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The Pressure to be Pretty

PressureImage by kevindooley via Flickr

"I've got two daughters who will have to make their way in this skinny-obsessed world, and it worries me, because I don't want them to be empty-headed, self-obsessed, emaciated clones; I'd rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny – a thousand things, before 'thin'."
"There are too many stupid girls in the media. Hermione's not scared to be clever. I think sometimes really smart girls dumb themselves down a bit, and that's bad. When I was nine or ten, I would get really upset when they tried to make me look geeky, but now I absolutely love it. I find it's so much pressure to be beautiful. Hermione doesn’t care what she looks like. She's a complete tomboy"
The above is a quote from my favorite author J K Rowling (The author of Harry Potter). I am a big fan of the series and of Hermione too. But this is not a post about that.
I read a very horrible story today.  A pretty 13-year-old British girl committed suicide after being dubbed "ugly" by her classmates. She had been told to join a modeling agency for "Ugly People" (read it here)
According to a 2007 survey conducted by the Dove Self-Esteem Fund and Seventeen magazine, more than 4 in 10 girls and young women only see their flaws when they look in the mirror.
Now I know that I write about being pretty and make-up on a daily basis. It may sound weird coming from me,  but looking good is not the end-all & be-all of being a woman. 
You don't owe it to the world or anyone else to be pretty or perfect  just because you are woman. It is not the price you pay for being a female in this world. It is an indulgence meant to make you feel good about yourself and because you enjoy it. 
There are things more important than being Pretty, like being Confident, Healthy, Happy, Independent, Nice, Kind. 
I would hate for the world to lose another smart, young girl just because the adults around her failed to inclucate a sense of pride in her for just being herself.  
And if you are suffering from low self esteem due to the way you look, I can only say this to you, 
People may forget how how pretty you are, and how wonderfully you dress, but they will always remember how you made them feel. 

"You are beautiful no matter what they say
Words can't bring you down
You are beautiful in every single way
Yes, words can't bring you down"
- Beautiful by Christina Aguilera 

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  1. Love you for this post Tanvi..

    **biiig hug**

  2. @Pretty Poornima: I was very shocked & saddened by the article. Low self esteem is a problem so rampant amongst girls, & it is what hold us back.

    Kids can be so mean sometimes.

    & Thks a lot for the lovely comments :D

    **Really big, huge, hug***

  3. Great post T. Even I as an adult see my flaws in the mirror everyday but I know better than to let that bring down my self esteem. But kids don't know better. Yes most parents do their best to make their kids feel special, but it's the peer pressure that gets to them the most. They spend most of their time in school n if they get bullied n being called ugly every single will break them down eventually no matter how much love they get at home for the rest of the day. If they believe Santa Claus is real...they'll believe anything. The schools should also seriously look into these things.

  4. Its a bitter truth of our society that we are neglecting the inner beauty or nature and instead we die for people who"look"beautiful. Its saddening indeed.

  5. @CZ: I totally agree.

    Kids are subjected to so much pressure these days. Peer pressure can get them into all the wrong thoughts and activities.

    Schools & teachers need to take up some responsibility for what happened there. After all these kids spend most of their day in school.

  6. @Sarah: I agree.. The outside has become so important that it is ok to be mean and rude and competitive and pull others down, but it is not ok to be unfashionable.

  7. Hoo thats sad. kids are sensitive and conscious now a days.

  8. Really gr8 post!!I must say these things r becoming way more rampant- esp in the western world where children get exposed to all these false ideas very early- makes them loose their plain, happy childhood & lose focus on wat is important like studies!!But we are not too far away frm having the nxt generation here too behave in the same way- kids really need protection - esp if its a girl child..there r jst too many scary thing out there!

  9. tell me about it. i was soo insecure about my weight in school. i had ballooned up a lot and waddled around like a duck. i never thought i was ugly, but then we all have our own little insecurities about the way we look. the weight shed gradually on its own accord and even though i continue to be nice and chubby, i have no regrets. it takes time to love yourself and i have finally learnt how to!

  10. This is a very thoughtful post , Tanveer. I even saw a documentry on the same issue a few years back and it was then I got to know till what extent women go to become thin and look pretty. I think it all comes from the society we live in. We have matrimonials that start with "fair, slim.." kind of adjectives. What else could we expect? We have women like Kareena Kapoor that influence young girls in a negative way to achieve size zero.

    Sigh!! I can really go on and on with it. I guess will stop here. :)

  11. Nice post Tanveer .

  12. ok when I first started visiting your blog, for me it was where I could have my queries solved and you were just someone who could give me good advice. But after reading this post, I can totally see the person behind this blog and I am sure it is not just a pretty face but lot of substance too. Cheers to you!!


  13. @Ani: I agree.

    @Simran: I think it is happening here already.. Generally the younger generation is taller then the earlier one because of better genetics & nutrition. I have noticed that Indian girls instead of being taller and getting shorter (even than their moms) & becoming more frailer.

  14. @Rima: I am so glad that u have grown up into a strong, confident woman who believes in herself :D
    Like u said we all have insecurities, but obsessing over them to the exclusion of our strengths is also not right. We all are special in our own way :D

  15. @Rati: Exactly, the society as well as us women.. A lot of girls and women are extremly mean to those who are not as pretty, or dark or plump. We tend to ostracize them more than a man wld do.

    I think women are very competitive at times and if their energies are not channeled constructively they start obsessing over who is wearing what in a very destructive manner to pull down others..

    The media of course with all the photoshopping just adds fuel to the fire..

  16. @shweta: Thks :D

    @Swati: Thk u so much for the wonderful words of praise.. :D

  17. My self-estem was too low during my schooling/college days,since Im petite,I got good guidance from my home which groomed me well.
    Instead of worrying about things that can't change ;) I focussed more on my career and do things best in a way, that I outstand from others :) After working couple of years in MNC, now I could completely realize that "First we need to respect ourselves"

  18. @Vidhya: Hey! Welcome! I am so glad tht u got support frm yr home and tht has helped you become a strong confident woman today!

    you are absolutely right, if we don't respect ourselves or value our uniqueness, neither will any one else. Just like charity begins at home, respect too begins with us first. Thks for sharing your views here :D


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