Beauty is…

Did anyone read in this mornings DT that young girls who are diabetics are not taking their insulin , so they can lose weight. It is shocking, because by doing so  they are putting themselves at risk of heart attacks and kidney damage.I wondered what it is that makes women take such risks with their well being?

A lot is said that it is celebrity culture, and the likes of Victoria Beckham, who look as if they have come from a prison where they were starved of food and drink,who have started this trend.

 I come from an Eastern culture. In India being plump was a sign that you came from a wealthy family.It is funny though, when parents are looking for a bride for their sons,they always want a girl who is “slim,tall,and fair”. But once she is married,the girl is expected to flourish and look well fed and “comfortable”!

But all this started to change in the sub-continent, during the late 80s and the 1990s. When suddenly India became a venue for beauty contests and pagents.

Beauty competitions fall in the Marmite category. You either love them or hate them. In the early 70s and the 1980s they were all the rage. BBC screened them and they were a, huge crowd puller. The so called beauties from all over the world, strutted their admirable goals in life. All the good these women promised to do, while standing on that glittering stage. That am surprised there is anything left in the world which needs reforming!

But it will be wrong of me to say that these were air heads, publicity seeking bimbos. Some of them were doctors, engineers and dentists. The fact that they had both beauty and brains, only served to make the likes of me green with envy.

This until the feminist movement and the moral police  in the west came on the scene,in the late nineties  the venues were picketed, and the contestants threatened. The British television withdrew, and the sponsers of these contests started looking for other venues, mostly in the far east.

But since the late 1990s somehow India has taken the centre stage in the beauty business. It has produced many Miss Worlds. That was the time when India was begining its economic rise, and the Indians were looking for the luxury goods from the west ,which they could now afford.

Once the trade regulations were relaxed, the famous beauty houses like LOreal and Lancome ,swooped on the sub-continent. Spending millions creating a dream image for the women in that country.

And when  many Miss India were crowned Miss World. The beauty business became very lucrative. And every young woman in India started dreaming of becoming one. There are many contests in the sub-continent. Miss India world pageant , Miss India World, Miss Teen India, Mrs India ,and Miss India Times are a few among many.

A year or so age the BBC showed a documentary on this topic. It showed the massive growth of “institutions” in India, which will at a fees turn any ugly duckling into a potential beauty queen. The uptake among the middle classes, it has to be , as they are very expensive, was tremendous.” Most parent; drawled the commentator,” have only one ambition these days, they want their daughters to win a beauty contest.” The rest of the documentary was about the cut throat competition ,and the bitchiness among the competitors and their families. Every girl in that film was just too eager to come on the camera and slag off the other girl. The notion of beauty is quite specific in Indian society. Being fair is a prime requirement. And any girl who was not was criticised by other girls.No altruism there then!

The beauty bussiness has become a very big part of the Indian society.And now it is reported that Bulimia and Anorexia, conditions which were never even heard of in that culture, are becoming common.

In the western world,we are becoming more and more body concious. Girls as young as eight and nine years old are opting for liposuction and body sculpting. The dream is to become a size zero. I wondered if we did away with the sizes altogether, how will women gauge that they are a perfect figure? 

The beauty contests in this country are flourishing. And they report a hugr rise of Asian enterants, who want to compete for this coveted title.

It is interesting to see this shift in priorities among young Asian girls in this country. More and more are moving away from the traditional pursuits of professional careers. Most Asian parents want their daughters to become doctors and lawyers, and find a “suitable boy” and settle down. But it seems that young Asian women these days are setting their own agenda. They don’t want to become doctors and lawyers. They want to cash in on their looks.

I suspect we constantly portray a certain image of the perfect woman.From television programme which portray extreme make overs,where the woman is whisked away to LA , where someone breaks her nose. chisles her jaw and re-sets her teeth.She is lipo -sucked, tummy tucked and her face is lifted. The “experts” work on her hair and clothes, and she comes back looking something completly different. I feel sorry for their partners, no one asks them if the fancy this new version of their other half?

I confess to watching these programmes and wishing that someone will whisk me away , and turn me into something am not!  So it is no wonder that young,impressionable girls, are going to great lenghts to fit that image of the perfect woman.Some one wrote in a blog today that  boob jobs are the biggest graduation presents! I once saw the parents of a 14 year old being interviewed on the television ,and where the father was stating that he was going to give his daughter the present of that surgery on her 16th birthday.

So we cant blame our young people, if they go to dangerous lengths to attain a certain look,when their parents,who should know better, are setting such example..



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