Society has set some rules of what beauty is. The advertisement featuring slim models with clean and hairless skin, big lips and a lot of make-up, is contributing to set these social norms. Men who desire for women with these qualities, are also participating in this. Even women are participating in this, as is written in the magazine Speilvendt which inspired me to write this post:
“It seems like the modern woman is caught in an endless struggle to not end up behind in the struggle to look good enough. For every new weapon women use in the war against bodily defects, they are not only raising the list for themselves, but also for other women. That which was meant to climb on the sociocompetitive list for one woman, is forcing the other women to do the same. The result is contrary to their wish, that none is in the lead… if all are beautiful, everyone is average”
Our gurus told us to keep our hair, as it’s a way to accept what God has given us and to shift our attention from the outer look to our inner qualities and values. They wanted us to focus on becoming better human beings, and not use all our time to look more attractive. Today this is a very difficult task for women. Today, when society has set some rules and defined what beauty is and how the bodies of women should be, this is becoming more difficult. I know this, because I have been through such experiences myself, and I know it’s hard. Still I am facing situations where I have to choose between what I want (which is to keep my hair and be fearless and proud of it) and what society wants (to conform to the beauty concept society has defined). I have always wanted to learn to swim properly, but the few times I have been in a swimming pool I have been too conscious about that I am different from how society defines a woman. The most difficult thing for me has been to walk to the swimming pool and knowing that I am different. And yes, till now I have been following what society wants, as I have been choosing to avoid the swimming pool or my wish to learn to swim properly. Isn’t it a sad thing to sacrifice your own desires because society wants something else? Moreover, if someone does talk behind your back because you look different, is that more important or that you do what you want to do? Why do we let the norm society has set for us to control and have the power to decide our actions or how we should look like?
Our gurus teached us to stand against injustice. Isn’t this an injustice? That society has the power to decide what beauty is? If women are participating in raising the threshold of what beauty is and what’s not beautiful, we together can participate in giving a resistance to this movement. If we can hold on our values, if we can be fearless and behold our hair, our body the way we want, we can fight this injustice. Yes, not cutting your hair and not going under the social pressures, is tough. However, we should think that actually we are not doing this for ourselves only – we are doing this for the society. We are participating in expanding the concept of beauty society is holding onto. We are participating in raising the self-confidence of those women who feel they are not good enough. If we look at it this way, we are actually doing a sewa – a unselfish act. We are preaching to society what humanity is through our actions. Not cutting your hair is not just your project – it’s so much bigger than that. Your actions has an impact on your near ones, which again has an effect on your community and which again has an impact on the whole society. Be the change. Be brave. Be what you want to be. Let’s expand the beauty-concept together.
I went swimming some time ago having this in mind while walking to the swimming pool. That I am doing this not just for myself, but for the society. Just this thought gave me a whole different experience than I have had earlier. I was more confident, I didn’t think about what others were thinking and tried to learn to swim with a friend of mine.
Is your actions a cause of what society wants you to do or is it based on what YOU want? What do you want to do the rest of your life? Follow what society wants or what you want? Give it a thought. As I think about it, perhaps I should start to go swimming more. Not just because I want to swim, but because I want to participate in expanding the concept of beauty. For the sake of all those women who conform to the society norms because the society force them to do it, not because they want to do it.
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