It wasn’t that she had never heard of homosexuality; but, in her imagination, gay men and women were an exotic species, not real people who could, perchance, be fellow passengers on a bus, fellow shoppers at a mall, or a fellow beginner in a meditation class.
Each time I would look into the mirror, I would see the love handles bulging through my shirt and cringe inwardly. Mills and Boon had convinced me that my body was not loveable like that of the thin, beautiful protagonists, and thus, there would no knights coming for me on horses, now or later.
Beauty gleams in unexpected places, but its effulgence turns to tawdry glitter when it is shaped and squeezed into form-fitting frames. Rigid ideas of what is beautiful or desirable can reinforce oppressive structures. However, when these concepts are more flexible they can be subversive as well.
Bleaching syndrome is not a superficial fashion, it’s a strategy of assimilating a superior identity that reflects a deep-set belief that fair skin is better, more powerful, prettier. And it’s not limited to India; skin bleaching is also common in the rest of Asia and in Africa.
A woman can be more than something that just exists in a marital home, a woman can be more than just a beautiful body used as a mere decoration in the household. Isn’t it high time we talked about the problems of the terminology used to define beauty and the association of it with sexuality if Chughtai tried doing this in 1941?
“It’s fascinating Yasmina, but also scary how sex or sexualising something can be ignited from our need for beauty that probably stirs positive emotions that we consider beautiful, such as feeling pleasure. But you know as well, desiring what we think is beautiful can generate fluidity: I can never know what I am exactly. All I know is that I was with men, and I was with women, and all of them tickled something within me. “
“I realised plus-size acceptance is neither a movement to eat whatever you want nor is it about placing restrictions,” Amina said. “It’s about being kind to your body and realising you are not defined by the size of your waist.”
Should we train it to think well, all these minds would see reason in similar things and they would come up with the same absolute reality – a universal Truth. That Truth would be a reflection of the Natural order for all humankind. That Truth alone would be beautiful.
Today I do not know whether I want to grow out my hair or keep it short; I am just trying to breathe and be in the moment. To enjoy the journey rather than worrying, and waiting for the destination!
The last few years have been a struggle in accepting myself with the possibility of always having acne and believing that I am still beautiful, even on the “outside”. This journey of believing that I can be worthy of love, attraction, expression and desire regardless of my looks continues to be liberating and empowering.
And all my life I’ve lived alone. What it means to be beautiful, I’ve never known. I’ve had partners but…
The First International Film Festival for Persons with Disabilities was recently organised by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment…
An experimental haircut, trying on a new pair of earrings, a bright lip colour, or even wearing a skirt when your legs aren’t waxed and walking confidently down the street: these are revolutionary acts of self-care and self-love.
While the video’s message of women finding self-worth through beauty can be construed as sexist (our worth can’t be reduced to mere beauty and looks), and it also has the token ‘fat’ woman that one can criticise it for, one also can’t deny that the loving and acceptance of one’s body remains a universal, daily struggle of probably every woman the world over.
Graphic designers from 18 countries across the world were asked to Photoshop a single image of a young woman, and…