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How does the desire to be beautiful through elective cosmetic procedures fare when viewed from a feminist lens?
Photo by philippe spitalier on Unsplash
Internet is ablaze with sharp takes on influencers and models’ choices of getting cosmetic procedures and calling it an act of ‘personal agency’.
The discourse is if the women who call themselves informed feminists are falling victim to the traps of beauty standards set largely by an unfair society, then who do the rest of us have left to look up to?
Since we are often swayed by our emotions rather than logic on the internet, it is important to take note of all perspectives and information at hand before we go around gifting the big red ‘A’ to every woman making questionable choices on the internet.
Hear me out, I am not saying the women in question are right or that the internet is wrong, but it is important that we, the people, allow this conversation to evolve beyond the tags of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ to ‘how’ and ‘why’.
The Internet is a great place for celebrities to create personas and people as their audience tends to fall for those characters, and believe and adore them. When these facades crack a little bit, revealing their follies, insecurities, and hypocrisies, we feel deceived.
It is a natural reaction, but we do need to remember that while celebrities are public figures, they aren’t public representatives. And even though they should be held accountable when they step out of the line of civility, they can’t be considered public servants. Celebrities seek our validation, but they don’t exist to serve us.
Here’s a larger question to ponder over, should we bother about individual celebrity surgeries, or should we care about the systems in place (social media and medical) that allow these trends to proliferate with such impunity?
Photo by cottonbro studio from Pexels
It’s a tricky one and no one has the perfect answer to this. At the core of feminism lies equality for all. Can a person believe in feminism while getting cosmetic surgeries? Well, believing in a principle doesn’t cure us of our insecurities. But let’s face it, there is a stink of hypocrisy in that.
However, the true reason why we consider this act to be blasphemous is because of its trickle-down psychological effect on younger people.
But is this all that’s affecting our young?
This conversation needs a sharper look at our social construct of beauty and the concept of ‘beauty sickness’. Renowned psychologist, Dr Renee Engeln defines beauty sickness as the outcome when an individual’s complete time, energy, emotion, and money are dedicated to perfecting their appearance rather than things like vocation or hobbies.
While celebrities are fiddling with their appearances for personal gains, impressionable young people are getting afflicted with beauty sickness. More than ever, ordinary young women are spending exorbitant amounts of money on honing their appearances rather than their skills. Thanks to social media, the insatiable need for physical perfection has also been democratized in addition to the access to beauty products.
The waves of feminism have been around for over half a century, and yet, we have fallen deeper into the trenches of societal constructs of beauty. And even though I don’t think individual celebrities should be trolled or abused for their choices, it is important to acknowledge that their actions do take us back a few steps in our journey of progress.
As this discourse evolves, we must delineate these choices as complex individual fallibility, encouraged by a capitalist framework, rather than a disservice to feminism itself. One can argue that sometimes one’s choice to make a decision, right or wrong, is where our freedom lies. This may not be true for all, but it is undoubtedly true for some.
The chase will keep on happening. The internet mobs will continue to create and tear down ‘individuals’, while the system keeps the cycle going. However, when the noise becomes white noise, we the people, should pause and ask ourselves, what are we losing in this cavalier cacophony of celebrity culture?
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
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I huffed, puffed and panted up the hill, taking many rest breaks along the way. My calf muscles pained, my heart protested, and my breathing became heavy at one stage.
“Let’s turn back,” my husband remarked. We stood at the foot of Shravanbelagola – one of the most revered Jain pilgrimage centres. “We will not climb the hill,” he continued.
My husband and I were vacationing in Karnataka. It was the month of May, and even at the early hour of 8 am in the morning, the sun scorched our backs. After visiting Bangalore and Mysore, we had made a planned stop at this holy site in the Southern part of the state en route to Hosur. Even while planning our vacation, my husband was very excited at the prospect of visiting this place and the 18 m high statue of Lord Gometeshwara, considered one of the world’s tallest free-standing monolithic statues.
What we hadn’t bargained for was there would be 1001 granite steps that needed to be climbed to have a close-up view of this colossal magic three thousand feet above sea level on a hilltop. It would be an understatement to term it as an arduous climb.
Why is the Social Media trend of young mothers of boys captioning their parenting video “Dear future Daughter-in-Law, you are welcome” deeply problematic and disturbing to me as a young mother of a girl?
I have recently come across a trend on social media started by young mothers of boys who share videos where they teach their sons to be sensitive and understanding and also make them actively participate in household chores.
However, the problematic part of this trend is that such reels or videos are almost always captioned, “To my future daughter-in-law, you are welcome.” I know your intentions are positive, but I would like to point out how you are failing the very purpose you wanted to accomplish by captioning the videos like this.
I know you are hurt—perhaps by a domestic household that lacks empathy, by a partner who either is emotionally unavailable, is a man-child adding to your burden of parenting instead of sharing it, or who is simply backed by overprotective and abusive in-laws who do not understand the tiring journey of a working woman left without any rest as doing the household chores timely is her responsibility only.
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