Fair enough.

Written by M.A.Ramya, 3rd year in Chemical Engineering.

A young, smart girl goes for a job interview. However despite her qualifications she gets rejected and evidently loses confidence in herself. The reason? Her complexion. After trying out a new fairness cream recommended by an extremely fair and successful friend, she immediately gets the job without even sitting for the interview. Reason? Her unusually fair skin tone. This is just an example of an advertisement that brings out our society’s ‘light –skin’ obsession. Sadly, such ads always associate a dark complexion with low self-esteem, depression and inability to achieve one’s goal. On the contrary, a fair complexion goes hand in hand with respect, popularity and confidence. Young girls are made to believe that everything revolves around looks and external beauty, and as a result they tend to lose self-confidence. Being a college student myself, I have seen the extent to which continuous body shaming can affect a person’s self-worth.

Award-winning burlesque dancer Lillian Bustle gave a fitting reply to one such incident targeted at her size.

“I happen to use this word as a self-descriptor,” Bustle says in a powerful TEDxJerseyCity Talk. “And I don’t say it to put myself down.” Bustle goes on to identify exactly why using the word ‘fat’ as a dirty word is so damaging — and reveals her secret to body acceptance. “We as women are programmed to tell each other that we’re not fat because to many people — both men and women — fat is the worst thing that you can be” she says.

“I’m five foot three, so I call myself short. I’m married, so I call myself a wife. I weigh 240 pounds, so I call myself fat. And I am beautiful, so I call myself beautiful. And I’m all of those things at once.”

Every girl should realize that inner beauty is what matters most. Stop judging and appreciate the beauty within you. Don’t wait for affirmation from someone that you are beautiful. It’s all up to you. If you love yourself, the rest will follow. Recently I was extremely touched when a friend of mine complimented me on how I was easily approachable and friendly. That was definitely a bigger compliment than “Oh you look gorgeous!” While body positivity and fat phobia alike are often dismissed as superficial topics, they have great impact on the lives of countless women. Learning to love oneself is not only challenging, but it’s a true act of bravery — a reality Bustle acknowledges.

Don’t wait for someone to love you or compliment you. Learn to love yourself for who you are and treat yourself the way you want others to treat you. There will always be some people to point out your flaws. However it’s up to you to face criticism positively. Do not wake up every morning to please someone else. Please yourself. Remember, to be beautiful is to be you!

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