The day we as a society stand up and break these shackles will be the day we attain freedom in the true sense. Shruti Lakkaraju

-By ThatMate