ArchivesCulture and IdentityThe First Issue


By November 2, 2018 December 18th, 2018 84 Comments

By: Rochi Kale

I don’t believe in physical flaws, because there is no such thing. Pointless beauty standards have made you believe that there is. In Asian communities, everyone around you reminds you that you are not good enough, do not look good enough: advertisements, relatives, friends and even your own parents. There is always someone, or something who will make you feel you are not “perfect” looking.

Growing up, I had many insecurities and my self esteem was as low as you could possibly imagine. Interestingly, I fit almost every beauty standard in my culture- but people still called me ugly. There was always something to comment on: your eyes are not big enough, small enough, wide enough, bright enough. My eyes are not there to stun and dazzle you. They are there so I can see. For womxn, being beautiful is considered the most important thing. You’re worthless if you’re not beautiful.

There is a small check list of pre-requisites to be treated like a human being.

Light skinned.

Thin. Also, not too thin.

Tall. But, not too tall that you can’t find a guy. Because obviously the guy needs to be taller.

Features: Big eyes, Sharp nose, long hair (but only on your head, of course)

You can not have a masculine body. Because womxn need to be delicate. Right?

Marks: You cannot have marks on your body: stretch marks, birth marks, and scars aren’t permissible.

When I was a few months old my left hand got burnt and a relative of mine came to my mother and said, “Make sure the burn mark on her hand fades, she is a girl and marks on her body are not respectable”

Unlearning all these beauty standards is extremely hard, especially when you have grown up in a society that is obsessed with beauty, where advertisements work overtime to make you insecure, they show a dark skinned unhappy girl, who gets rejected in job interviews. She becomes fair using a fairness cream and now she is loved, respected, and hired anywhere she pleases. This is harmful for dark skinned womxn, little girls, who grow up thinking not only they have to fair skinned but also they need to be conventionally attractive to get a job. How are we okay with this?

One thing that has been helping me unlearn these beauty standards is womxn who are successful and don’t fit into these beauty standards. Representation of womxn like Serena Williams, Priyanka chopra or Bipasha Basu who are not fair skinned or have the body type everyone wants from womxn, but make you see how beautiful and powerful they are at first glance. They show us that you don’t have to be light skinned or delicate to be beautiful. You realize these physical flaws people talk about are not even your flaws, they are there just to make you unique , to make you a different person. Everyone cannot look alike, right?

Today, there are so many womxn who talk about beauty standards, and challenge them, which is amazing. But there is still a lot that needs to be done.

We need to stop commenting on looks immediately. When you say, “this person is ugly” you need to remember it actually means, “this person is ugly according to me because I have beauty standards set in my mind”. We need to realize how beautiful we are. When we call ourselves ugly because we are Asian, we are wrong. You are pretty, your skin tone, your hair ( on head and also on other parts of your body) are amazing, your stretch marks, stomach rolls, uneven eyebrows, big nose , small nose everything is amazing. Don’t let this society make you feel any less just because your features or looks do not fit their asinine standards.




Rochi, in her own words: My name is Rochi Kale. I am a 21 year old unapologetic feminist. I am from a small town in India called Bilaspur. I was born and brought up in a privileged Brahmin family. My goal is to become a better ally and to play my part in making my society equal and just for everyone.


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