Who’s The Fairest of Them All

Beauty is an adjective that has been so hard to define. Over the years, the perception of beauty has been transformed along with civilization and culture. Now in a society so driven by material pleasures and flamboyance, its only but natural that the face of beauty has also become a superficial display of the most exquisitely crafted mask.

We all walk through a costume party- all the real identities hidden behind these masks that we have created. Some take pleasure in creating these smoke screens while others do it just to feel like they belong. And like always there are the rebels.

My own experience has inspired me to write this piece- an experience that made me question, what matters more when you look at a woman- beauty or intelligence. For centuries women have been judged for their curves, poise and the current chart topper-fair skin. We are being bombarded by this concept like a large scale brain wash where people are not even given the space to think other wise. With FMCG companies that thrive on social stereotypes this ideas are now becoming more concrete. Starting from the age old Fair & Lovely to Ponds Gold radiance, all these advertisements continuously reinforce the idea upon people that a woman’s success, both professionally and personally, depends on her beauty and the color of her skin.

Time and again people say that intelligent women are for the long run but how would you meet that girl if you cannot get past the idea that your girlfriend should make your friend’s jaw drop. Men would rather marry the picture perfect woman, even though they may never share any mental connection. And if they ever do meet that perfect girl and God forbid she not meet the basic criteria of looks and “nesting” abilities then she becomes the “best friend”.

Yes, it would be unfair of me to generalize that beautiful women are not intelligent and vice versa. It is very much true there are enough exceptions to the rule. But I talk about the majority. Rationally, vanity and intellect should not see eye to eye. To the intellect the superficial nature of vanity would be truly irksome, and thus the deduction.

Unfortunately, despite all these arguments majority would rather prefer a fair-skinned, straight haired beauty over a plain looking woman who actually makes your life complete and not your social image. The parameter of beauty in a woman’s resume is not a recent addition From the time of Cleopatra to the Aishwarya Rai of today, beauty has played a pivotal role in a woman’s stand in society. Television shows are a stark display of this reality. The casting mostly consist of a fat or bald man but their wives would always be petite and poised. Even the success rate of a heroine would be much higher if she were beautiful as opposed to if she were talented. Most of our pageant queens entered the silver screen with nothing but their beauty. But that kept them in the industry long enough to find the right mentors and get the right breaks. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for many of the highly talented actresses who never saw the light of main stream cinema.

So I guess time and again, society itself has given the answer to my question. And unfortunately the answer is disappointing. Women are more of an accessory in a man’s life, a wall hanging or a Rolex watch. Not an aspiring achieving individual. We as a society would rather remember the Helens of Troy than the Jansi Ranis of India. In the end the question we all ask is:

“Mirror Mirror on the Wall

Who’s the fairest of them all?”


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