Sunday, October 20, 2013

This is a hairy issue

We live in a world, where almost everything is marketed well. From food to fairness creams, many commodities are palmed off to us and let’s not put the blame on ad agencies, which make such ridiculous advertisements. But let the mindless buyers take the onus of becoming victims willfully. I’m not a careful buyer. But I have never fallen for fairness cream or soap that promises to make me look beautiful, for I completely appreciate that beauty is beyond what one sees. If those absurd advertisements made by some nincompoops annoyed me to a great degree, of late, an obnoxious question that is posed by many of my folks transport me to hell in no time. And the question is, “Don’t you wax your hands?” Or sometimes, people choose to ask bluntly, “Don’t you remove the hair above your upper lip?” Why would these questions irk me? Yes, this blog is going to be quite a rant.

Since the time I began to understand my body and mind, I have always been a tomboy. Although I studied in an all-girls school, I preferred hanging out with men and unknowingly I began to dress up like men too. I visit beauty salons once in a couple of months to get a haircut and maybe three times a year to trim my eyebrows and wax my arms. The habit of trimming the eyebrows and waxing the arms caught on when a friend pushed me to give it a try during schooling and I had to continue doing it because I began to believe that I look bad when I don’t doll up. And that illogical belief is what that I try hard to give up. Even if I think that I look okay and decide not to do all those things, there are people around me who ask some vexing questions, which make me feel awkward. Finally, I end up at the entrance of a parlour. Few questions that I regularly encounter are, “Why don’t you trim your eyebrows? Why don’t you groom yourself at least for your husband? Eek! Why is your hand so hairy?” Once, I lost my cool when a colleague, who tried to banter said, “Deepika, at the end of the day, we are all brothers. Because, we all have moustache!” I laughed along with him awkwardly. But when I was tired of my own laughter, I had to give it a thought. His remark made me believe that many men think women look less feminine when they have facial hair and when they refuse to do all that waxing drama. And a gynecologist, whom I had to meet to understand more about PCOD, added insult to injury. She asked me, “You don’t remove the hair above your upper lip, is it?” and she looked at my face for around 30 seconds. Although I understood that she was a narrow-minded gynecologist, my heart couldn’t buy my point and her question shrunk me for a while. And I did a bit of Googling and spoke with a few good-hearted friends, who explained that a woman, who has PCOD would naturally develop excess facial hair and it can be controlled with few lifestyle changes. The gynecologist gave me a long list of tests that I had to do. But the woman didn’t elaborate about the new sort of biological change I was going through. Thanks to Google, we get to put up with such silly doctors too!

I would like to marshal few questions to all the men and women, who are reading this blog now. I’m not trying to be preachy here. But these questions are absolutely genuine. “Why should a woman compulsorily doll herself up? Why should she remove facial hair or clean up her armpit and so what if it’s dark? Doesn’t she still deserve to be respected if she chooses to live with all that hair? Why does the society refuse to believe that it’s her personal choice? Will a man ever be disrespected if he chooses to grow beard?” Forgive me please, if my questions are nauseating. But won’t you agree with me if I believe that these questions make absolute sense? But I have found my answers - the answers that determine my actions.

I still stand in front of the mirror. I think of the guy, who passed that caustic remark about me. I laugh at his insensitivity and untactfulness. I see all that hair and the acne on my face. I pat myself for not becoming a prey to those cosmetic products. I pray for more courage and sense to not to brood over such futile things. I prop myself up to face those questions again. I prepare myself to discriminate between what is real beauty and what is believed as beauty. I brace myself to live in this world that’s enslaved by vanity and I wish for a world where a person is respected before being judged. And I tell myself that this is the real ‘me’ after all!

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