Recently, Dove USA shared a Video that went viral on Youtube. Everyone was sharing it on facebook, most people loved it and some attacked it as well. I personally felt very touched when I watched it. Because I could relate to it. I’ve been (and still am) critical about my appearance, irrationally so for the most part. And most women I’ve known have insecurities about the way they look and it invariably affects their confidence and self esteem. If you haven’t seen this Video yet, you can watch it below –
If you’re someone who is completely secure about her looks, you don’t need to read this any further. But for those who feel a connection when they saw this video, this post is for you. I’ve been there and in some ways I’m still there. I’ve struggled with weight issues most of my late teens/adult life and sometimes, it has taken over my life. So much so that sometimes I am unable to see past that to all the achievements and qualities that make me who I am. I had stopped treating my body with respect and love. I would not indulge in anything related to my body – be it clothes, bath products, accessories etc. I’d only shop if an occasion necessitated a purchase. I wanted to wait till I lost weight – and I would then show some love to my body. Its like a parent not loving a child till the child got full marks in an exam. And I realized that when I saw this video countless times when it played as an ad before another video.
I don’t feel we women are entirely to blame for the way we feel about our bodies, the insecurities we have. We are blasted by images of perfect women – with perfect skin and perfect bodies from all sides. And that is the ideal of beauty we begin aspiring to in our heads – that is what we start comparing ourselves to when we look at ourselves. See this video –
The first step to changing the way we feel about ourselves is to accept that we are real women – and we don’t need to have poreless skin, or flawless bodies with no stretch marks, the perfect waist measurement or weight to feel beautiful. You are beautiful at size 14 and you’ll still be beautiful at size 8. At size 8, you feel better because you are healthier, fitter and have more energy (assuming you eat sensibly and have some form of exercise in your routine).
I get so many queries from girls everyday about pores, stretch marks, facial hair, pigmentation, dark skin, weight issues. The most common ones are for pores and fairness remedies. In India, a lot of women (and men) are obsessed with the color of their skin. You cannot change the color of your skin. Period. And you should not aspire to. Work towards making your skin healthier, more radiant but don’t try to make yourself ‘fairer’. Fairness creams are the worst. They not only poison the minds of young girls but their parents as well. I have got queries from girls asking for fairness treatments because their parents have started to look for grooms for them. I feel so sad when I read these mails. No skin color is more beautiful than the other. Emma Stone is beautiful. So is Jennifer Lopez. So is Beyonce. What makes these women beautiful is not the amount of melanin in their skin. Its their personalities, their confidence and the fact that they are proud of who they are. Stop thinking about getting fairer. Its not going to get you anywhere. And the kind of people who’d like to become fairer need a reality check too.
Embrace your body the way it is. And when I say this, I’m not saying you should not work on your body. But the results you aspire for should not be to look like someone else, it should be to look like the best version of yourself – the healthiest version of you. The models and actresses look like the way they do with a lot of effort – from styling, makeup, airbrushing and a LOT of digital touching up. No real woman looks like that. Everyone has pores, hair, stretch marks etc. These images should not be your idols. You should aspire for a body that is not a certain size but what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your skin. Feeling beautiful is not about the size of your jeans, or the color of your skin. Its something that goes much deeper. It comes from within. It comes from accepting and loving your body, from taking care of it and from inner confidence.
So stop being so critical about yourself – about your nose, about the color of your skin, the pores on your cheeks, the jiggly bits on your arms, tummy etc. Treat your body with love and respect, eat sensibly, drink loads of water, stop eating so much junk and sugar and use good products on your face and body, exercise at least a little bit 3-4 times a week. Work towards your dreams, do something constructive/creative, do something nice for the people you love and stop directing your energies to negative thoughts and feelings. Spend some time doing things you like – read, knit, paint, spend time with your loved ones, go shopping, get a massage and know that you don’t need to be flawless physically to be a beautiful woman.