Your Advertisement Tells Me I’m Ugly

I always told myself, one day I’ll start a campaign against this. If not for me, for those who might watch these ads and convince themselves that they are ugly without it.

Have you ever seen the ads that say,

 “Use this to have long and luscious lashes.”

“Erase away the black spots and pimples that  make you not want to show your face.”

“Smell like a goddess, he’ll be all over you.”

“This lip color, it’ll make you look very very sexy.”

I read such things and I think to myself, ‘So you’re telling me that without all this, no man would want me? That when I get a zit, if I don’t erase it, I shouldn’t show my face out in the world even though it is something that is unbelievably natural and happens to almost every human being on the planet?’

Spending millions of dollars for these unrealistic versions of beauty created with a team of artists and designers that photoshop every part of the person’s face and airbrush it until it looks utterly flawless to convince me that unless I buy that product my face will look ugly with black spots, zits and freckles – I’ll be the first to say I’ve never seen a beauty product advertisement that works on boosting your self-esteem because if you feel pretty without it, they don’t have a market to sell to.

When I asked someone to define beauty advertisements, she gave me one word. “Deceptive.” Oh how I wish I could disagree.. not really.

I’ll be very honest here. I’ve been bitten. I use make-up almost on an everyday basis. But I still have those moments when I look in the mirror and think, ‘Is there a chance that I look better without it? More me? Then I go back to using it because I have bought into the fact that maybe my lashes are too short, my eyes are too deep set and my lips are not luscious. How will the man I love, love me back if I don’t look like the model he gazes at on the cover of the magazine in the newsstand on the road side store on his way to work every morning ?!

Her skin is smooth, her hair so shiny and her eyes so sparkly. I want to wear what she’s wearing so maybe I can look a bit like her and he will see in me what he sees in her. But do I ever stop long enough to notice that he sees in her a woman he wants for a night while I want to be the woman he holds for life? No, because the colored eye liner, the perfect eye palette and the spf180 lip balm have occupied every little part of my brain exactly the way the person who put that perfectly altered photograph of the woman on that cover wanted it to and I have lost control over feeling like I need to get rid of those dark circles that are there from working all night, feeling the need to never have a dry skin moment and oh, have I mentioned the setting spray that gave me a face allergy ?!

Don’t even get me started on the sales assistant who stops me at the shampoo aisle and says “Ma’am, some moisturizers? Dry skin cream?” and I start to feel incredibly self-conscious, wondering if my face looks too dry and she’s pointing it out. Then I get sucked in with three different products and a face wash that I do not use.

Then the “fairness” and “whitening” advertisements. Oh nobody cares, nobody looks at her, nobody gave her a job. Then she uses the product for a few weeks and OMG ! She’s so hot, she’s so pretty and everybody wants to give her the job ! Can we stop for a moment and re-think the stupidity of that ad? If you can only get your life going if your skin is white, President Obama would not have won. Twice.

I used to be that kid that hated the word make-up. Now, I have more products than anyone else in my family. So, give me the opportunity to be over dramatic and say, “It’s too late for me, but please. Go save yourself !”

Because that man that loves you, he’ll love you no matter what. He’ll find the freckles adorable and understand that pimples are a part of natural beauty. He’ll love you for how he feels with you and not what he sees on you. Honestly, try a first date without any make-up. If he’s The One, he’s going to see you like that more often than not.

That job you want so desperately, it’s yours if you have what it takes. And I do not mean two hundred shades of eye liner and the perfect mascara. If you land a job because the boss finds you attractive, know that sooner than later you’re going to be suing him for physical harassment and at that point, don’t tell me it was shocking. You and I both knew it was coming.

Advertising a product is very important. I’m a mass communication student, I can understand it. But making me feel so bad about myself so you can make more money to create more products for which you will make more ads that will make me feel even worse, now that should be a crime.

I have one last thing to say to you, the one who’s reading this. You are absolutely stunningly beautiful just the way you are. I promise. Keep your beautiful heart and you’ll never have an ugly day in your life.

“I’m Not A Girl Anymore..”

Slowly, with life experiences and baby steps, from high school to university to a working environment and the real world, watching our friends grow into adults, observing our changing needs and desires, understanding our lives changing and learning the ability to accept it – this is how a girl, any girl, must realize that she is no longer a girl. That she is indeed a woman.

But this world doesn’t work like that anymore. In this world, women walk around scared and insecure because they have been pushed to grow up. Because our societies have started perceiving us as women before we could even understand the complex simplicity of that word.

The 23-year-old intern in Delhi, gang raped by a boy who shouldn’t have known that much and men who should have known better.  The number of people who pointed their fingers at her for getting in that bus in the first place. Here’s an idea. Maybe, she didn’t know that much yet. Maybe she was still that little girl who believed that the world was filled with superheroes. That every man was a brother, a father, a best friend. That when they look at her, they would see the child that they can befriend, not the body that they can use.

The 24-year-old techie in Chennai, gang raped. People came up with a million reasons. She should’ve known better than to walk alone in the middle of the night. “She should’ve known better.” Ever think that maybe she needed more time to know better? That maybe, just maybe, she didn’t see what the society saw? But we don’t care. She’s 24 ! She’s a woman who should’ve known better !

That’s the thing. Being a certain age isn’t what makes us women. We don’t turn 21 and suddenly say “OHMYGOD ! I’M A WOMAN !” No. We need time, patience, life lessons and lots of experience before we become women.

And no matter what, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING EVER JUSTIFIES A MAN TOUCHING A GIRL / WOMAN WITHOUT HER PERMISSION.

I’m still a girl. I’m insecure. I walk in fear of who to trust and who to take three steps away from. I accuse every man who looks my way of wrong thoughts. Just because..

I had to endure a doctor move his hand that inch too close, the man on the street wink and make kissing faces, the guy I’ve known since I was two-years-old ask me if I wanted to “go grab a drink after hours” and the society that tells me that all of the above is my fault. Don’t look. Don’t smile. Don’t wear what you want. Don’t do what you feel like doing. And never ever let a man too close, doesn’t matter who he is.

I honestly don’t know if it’s the society’s fault or the men’s. But I do know that something has to change. Drill it into everyone’s brains if we have to but we need to make them understand that while you’re looking at someone you’d like to use, she’s looking at someone she believes will protect her from someone like you..