Home  -  Back Issues  -  The Team  -  Contact Us
     Volume 4 Issue 13 | September 17, 2004 |

   Cover Story
   News Notes
   Slice of Life
   A Roman Column
   Human Rights
   Time Out
   Straight Talk
   Book Review
   Dhaka Diary
   New Flicks
   Write to Mita

   SWM Home


Wanting to Be Like Ash

Srabonti Narmeen Ali

I've spent my whole life envying pretty women. My envy is so strong that when I look at Aishwarya Rai's perfect heart-shaped face with its tiny nose and beautiful blue eyes, I get the urge to run out to the nearest plastic surgeon and beg for a free nose job. Sounds pretty funny right? I know all of you are reclining on your comfortable chairs sipping your Friday morning cha or coffee and smiling right about now, but it's true! Shameful, but true.

My mother is shocked by my behaviour. She says that I should be proud of who I am, that I have too much education to let some "Bollywood plastic" make me feel like I am not enough. That's how pathetic I am -- someone from generation "dinosaurs" is giving me lessons on feminism. But it is not just me who feels this way. There are women all over the world that feel the same way I do, falling prey to the pressures of having the perfect image: the right clothes, the right walk, the perfect body and a beautiful face. I am not saying that every woman is as silly as I am -- meaning not everyone wants to get a face-change every time Aishwarya pops up onscreen. What I am saying is that most women are in some way, not completely satisfied with the way they look and therefore are not always as confident with themselves as they should be.

It's a pain to be a girl, unless you can move past all those stereotype-laden pressures and say, "I don't care because I would rather look like myself than look like a model." And let's be honest, how many people can actually say that? If we were all given a choice, how many of us would actually not fix at least one thing about our physical appearance? Anyone who says that they wouldn't change anything is either in denial or has a major superiority complex.

The problem is not that we want to change certain things about our appearance. Everyone has something or another that they want to improve on. The problem with many women lies in the fact that we don't just stop at that one flaw. We want to be perfect, make better, fix until we are in fact, the best of the best -- or at least that is what all my male friends say when I tell them about my urges to visit the plastic surgeon. They tell me that the biggest problem with women is that they always want what they can't have, and always want to be better than everyone else. They insist that this need to be as pretty as Aishwarya Rai is a cry for attention. Perhaps they have a point. You very rarely see a man who wants to re-arrange a perfectly decent face, just to look like someone they are not, or aim to look like Brad Pitt (but don't we wish they did!).

I used to think that men were the reason that women have these insecurities. But I realised recently that it's not just men -- it is us. It is our lack of confidence and innate habit of comparing ourselves with the person sitting beside us. Did you ever notice that when a beautiful woman walks into a room, every other woman automatically checks herself out to make sure that she, too, is looking her utmost best? I know I do.

It doesn't help when someone makes a comment like "everyone is unique in his or her own way," or "not everyone has everything." It is in no way comforting because in the world we live in, looks do matter. Pretending otherwise is like living in a fantasy. At the same time, it is important to recognise that the minute we stop looking to others for self-fulfilment and assurance, we will find it within ourselves.

So ladies, the next time that annoyingly beautiful woman who always has her sari elegantly wrapped around her perfect body, walks into the room, do none of the following: a) look down at yourself to see what she has that you don't b) scrutinise her to find something wrong with her or c) look around to find someone else that is less fortunate than you are in order to make you feel better about yourself.

My advice? Smile and know for you how good you look. When you look in the mirror, tell yourself that you're good enough just the way you are. Beauty is, after all, in the eyes of the beholder. Meanwhile let me work on my "wanna-be Aishwarya" urges.



Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2004