Friday, April 17, 2015

Coming to Terms with being perceived Average Looking

There are lot of fancy terms for such things, how to deal with "negative body image" and how to promote "healthy real role models". All these are polite terms that basically say how to deal with being told you look average.

Personally, I thought outer beauty would never bother me. I had ranted about the utter waste of the cosmetic industry when I was 19. When I left school, I was a supremely confident girl, bordering on arrogance.

However, college truly tested me in this regard. While for most of my part, I was not bothered and was concentrating on maintaining my academic rank, there were some statements that would prick me. Guys rating girls on a numerical scale would leave me repugnant. A part of my soul rankled as to how can some people who would themselves score poorly if they were assessed in a similar manner, judge others.

It took me some time to realise while this an issue that seems more relevant to women, is actually gender-neutral. The stigma of being dark, fat and other perceived unattractiveness is prevalent in both and is swept under the rug by both.

Outer beauty is celebrated, what with best looking girl awards, likes on Facebook, what not. And I failed miserably in all these parameters. Being dark, oily skinned, curly haired isn't exactly the recipe for extravagant looks. When I started shopping for make up, I ended up choosing costly ones because the cheap ones don't even come in my skin tone. Those experiences made me feel like, even make up can't help me.

All this did not matter when I had high self esteem. But when a few setbacks lowered my self esteem, looking average hurt. This was something I cannot change no matter how hard I work or practise, I am born with this face and body and I am in love with it. At the core of my soul, I don't want to change it. Yet, to say that I did not wish for some recognition in this department would be a blatant lie. Sometimes I even wondered perhaps the reason I had not experienced a single case of harassment thank God, was not because I was lucky but perhaps because I am not worth looking.

I slowly built my confidence back again. Yes, I messed up the silk saree I wore for my symposium, but people didn't forget the voice when I compeered. Yes, I have got average likes for my profile photos when I was in college but nearly all of my friends liked the status where I described I am doing a PhD at IIT.

When I showed my mother my farewell photos, she was downright indignant I didn't get a prize for looks. And she went on to compare me with every single girl in my class and described in which exact feature I looked better. That was when I truly understood that beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. My mother's love for me made it impossible for her to see me as anything but beautiful. It also made me realize I should not need for somebody else to validate my looks, I only need to love myself and the person I see in the mirror will transform into someone beautiful. But to put this knowledge into practice, it nearly took me two years and even now I do succumb to the weakness of expecting praise. Today I get twice the number of likes I used to get, partly because statistically I have more friends and partly because I really feel beautiful on the inside and it shows :)

Part of this pressure to look stunning all the time is due to the media for unrealistic standards. I'd be happy to see a female actor who decides to be simple like Rajnikanth and decides to come to an award show sans make up. And my humble request, please don't openly talk of giving points for beauty like the infamous Kareena Kapoor in K3G. You have no idea how detrimental it may be for a person's confidence.

Lastly, if you have at any point delved into self-doubt about your looks, remember that every birth on this planet is for a reason. It really does not matter, find what makes you beautiful and strive towards that.

Because in the end, the 19 year old me had much better common sense. Girl, with your smile, you are beautiful.


  1. Felt true.. In clg.. Its common n am undergoing through it... Nice to see a honest blogger..

    1. Hope you are ok now :) Work Hard and Play Hard :)