Written By: Baldev Raj
What a beautiful woman! That’s all you hear from them whenever they see a woman achieving something big. What is wrong with that? You ask yourself. Admiring a woman for her beauty is not a bad thing. But is it okay to appreciate her just for her physique, not for her achievements? Are we not undermining a woman’s hard work, efforts, and valuable contributions towards the betterment and progress of our society through this approach? These are some critical questions, that we have to answer.
Being beautiful/attractive is not the problem. The problem is society focusing on just one part of a woman’s personality and making it a scale for measuring her competency and capability, ultimately undermining her key role in society. Despite their major contribution as an individual, a woman still has to struggle to get the deserved acknowledgment, not for herappearance but acknowledgment for her achievements.
Women are an integral part of our society, and they have been equally contributing to its development. Let it be social, cultural, political, or economic, if we look at it, we will find women have not made lesser contributions in any of the segments. In fact, in some areas, they have been contributing a lot more than anyone else. A woman competently plays the vital role of a caretaker, a teacher, and a leader for generations but sadly, her genuine competencies get overshadowed by her ability to look beautiful. In our society women are never recognized for their core capabilities ever.
Let’s say we put the issue of sabotaging women’s contributions aside for a moment and evaluate this behavior separately. Isjudging a woman based on her looks or appearance still a healthy approach? Is it providing any benefit, or is it just creating more challenges for women?
We as a society need to look at it, how badly it is affecting women’s personality (especially teenage girls) when they see that appreciation is always associated with beauty, and how negatively it affects their self-esteem when they feel that they might never be able to achieve it. There are plenty of research studies that suggest, the approach is a major factor to develop negative body image among women, further contributing to developing severe mental health issues like anxiety and inferior complexity.
We need to realize that through this behavior, we are normalizing the objectification of women in our culture. We are also conveying a clear message to our new generation that the biggest achievement for any girl or woman is to look physically attractive. Through our behavior, we are socially conditioning women to think and behave in a certain way. Rather than empowering and enabling them to expand their horizons, we are pushing them to be part of a world that is full of superficialachievements and unrealistic goals.
The behavior has certainly caused severe damages to women on the individual level and our society collectively. But, it is not something that can not get reversed. Effective measures are required to end this tragedy as soon as possible. It’s already late, but still, there is time to improve our mistakes and do the damage control.
The first step is the realization of the problem. All the entities of our society, let it be the media, institutions, government, corporates, men or women, have to understand that the issue and its effects are real. We can contribute to the change with few little efforts like not passing any flattering or derogatory remarksto women about their physique, being careful with our choice of words to avoid their negative impact on people around us, taking a clear stance against the unrealistic beauty standards and the objectification of women.
Women are an essential part of our society and culture, and their contributions have been helping us to grow and to have a better future. If we want them to keep contributing and supporting us in our betterment, then we must think about their betterment and well-being as well. An empowered woman represents a progressive society. It is time we empower them and appreciate them for their competencies, contributions, significant roles, and achievements. Because they are and have always been “More than just a pretty face”.