Dear celebrities, spread the message that beauty is not about make-up, not about what and how you dress or anything that you possess but about how high your self-esteem is
First, I would like to congratulate you for all the fame and success. I acknowledge your efforts, passion, talent, sacrifices and stress which helped you reach the top. You truly deserve merit, fame, success and respect. I am writing this letter due to a strong reckoning from two incidents that occurred to me recently. One was a conversation with my own daughter and another is related with a promotional video that went viral on social media.
For a wedding ceremony in my family, my daughter asked for a dress worn by one of you. Since I come with limited means, I tried to convince her that she can wear the dress she wore for another ceremony some time ago. “Dress worn once cannot be worn again” she retorted. “What will people say when they see me in the same dress for two occasions?” I remembered an incident where I mistakenly tried to compare her academic performance with one of her friends.’ She had said “stop comparing me with others. I am what I am. I do not care what others do or think about me”
In other incident there is a celebrity delivering in a beautifully choreographed advertisement the power and importance of makeup, being trendy and fashionable. She says how using make-up and wearing fancy dress improves your confidence.
It is just a coincidence that I am talking about one gender. If I had a teenage boy my contention and reckoning could have been the same. So, do not consider this letter misogynistic or an attempt to show one gender as superior to other.
Due to advances in internet, especially social media, you have become a teacher, a leader, trend-setter and someone who youths look up to, more than any time ever in history. Again, I do not believe being trendy or using make-up is bad for everyone. I do not mean everybody should be simple, studying history and politics, or broadly speaking, going by pre-set dogma of what is right and wrong. I understand and empathize with the millennials. I also had my set of indulgence and rationality.
Again, I think one can take whatever choice one wants, they can choose whom to be influenced with and whom to follow, what to wear, what to do and what not. But, every action should come after strong self-realization, strong self-belief and everyone should be comfortable in their skin. My daughter thinking she is inferior, unloved, undeserving because of her not looking chic and trendy is something that is unacceptable for me and after some time that will be same for you too.
For my daughter, her thinking that she should wear new dress in every occasion is fine. But, she should be in position to understand the cost, our background, to understand how celebrities own or afford such clothing and make-up. If she could understand that she needs to merit her wants and not everything comes for granted that would be an ideal case scenario for me.
She should also understand that she will come across challenges both internal and external, challenges which will not be solved by how she looks.
Just being adamant to the fact that she wants a dress without acknowledging what it takes will, for short term, put some pressure on me but in the longer run this will not help her evolve as a person. Thinking she gets confidence only by wearing particular dress or make-up will not help her grow happy. This will cocoon her to the acquired belief that “appearance and beauty is confidence” and will keep her inhibited so as not to let express herself or expose her to unlimited possibilities of becoming a happy individual.
Think of teenagers
Dear celebrities, I understand that being an icon is not easy. Your life too is not as it seems as a final product. More often than not, the grueling work in progress is hidden. Your effort, dedication, intelligence, adaptability and your vulnerabilities do not make the final cut. And youths like my daughter, tend to believe life is a honky-dory tale and they should have the same.
One more thing outside of this purview. If every teenage girl (or boy) puts the same emphasis on appearance and defines beauty in the same way, I largely fear for the gender neutrality movement. If equality and equity devoid of gender is a war, we are using a wrong weapon. I largely fear for that.
As a parent, I understand the major responsibility to make my daughter help to understand life and its challenge is pre-dominantly mine. I am aware of the fact that I should not segregate between good and bad based on my pre-conceived notion.
But your inputs will greatly help. You sending out the messages that it is not what it seems, there are lots and lots of challenges and duties involved will help my daughter and her friends a great deal in their understanding.
In the current scenario, my contention might seem retrogressive. After all, trends have been there for as long as mankind. Rest assured, I am not against the tide. For my daughter, I largely fear about her self-esteem, her confidence, her ability to express, which she now thinks is determined by the fancy bubble of appearance. I fear, what she will feel when that bubble bursts.
It might be hard in this age of consumerism and material wellbeing, but if possible please spread a unanimous message that beauty is not about make-up, beauty is not about what and how you dress or anything that you possess but rather it is how you feel about yourself and how high your self-esteem is without make-up and without material wellbeing.