The Beauty Illusion: Of Plastic Surgery And Beauty Products

Posted: September 29, 2015

Beauty, they say is skin deep. Is that why many women today get plastic surgery done that can fix the problem from within?

It was a random Saturday afternoon and I was meeting someone for coffee. After having emptied half my wardrobe and deciding that not even one of my clothes was appropriate, I realised that the problem was not with the clothes. It was with the way I have been conditioned.

After having emptied half my wardrobe and deciding that not even one of my clothes was appropriate, I realised that the problem was not with the clothes. It was with the way I have been conditioned.

I am no different from any 21 year old who wants to look and feel good. A woman in a very senior position remarked “When a woman walks, she should be able to make heads turn with the way she is dressed! That is being presentable”.

I had to politely disagree with that attitude because I am sick and tired of hearing these absurd proclamations. Red-lipstick gives you the confidence to keep your head held high, winged-eyeliner makes you ready for a bad day, bad-hair days make you miserable and don’t repeat clothes.

Buy more shoes, buy more make-up, buy more clothes and try to become the ideal image of beauty that the society projects.

I am not against make-up or beauty because I love both!

It is okay if beauty is an aid to confidence. 

‘Risk-free’ surgeries

I went to a dermatologist for a consult on my sensitive skin problems and she casually handed me a brochure that had a list of “risk-free minimal” plastic surgery that I could opt for to fix any problem from thinning hair and lack-lustre skin, to ageing. Looking at the number of people standing outside her clinic, I could make a fair assumption on the number of women who will opt for these services.

You walk into a parlour and they convince you that something is wrong and try to sell you more products. A beauty store does the same thing. And to make things worse, so do a fair share of doctors.

The underlying thread here being that they all know we want to look beautiful.

But the real question is, “How far am I willing to go to look beautiful?”

Didn’t poets say that the beauty of a woman is supposed to drive everyone crazy? Ironically, these days the quest for beauty is what is driving a woman crazy!

Take the classic example of women who want to lose weight and look perfect before their wedding day. Think about it. Who dictates the prices of your bridal make-up and trousseau? Who tells you to do Pilates, yoga, skin cleanses and detoxes before your wedding? Who tells you to wear shining diamonds because after all they are forever like your love?

It is important to pause and think where these beauty images are dictated from, before we go into a mad rush to follow them. On one hand, swept away by emotion and pressure to look our best, we fall prey to marketers who look at us as their insecure cash cows.

It is important to pause and think where these beauty images are dictated from, before we go into a mad rush to follow them.

Parenting and beauty

Another example is how we raise little girls to care too much about their appearances. Every parent wants to dress up their little one and cherish those memories for a lifetime, but how far is not too far? Doting parents will probably get furious and call me unreasonable if I tell them that focusing too much on their baby’s appearance and beautifying the baby too often is harmful.

It may look like you are showering love on her by beautifying her and hoarding compliments relating to appearance, but ask yourself if you are raising a girl who will grow up to be a teenager who starves herself?

On one hand, swept away by emotion and pressure to look our best, we fall prey to marketers who look at us as their insecure cash cows.

Who tells you that babies should be dressed up like fairies and angels with expensive props and clothes? The same industries who later tell your daughter that she needs to invest on herself (which loosely translates to spending half her salary on useless things) that supposedly build her confidence and make her more beautiful.

Beauty is everywhere and I grew up listening to how women’s lives became better once they became beautiful. At the whisk of a wand, the fairy godmother turned Cinderella into a gorgeous damsel and she found herself a rich husband. In The Princess Diaries, her entry qualification to become a princess was straight hair. Covers of magazines show lives of success and radiate beauty on every page.

In this kind of a world, it is hard to tell a woman to be sensible about her beauty choices.

When I started writing this article, I was angry and I wanted to tell women to take back beauty and stay empowered from within. And then I realised that is as bad as dictating beauty to women.

It is not time to take back our beauty. It is time to redefine beauty and tell the world that “This is beautiful!” and not keep asking every mirror and every other person “Is this beautiful?”!

Image via Shutterstock.

Nandhitha Hariharan is a writer with a love for anything that is pretty or covered

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1 Comment


  1. Way to go!!!

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