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Breaking the beauty stereotypes

I am dusky, I have 15 tattoos, I am on the heavier side, but I am wise, I am intellectually sound, and I am an artist

I love listening to old tales of my parents about their childhood and youth; it takes me down a nostalgic lane of memories I never had, but yet I can see them like a bioscope running before my eyes.

My dad tells me stories of his siblings, cousins, my grandfather’s wealth as a zamindar, our legacy as a royal dynasty from East Bengal, and ghosts. My mom, on the other hand, tells me stories of her bus journeys, dance classes, CPI(M), Naxal riots and her foreign travels with her dance troupe.

Though I remember all of them clearly, one episode remains etched in my heart and memory forever as I have faced the same and still do. My mom once told me that she started using a fairness cream when she first heard its advertisement on radio, and at 60, she still uses it. She should be its brand ambassador rather than the actor who endorses it now.

At a time when advertising was limited to radio and newspapers and there wasn’t much marketing propaganda, my mother started using the cream from the very day she heard about it. Why so? My mother is a beautiful Bengali woman, but the stereotypical norms of Indian society forced her to use beauty creams. Even after getting married, she retained such notions of beauty.

I faced the same too, applying the cream apart from sandalwood paste and what not. But now, I don’t care as I turned a rebel with a cause. I am still dusky, I have 15 tattoos, I am on the heavier side, but I am wise, I am intellectually sound, and I am an artist.

I too used the cream for a long time, but now, I just use a moisturiser. It’s not my skin colour that reflects my confidence; my talent does. Indian beauty norms will always say bigoted, but beauty comes from within and everyone is beautiful in his or her own way. I follow this philosophy now but it took me a long time to get there, through being bullied to be laughed at. Now I am proud of myself and I say no to anything that tells me to change myself.

You would be surprised, my mother too has lowered her use of the cream now. From my nostalgic memories, I have cut out the cream.

rupsha41@gmail.com

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2020 7:05:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/breaking-the-beauty-stereotypes/article30594957.ece

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