Where did she go? The girl with cascading long hair and bangles at her wrists. The one who wore sarees and salwars with equal élan and never needed any make-up apart from the customary kajal that lined her dark eyes and made them come alive like no eyeliner could ever imagine doing.
Where did she go, the girl who didn’t need or want fairness creams and reveled in her natural sun-kissed beauty? Where did she go, the real desi girl?
She has become a rarity to sight anywhere at all – from the streets and colleges to the malls and weddings.
Instead we see throngs of made-up plastic dolls proudly exhibiting varying degrees of superficiality. From straightened, colored, chopped, highlighted, extended, layered, coloured and god-knows-what-else hair, to cleansed, toned, moisturized, bleached, bronzed, rouged, and whitened skin. And of course, manicured hands and pedicured feet. It's almost like everyone looks the same - like they’ve all just stepped out of the same beauty parlour. Uh, whatever happened to natural diversity?
Don’t get me wrong here; I’m not saying that people shouldn’t go to parlours and not make the effort to look better, but do we ALL really need to? Especially teenagers and adults below the age of 30? They are supposed to look young and innocent yet they increasingly look like glamour queens. “So what’s so wrong in that?” you ask, and the answer is “nothing,” except that it just seems to go too far. I personally know women who take their primary-school-going daughters for makeovers at the beauty parlour and hair-removal therapies too. Perhaps this kind of stuff is just giving the wrong messages to young children – that everything you are naturally blessed with needs to be modified or polished somehow to make you look BETTER.
I know this post is going to annoy –if not offend - the majority of people who bother to read it, but hey, I’m just expressing my own opinion. So you can call me chauvinistic or old-fashioned or anti-modernity or even anti-feminist, but all I’ll say is that we need to embrace a little bit of our natural selves rather than let chemicals and “fashion” – or someone else’s notion of it, rather – take over who we are. Besides, feminism is essentially about freedom, right? And that includes the freedom to be the person you are – to let your hair grow down to your waist if you want and not have it styled, to not cover up the blemish or two on your face, to wear glasses and not have to explain why the heck you don’t want contact lenses, etc, etc.