Why Be Pretty When You Can Be You?
By Nivedita Shrestha
There’s this one thing that I really can’t stand. That look of longing I see on my thirteen-year-old sister’s face when she sees a fairness cream or remedies that would make her look fairer. The subtle smile she gives when a relative jokingly calls her kali (black) and the pang of hurt that flashes through her eyes for a millisecond as she looks away or down can go unnoticed by someone else, but not me. She tells me that it doesn’t bother her, that I’m just seeing things. But I know better.
We live in a sick society. A society that tells us that we need to have a certain set of superficial traits to be deemed ‘pretty’ or ‘beautiful’. A society that lives off on our self-doubt. If a girl appreciates herself and loves every inch of her body and mind, she is perceived as arrogant and vain; whereas a woman who struggles with self esteem issues is more or less the norm and she is seen as a modest and down to earth person. This fact clearly shows how society is trying to belittle women and trick them into thinking that they somehow have to feel inadequate all the time to feel accepted.
Instead of encouraging girls to be radical and love their bodies, the society insinuates them to use products and follow different ridiculous processes just to make everyone else accept her. Make-up products, fairness creams, plastic surgeries, breast implants, beauty salons, they all are meant to make us ‘look good’. In a society that profits from our self-doubt, liking ourselves is a rebellious act. If tomorrow, women woke up and decided that they really like their bodies, their complexions, the little scars and marks they have on their skins, just think of how many industries would go out of business. We have an entire economy relying on the fact that we think we are not good enough and that we need all these products to make us look better and prettier.
What Does Beauty Even Mean?
Most of us have been through this phase in our lives, where we all hate something about ourselves. Nose too big, thighs too wide, stomach flabby, boobs too small, legs resemble toothpicks, no curves, too much curves, and skin too dark or too pale. Our entire lives, we keep thriving to be deemed as someone pretty or beautiful; so blinded by our desires that we often forget what ‘beautiful’ actually means.
Beauty is not defined by the size of your jeans; beauty is not defined by the color of your skin; beauty is not defined by the number of likes you get in your Instagram or your Facebook posts, neither does it have anything to do with the number of followers you have on Twitter. Beauty comes from within, it comes from your ability to love yourself, and it comes from the way you look at yourself as well as others. Beauty is in the way you hold yourself. It’s how you treat people. It’s not about what size you are, it’s about how you wear your size. It’s self-acceptance. Beauty is in your soul. If you think you are any more of a better person because your face is nice, you need a reality check.
A Message For Your Soul:
We live in a world where humans are more obsessed with gorgeous bodies that one day rot away, than gorgeous souls that live forever. And in some ways, we all are guilty of it. It’s funny how women and men complain about society’s beauty ideals, yet they don’t even notice they are part of the society and actually support these ideals. Regarding the same kind of people to be beautiful, crying over their bodies and being unsatisfied over our own, making superficiality a role model. Remember that your self-esteem has nothing to do with others’ opinion of you. You’re worth a lot more than what the society allows you to settle for. You’re more beautiful than you let yourself believe. Be free. Why should you alter the natural state of your body to be seen as socially acceptable?
And guess what, you are under no obligation to look pretty. Not when you are lying around the house, not when you go to the grocery store, not when you sit in a classroom, not when you go to the gym. You are never obligated to get dressed up just so you are pretty for others. Pretty is not the rent you pay to exist in the world as a woman.
So love yourself, your scars, and your stretch marks. Bask in the glory, relish in the adoration of your body that repulses and frightens the society. Because darling, you weren’t meant to be pretty; you were meant to melt the earth and paint the skies. Don’t let anyone ever simplify you to just ‘pretty’.