The beauty industry has been setting unrealistic standards of female beauty for decades. Adding fuel to the fire was the CBSE textbooks declaring ‘36-24-36’ as the ideal shape for girls; blasphemous to say the least!
Today, we talk to real women and attempt to trace the concept of beauty across the ages. Debunking these perceptions, Pune women, tell it like it is…
Six-year-old Khanak idolises her Barbie.
“I want to grow up to be just like her!” she exclaims explaining that she wants to be tall and willowy mirroring her doll in every facet from head to toe. “She is especially fond of Barbie’s lustrous blonde mane,” laughs mum- Karuna with a hint of annoyance.
21-year-old Piyu Shrikanth believes washboard abs, toned thighs and skinny arms are ideal. “Not 36-24-36, but I’d definitely like to be skinnier than I am at the moment,” she rues. “That being said, I don’t mind a little fluff on the cheeks. I think it looks adorable,” she adds. “I remember wanting to look like Preity Zinta when I was seven. With her fair skin and dimpled cheeks, she was all the rage at the time. Sadly countless fairness creams failed to get me the Zinta glow!” she laughs remembering.
Offering an opinion to the contrary is Smitha Jain, a career woman and mum of two. Jain believes curvy is more than acceptable at 45. “As you grow older, the emphasis shifts from being ‘size zero’ to having a healthy body,” she says. “I guess it happened to me after the birth of my second son. Rather than focusing on becoming skinny again, I realised ‘size zero’ was a tall order and instead worked on just being fit.”
“I must admit, it was a huge relief! I could finally stop counting every calorie I consumed. (A weight-watching habit I had since I was 16). Even though I’m on the heavier side now, the lack of self-imposed pressure is more than worth it,” she beams.
Indeed, it seems that body image issues fade away with age helping women adopt a much healthier perspective with self-love.
Zeenat Kachwala is a wisened 60-year-old who has much to say on the subject. Mercifully, she has no qualms about her own figure. Nevertheless, the grandma opines that young belles must strive to stay svelte. “How else will they find a good man?” is her unabashed opinion.
Her collegiate granddaughter Ruhi attempts to explicate the equal importance of a flourishing career, but Nana is in no mood to be chastised.
“Luckily, perspectives are evolving these days,” grins Ruhi proudly sharing that her father was the one who ordered her never to worry about her weight or ape a model’s figure.
Avik Pradhan, a city-based gym instructor is keen to reiterate the need for shedding unhealthy expectations. “Women of all ages come in wanting to be 36-24-36, but it’s highly unworkable. Amazingly, it’s not even what men want. We love a woman who is in love with the way she looks and it shows!”
So guess what ladies? You just need to be in love with the shape of you.
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