By: Dr. Aniruddha Babar
“We live in a day and age where people make it impossible for women, men, anyone to embrace themselves exactly how they are. Diversity is sexy! Loving yourself is sexy! You know what is not sexy? Misogyny, objectifying, labelling, comparing and body shaming! Talking about people’s body’s as if they’re on display asking for your approval / opinion. They are not! Celebrate yourself. Celebrate others. The things that make us different from one another make us beautiful.” – Ariana Grande
During my journey on this planet, I have discovered that the Man-a self-proclaimed king of Earth became his own worst enemy. Which of the species on this planet is ashamed of its own natural existence? I do not see any other example except mankind. We are ashamed of ourselves. We are ashamed of our ‘body’- the temple where God is supposed to reside – the beautiful yet complex creation of nature. Modern world of technology and media continuously bombarding us with false teachings of beauty. The “unrealistic” view has again been highlighted in many advertisements, particularly from luxury fashion labels and cosmetic brands around the globe, which have been accused of having breached their social responsibility by using unhealthy looking models to capture a female audience. “The ad sends a message that if your standard of beauty deviates from what the ad suggests, and then you are ‘the others’. This kind of misleading ad can subtly alter the public’s idea of beauty, and it can even be damaging.” Jean Kilbourne, author, filmmaker and media critic, who has been studying the feminism and advertising fields for about 40 years, agrees that advertising has gone too far to have “way too much emphasise” on the ideal standard of female beauty, which appears to be “too narrow”, especially in developed countries.
Fat-shaming, colourism, breast size, pimples & cellulite-related embarrassments are harsh realities that play havoc with the self-esteem of women. Multiple studies have shown the negative impact of the media on body image. Exposure to photoshopped images of unrealistic body ideals has been linked to low self-esteem, depression, and eating disorders. We are living in the world of contradictions, imaginations and false narcissistic ideals. What or whom do we consider beautiful today? Surely there aren’t really any beautiful or ugly bodies, but only beautiful or ugly individuals, or perhaps people with beautiful or ugly behaviour. Such would depend not on evaluating curves or physical traits, but rather changing our definition of beauty itself.
The Corporate World, where intercourse of factors of production happens on a regular basis to produce money…more money; has become a major factor responsible for teaching human civilization to hate their bodies. It is very surprising to see that the corporate indoctrination now has taken a form of cultural assertion. Let us take an example of ‘Shaving Razors’ for women which are now widely available in the market. For some people it may sound ultra-gross to talk about hairy female underarms. The history of shaving teaches us that the idea of shaving was largely unknown to women till the dawn of 20th century which was also characterized by the occurrence of First World War and simultaneously the growth of consumerism as a by-product of ultra-capitalism. It was during the beginning of 20th century first Shaving Blade for ladies was introduced. The shaving razor was widely sold throughout Europe propagating hair-less armpits and smooth legs as a sign of classic beauty. The beauty of women in our society is defined by two elements-one is the MEN and the second is-the institutions built by MEN.
Therefore, it would not be wrong to say that the beauty defined by the ‘SYSTEM’ would be nothing less than a conspiracy that the mighty male dominated Corporate World hatched against the Women. Similarly, other products like Fairness Cream, Vaginal Tightening Cream, Perfumes; Body Sprays teaches nothing else but body shaming which now has become an inalienable part of modern civic sense and culture. The money minted by injecting ‘guilt’ in the minds of people is a smartest and easiest way the money ever earned in the history of mankind.
We reject nature when we reject the natural gifts of the creator. Hygiene and Beauty are nowadays dictatorially defined by the Television Ads at the insistence of their corporate masters that criminalize sweating, natural body smell, stretch marks, lose vagina, bald heads, small boobs, large boobs, sagging boobs, man-boobs and hairy armpits-also the legs. In the quest of minting pure profits Patriarchy and Corporate manipulators have cunningly conspired together to manipulate the minds of women by injecting thoughts of shaming their own natural body, moreover, this criminal conspiracy also victimized menfolks by tapping their sexuality making them shaming/hating their own body smell, body structure as well as appearance. No doubt, for the same purpose companies need to use more and more women in their Ads to sale out their ‘only-for-men’- OFM products.
In 1960’s Hippi Movement started spreading all over the world. The major tagline of movement was ‘Acceptance’. Hippies were known for their long hairs and un-shaved bodies. The appearance of Hippies symbolized ‘Acceptance’ and ‘Respect’ to the creation. Hippi movement was one of the largest social movements that revolted against the ‘stereotypes’ and ‘cultural, political, social and corporate slavery’. The reason behind referring to Hippi Movement is to understand that there are far better things in world than being content in the slavery of corporate indoctrination.
Today’s modern generation of 21st Century is the biggest victim of this multizillion Dollar corporate beauty scam. The true meaning of beauty that Hippi Movement tried to revive is now lost in the Tsunami of Corporate influence. Artificial Skin colour and texture, unnatural alcohol sparked body fragrance, false sense of virginity, pumped-in muscles, smooth buttery body, Boob Jobs, Nose Jobs, Hairs Jobs, artificial eye-lashes, artificially colored lips and cheeks etc; has been made as essential requirements to fit in the modern definition of ‘beauty’ as decided and dictated by Corporate World.
Today’s generation cannot withstand the strong odour of natural sweat of body because the culture of consumerism taught them to hate that. Women are worried about their small boobs because they are constantly exposed to the definition of ideal size of boobs decided by the corporate world. Overweight men and women are taught to hate their bodies. Thin people are taught to hate their bodies. Even the stretch marks- once a sign of beauty and pride, nowadays hated by women. Men are shaving their chests. Women are tightening their Vaginas and lightening their armpits. People hate natural smell, but expect that the artificial fragrance of Chemicals will attract woman- I sometimes wonder; are our women that cheap? What insanity is this? Where are we leading to? There are better issues in world that needs to be given attention than giving unnecessary attention to something that separate us from our true existence.
Nowadays people are talking about ‘intolerance’. It seems intolerance has increased in society as the quotient of patience seems to have gone down to its lowest ever level. People are made to fight with each other in the name of caste, creed, cow and religion. People are taught to judge the others on the basis of their social, political, sexual orientations. Corporate are teaching us to hate nature and love chemicals. Pharmaceutical industries are creating diseases and the cures in their laboratories. Weapon industry put its blood, sweat and soul to keep the world as insecure as possible to run their business. Undoubtedly, we are living in an era of contradictions where man is separated from a man. However, let us keep aside socio-religious-cultural-political intolerance for a while; and understand that; at least if Man tolerate, accept and respect the natural existence and choices of the other everything will be streamlined.
We have become a society of unreal expectation and images. Retouched images falsely portray young and an older woman with a sense of perfection that is beyond reach. Slim is beautiful. Fair is lovely. Sadly, these clichés still dictate the Indian mindset. In an age where media and social media are easily accessible, there is a strong emphasis on idealised beauty on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, magazines and television. When seeing celebrities and models who are thought to have ‘perfect bodies’, individuals start to become critical of their own bodies and succumb to the pressure of living up to somewhat unrealistic standards. Studies show that more than 90% of the women are not happy with the way they look. Psychological pressure exerted by ‘Corporate Beauty Industry’ has landed women and men in lunatic asylums. Experts say ‘psychological invalidation is one of the most lethal forms of emotional abuse and body shaming is something more than worse you can do to a person. It kills creativity and confidence of the individual’.
Challenging all the notions and illusions of the beauty that the corporate world has created I personally declare that the human being does not have to be aesthetically pleasing; he/she does not have to be either muscular or feminine he/she deserves not to be photoshopped. He/she is human, and has blemishes. Here a human being stands, visible. This body is acceptable – pubescent, awkward, marred, scarred, and burned. You don’t have to be invisible to be beautiful or handsome. We are all good enough. There is nothing wrong with our bodies. At the end, A pinch of tolerance and unconditional acceptance of mankind ‘at least’ to the smell of Armpits can definitely save the world from apocalypse.