So, I saw the following picture on Facebook and it evoked mixed reactions in me. While on one hand, I was pleased with the picture because it gave the right message, I was also angry that it gave that message in a wrong way!
Yes, you don’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. Everyone is different and we don’t have a right to comment on their differences. And we definitely do not have a right to label them imperfect! Who decides what’s perfect? Is fair skin so much better than olive skin that everyone should strive to change their skin color? Is frizzy hair so much worse than straight hair that people should go to extreme lengths to get rid of it? Who decides these things?
Is there a rule book for this stuff? I sometimes ask my mom this question when she says that something has to be a certain way. She always replies that , “No, it’s not written anywhere. It’s just the way things are.” And she’s not the only one. When I hear someone say that someone (a third person) has such and such flaw, I ask them the same thing: Where is written that it’s a “flaw”? And there reply is the same. “It’s not written anywhere. It’s just how things are. Everyone says it would be more beautiful if it were so.”
Just how things are? Everyone says? So just because everyone has strange ideas for beauty, people have to strive to measure up to them? People should change their eyes, nose, entire facial structure, skin tones just to be meet the absurd standards of beauty decided by “everyone”? And what if someone doesn’t do all that? Would they be deemed ugly for the rest of their lives for being born a certain way?
Most people do not give a direct answer for the last question and often try to change the subject, but, in the end, never their ways. The comments on someone’s “imperfections” would start again, on another day, in another gathering. But in my opinion, those very people who love to point out these “imperfections” in other are clearly revealing their own with every word they utter!
While on one hand, I strongly support the message in the above picture that we should not make fun of people for supposed “imperfections”, I really dislike the way the message is presented as if those people are pitiful victims. First of all, why are these even imperfections? Shouldn’t imperfections be things 99.99% of the world’s population not experience? But then isn’t acne something that most of world’s population goes through at one time or another? Aren’t crooked teeth fairly common? Don’t noses come in different shapes and sizes? (And if you don’t believe me, go make a character in The Sims!) Doesn’t every single person on the planet at one time suffer from bad vision?
Secondly, I don’t think portraying people with these characteristics as people who can’t control it and have no choice in the matter is giving a positive meaning to this message! It’s like saying, “You know what, I hate that people make fun of you because of your big nose, or acne, or bad vision, but it’s not your fault. You can’t do anything about it, can you?”
Is that supposed to make them feel better? If it were me (and if I cared), it would make me feel worse! I’m that poor person with the crooked teeth, bad vision, and frizzy hair, who can’t fit in a size 0 dress. I have no control over it and I can’t change it, and while some defend me against mean people, in the end, even if they don’t say it outright, they think it’s a flaw in me and pity me because I have no control over it.
NO! JUST NO!
Maybe, many people would be against me saying all this, saying that I’m just nit-picking about an image that is actually telling people not to make fun of others. But you know, I think because of the “victimization” in that photo, instead of teaching people (especially teens who are most impressionable) to be comfortable in their own skin, to be confident regardless of their appearance, we’re actually teaching them to care a lot about these things. Because if they are not making fun of you, they are pitying you.
I wear glasses because I’m half blind. Quite a few people have told me to shift to contacts and I can easily do that anytime I want. But I don’t. Because, I actually enjoy wearing glasses. I’m not doing it because I have no other way to treat my bad vision! I’m doing it because I love wearing glasses! I’m also not a size 0 and it’s not because I can’t control my weight and have no choice in it. On the contrary, it’s because I would rather enjoy life and taste different things instead of continuously holding a measuring tape against my body and worrying about how I would no longer fit in to size 0 clothes if I take another morsel!
I also have to deal with acne and it bothers me because acne is actually quite painful. But I don’t care because it comes and it goes and then everything goes back to how it was! I’ve also been told that I have a big nose, but when I look at myself in the mirror, I see that my nose fits perfectly with my face. So, when everything fits perfectly, exactly what am I supposed to be bothered about?
My point is that saying that people who are “imperfect” have no control over their “imperfections” or implying that they are pitiful is wrong, because many of them are happy with themselves and do things because they would rather do it that way! Also, instead of defending people against those who arbitrarily decide the standards of beauty, we should teach them to be confident and love themselves for what they have instead of being hateful for what they don’t have and trying to change themselves.
Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others.
Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval.
Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.
— Lao Tzu