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It is high time we stopped commenting on a person’s physical appearance. Just think, would you like to be criticised for your looks?
I wish I still didn’t have to say it but our definition of beauty is still confined and materialistic. In public, we agree that body-shaming is wrong. We agree that complexion is natural. That set beauty concepts shouldn’t ruin self-confidence. But in our conversations and behaviour, are we discreetly still following beauty standards?
What would you tell a person who complains that their clothes aren’t fitting them anymore? To buy new ones or lose weight, right? How many times have you suggested that someone may not even be clinically obese to should work on their weight? And even if they may be clinically obese, are you really qualified to give them any advice about their weight?
Rarely do openly shame or criticise anyone about their physical appearance, we simply do it indirectly. Do you wonder what is wrong about that?
What we lack when we criticise anyone about their appearance is empathy. The empathy towards people who are already drooping under the burden of certain set beauty standards.
You see a teenaged girl with pimples and you have this urge to give her advice on what she should do about the pimple and how to get rid of them. Do you know that pimples are normal?
We all went through adolescence and had at least a pimple or two at that time. So it would take nothing for you to be empathetic to her and not discuss her pimples with her. There is no doubt that countless people before you have already disparaged her for it.
Truth bomb – she already knows she has pimples. A fat person knows they are fat. Someone with dark circles knows about their dark circles. All of us have mirrors. We have looked at ourselves before stepping out and already cursed the universe.
What we speak or do without cognisance can affect somebody’s self-esteem. Youngsters are conditioned to believe that beauty is a fair, thin person with flawless skin. They have an ideal height, weight, skin tone, hair and ideal everything else to match up to. So they try, by hook and crook, to be that ideal ‘beautiful’ person.
In that state of mind, a harmless comment on physical looks is enough to reiterate their belief that they are worthless. I don’t know who linked beauty to self-worth for youngsters, but they’ve done a successful job sowing the seed of it in budding minds.
All I want to say is, any unwarranted comment about physical appearances can be as detrimental as public shame. Whether you do it in a group of four or 40, remarks and judgements about someone’s physical appearance are undesirable.
‘But I was saying it for their health and wellbeing.’ Thank you, but please say it to yourself, just once. If you think it is comfortable, useful and encouraging, go ahead. Any remark you wouldn’t want about your body, no one else would appreciate about theirs.
Picture credits: Still from Bollywood movie Gippi
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Dog momma. Student. Reader. Maybe a writer. In that order.
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