So this happened on Twitter last night:
Nothing more beautiful than a woman who doesn't care if she's looking beautiful.
— Oculus (@daddy_san) January 24, 2014
Following which the gentleman tweeter faced a fair bit of ire from a section of the Indian female population on Twitter.
And that's where the politically correct part of this post ends.
My first impression when I read the tweet was discomfort, like an itch you can't track the source of, that has you scratching the back of your left leg when the itchiness is being felt in your right ear.
So I stared at the tweet some more. This came to me:
So anyway, I thought some more.
I have never been 'beautiful' (except in a Maya Angelou/ My Mama Thinks I'm Beautiful kinda way). Therefore, I have pretty much always cared.
I have always cared because I have seen the more beautiful girls get advantages I never could, in spite of my sparkling personality and dazzling wit.
(Sidebar: Conversly, because of my sparkling personality and dazzling wit, I have had advantages that beautiful girls haven't - like a chance for someone to get to know me, a chance to be appreciated for who I am rather than what I look like.)
Inside me, live two people (well...more...but I'm only bringing two to the table).
There is a 13yr old fat girl who is trying SO hard to be validated by men because everything she's ever been surrounded by has informed her that men have the final word in how she measures her worth. Sure, she will also learn that getting a good job and having her own independent thoughts makes her valuable, but by and large she's figured out that she is not quite 'right' unless a guy tells her so.
Sucks coz guys never really end up telling her so.
What they do say is: she's too fat, she's too dark, they wish she'd dress up better, show her cleavage off more, trim her eyebrows, show her cleavage off less, grow her hair, wax her moustache, join a gym, smoke less, be cool and share a smoke.
Of course, they are stating a preference and what kind of a world do we want to live in if we can't let a human being state a preference? Besides, us women appreciate beauty too, don't we?
This Guy Vs. That Guy
Point is, I wish this preference would be just that: a preference in a world of infinite choices. Just an opinion. Unfortunately, the 13yr old fat girl living inside has come to understand it as a form of 'quality control'. In fact, it's all so messed up that she can no longer tell the difference between a preference and QC.
Now, this pisses the 34yr old woman off. She thinks: I'm not an object dammit. I'm not on some assembly line! My whole is bigger and more complex than the sum of my parts. And 'preference'? Like seriously? There's no such thing as a preference anymore. You can sugarcoat the opinions all you like, boys & girls, but it will always be a bit like saying: "It's just that I don't like when a Dalit drinks from my well. Am I stopping her from going to Venkatachallapthyrajulu's watering hole? Hell no! Am I telling her not to hydrate herself? Hell-er no!"
Here's my politics (which, as we all know, is always personal): A 13yr old confused fat girl, who's been dealt with cruelly a LOT. And a pissed off 34yr old who has no patience for anyone telling her what constitutes 'beautiful'.
Even if that definition of beautiful implies not caring about being beautiful: like piling on truckloads of 'natural' makeup to look like you just fell out of bed.
So here's my two cents, fellas. Perhaps there will be a time in the future where we will not be asked to take a magnifying glass to each definition of female beauty. But today is not that day.
And I know it sucks, but if you could, just take a hit. Take one for the team.
Also read: Dark Spots and Confessions for a more nuanced explanation of the itch I was trying to scratch.