I am a shade above the complexion of my cheeks!
By Saadia Ahmed
For centuries patriarchy has programmed women to look beautiful and woo their men using attractiveness as a tool. On the contrary men have been taught a completely different lesson altogether. Good looks have nothing to do with a man’s attractiveness. It is measured on the scale of the monetary strength he possesses. Be it hunting down the animals for dinner or the details of a bank account, we know what is mandatory for asking the hand of a woman. These roles are embedded in our thinking system in a way that despite the evolution of human civilization we refuse to step out, just like a caged bird who feels that freedom is not fit for his safety. Women continue to believe their success lies in appearing merely physically attractive. Consumerism must thank its lucky stars for this stereotype. On the other hand, men continue to feel inferior if they do not make enough money as if their pay checque defines their real worth.
It is also noticeable that many times it is not even about the individuals but the society that makes them think this way. You might think out of the box but the social boundaries will drag you back to straight lines and corners. You can always check out but you can never leave.
I am a blogger/columnist and theatrical reader for quite some time now. One reason for not being able to speak on this issue despite being haunted is my inhibition. No matter how cut throat my impression might be I have my fears. I feared the public reaction; out of the closet today though.
Thankfully my work has always been well received among the masses. But still deep down somewhere I am unable to break the shackles that hold me back. Many times my due credit goes down the drain because my looks are given a greater priority. No matter how hard I work towards my creative output. ‘You look so pretty’ is not always a compliment when your intellectual input and output holds a greater weight. Vanity is definitely our favourite sin but our real self-rests deeper than this.
The criterion of evaluating my brain’s potential is based upon my ability to carry a red lip colour and not the flow of thoughts that I am able to communicate effortlessly through my words. Sadly or gladly even appreciating a woman’s brains comes as ‘beauty with brains.’ Not only this, many times your intelligence is also discarded negatively as your physical appearance will be considered the major tool in landing you at a particular position. Dare I say sometimes this even leads to implying hypotheses I might even not want to quote? Yes, we are pretty distorted this way too.
Like every other woman of this society who has been taught over centuries to believe that it’s the length of her locks or the tint of her cheeks that determines her strength and success, I do take pride in the way I look. But this is not all I have to offer this world. This does not define me. I am a number above the size of my jeans. I am a shade above the complexion of my cheeks. I am an inch longer than the length of my locks. I am many folds above what patriarchy thinks of women. I am not just me. I am every woman whose abilities are underestimated for the way she looks.
Its high time gender roles move out of these stereotypes. Looks do not define a woman’s brains. Money does not define a man’s intellect. I can hear the times changing and the bells ringing already. I hope so do you.