What is your notion of a beautiful woman? Take a second, close your eyes and visualise a woman that you would consider beautiful. Okay, open your eyes now. Did you see a thin, tall, fair complexioned woman with long, wavy hair in a short black dress that accentuated her curves? Or did you imagine her in a sari because you like your women with short clothes only on screens and not in real life? Whatever the image that popped into your mind, don’t you think it is unfair to women to make them conform to rigid standards? Why is it so difficult for everybody to accept the fact that women come in different complexions, shapes and sizes? This inability to accept ourselves the way we are gave rise to an entire industry: the beauty industry.
Sorry to break it to all makeup lovers but the entire cosmetics industry is a scam. Take any of your favourite cosmetic products for instance. Do you think you can survive without that product? I mean, how hard can life be without mascara or lipstick? But it seems like the end of the world to some people. The cosmetics industry changes our ‘wants’ (something you desire) into our ‘needs’ (something that is absolutely required for survival). This industry makes us feel insecure about acne, dark skin, wrinkles, etc and manipulates us cleverly into buying their products. The advertisements show ‘models’ who have a few spots of acne being dull and not confident, but once they use their fairness cream they feel ready to take on the world. Why would a few spots on my face make me feel less worthy and become obstacles to achieving my goals? If you are making ads to sell your products, at least make them believable!
The industry alone is not at blame. I never was a big fan of makeup because I believed that my looks would not matter over my education, talent or my individual self. Nobody forced me to wear makeup, directly at least. But I could hear stray voices suggesting how I would be prettier if I applied some foundation and compact powder or how my eyes would pop out if I wore some eyeliner and mascara and got my eyebrows done. I took those voices to my head and started believing that I was not perfect until I looked like the women in magazines and advertisements. To be honest, I am still having troubles accepting some of my quirks thanks to ‘stray aunts’ (no offence, I am just quoting my favourite professor!) who could not stop commenting on my hair, skin, nails and what not! After starting college, most of our mothers start showing more concern in our appearances and start providing us with homemade face packs and scrubs to make our skin ‘light’ and ‘blemish free’. That is step one in preparing us for the shark tank (read, marriage) because prospective grooms and mother-in-laws want ‘fair and lovely’ brides not smart, well-educated women who can earn for themselves.
I know how makeup serves as a security blanket for some women and if that makes you more confident, put on that gloss and mascara, girl! But there are some of us who can manage pretty well without applying layers on our face. Honestly, makeup is the last thing on our minds because we have other things to worry about. Since you are able to read my blog, I assume that you are smart and well educated. Do you think you can let people dictate how you feel when they comment on your looks? Do you think you need people to tell you that you are beautiful? Shouldn’t you know that yourself? Yes, you. You are beautiful and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. Spread the positive vibes and call somebody beautiful today because a compliment can save a life and is there anything more beautiful than that?
I have been trying to answer that question for almost half a decade and finally found some answers which make sense, at least to me. Am I the only girl here who is not obsessed with gold and wishes that her family would rather spend money on other investments? I absolutely do not understand why a girl’s family would rather save up and buy gold rather than giving her things that she really wants like good education, a DSLR camera or permission for a road trip to Goa with her gang. Here are some reasons that I thought that might make you rethink before you decide to adorn your daughter with gold whether she likes it or not.
‘Diamonds are a girl’s best friends’ is a popular saying. Well whoever framed that saying sadly did not have many friends. Do you think a girl or a lady would choose shiny metal and sparkling stones over her fierce tribe of friends who have got her back at all times? Let alone friends, I would not even trade my least favourite book for a gold necklace or any piece of jewellery! Bibliophiles would agree with me when I say that the best investment a person can make is in books because they are a powerhouse of knowledge and help escaping the monotony of this world. Yes, gold has monetary value but reading can take you to places that gold and diamonds and silver and platinum cannot.
I read an article online which said that Indian home makers owned more gold than the Swiss Bank and that is not something to be very proud of. India imports a lot of gold from foreign countries due to its high domestic demand and this causes a negative trade balance, leaving our country in debt. I have seen my mom saving up money and buying gold with it despite knowing that I am not a big fan. When I ask her why, she says that it is an investment and secures my future. Well, your investment just adds on to the debt of the country so why not invest in shares, debentures or other financial instruments so that capital flows into the market and boosts economic development thereby creating jobs and increasing the standard of living of the people? Funny that I still remember twelfth grade Economics lessons!
One of the most common reasons why people buy gold is for their daughters’ wedding. Again, people like me do not prefer wearing gold or any jewellery, for that matter so why spend money on what I am not going to use? My parents look at the gold saved up for my wedding as a ‘security’ for my future because my jewellery is going to be my knight in shining armour if my marriage comes crashing down. (That is a hypothetical statement so believers of ‘traditional marriages’ and marriage counsellors can calm down!) There is a common belief among Indian parents that the amount of gold given to their daughters is directly proportional to the respect they receive at their in-laws’ place. Can we just take a moment to realise how nonsensical that is? Why would my education, job and my individual self matter lesser than the only metal that has not been used in any scientific experiment so far? Parents of daughters work really hard and sacrifice the simplest things in life just so that their can daughter can look like the brand ambassador of GRT Jewellers on her wedding day. Is it really worth it? I do not think so.
I have nothing against buying gold and wearing them. This is just my opinion and we can all agree to disagree. I personally find wearing jewellery the most troublesome thing on earth because I simply do not like it and so do many other women. I feel like it restricts me from complete freedom (literally and figuratively). If you like gold and want to save up to buy it, nobody is stopping you from doing so. But never force anyone to wear gold or any jewellery just because ‘girls are not supposed to be seen with empty hands, neck or fingers’. All I am against is hoarding up of gold and treating it as the ultimate treasure that will possibly save lives. There are other things to life apart from this shiny, polished metal found in cold, grimy and dark mines.