A Woman of Substance
Yikes! That’s it! I’m sick and tired. Of what, you might be wondering. Well, I’m sick and tired of all those advertisements in the matrimonial sections of any newspaper and online matrimonial websites. Without fail, 90% of such advertisements and profiles contain the words “seeking fair, slim and beautiful bride.” Would someone please care to explain the rationale behind all this? Because I have tried to understand and failed quite miserably.
My mother received a phone call from the father of a prospective groom the other day. Details of qualifications and employment were exchanged, then the man told my mother he wanted one more vital detail. He wanted to know how white the girl (me) was. My mom was confused for an instant. White? Then she understood. He was asking how fair I was (My complexion is what one would call wheatish). She replied, “Well my daughter is a flesh-and-blood human, so it’s not possible for her to be white. She’s not a ghost, you see.” The man didn’t know what to say next and stammered something out and ended the conversation.
All this obsession with fair skin and slim figure is beyond my comprehension. I mean, I’m all for slimming down to be fit and healthy, but slimness of a woman’s physique as a prerequisite for marriage is something I cannot come to terms with.
And all this fuss over fair skin. What is it supposed to Imply? That only fair-skinned women are beautiful? Jeez, no wonder fairness creams never have an off-season! Cleopatra, the Egyptian beauty whose charm enchanted two great Roman leaders, was to my knowledge, dark-skinned.
Why can’t the Indian mindset look beyond the fairness of a woman’s skin? What purpose is it going to serve in the grand scheme of things in the end? I really don’t know. Most of the advertisements for fairness products makes me feel sad. Sad that vital qualities such as self-confidence, self-respect and dignity are linked to a fair, flawless complexion. In this day and age, when we women are reaching for the stars in various fields, such pre-historic concepts need to be thrown out. Maintaining the beauty that nature has blessed us with is one thing, but becoming obsessed with a fair complexion is most definitely NOT okay.
Eminent poet John Keats once wrote: “Beauty is Truth and Truth, beauty.” Well, way I interpret this, substance is equated to beauty. A woman of substance is a thing of beauty and we all know that a thing of beauty is a joy forever.
Keats had also written that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. Nature has created all of us as beautiful human beings. It’s up to each one of us to define what we mean by beauty. So it would be wonderful if we do not let social perceptions and preconceived notions dictate the way we look at another human being. Let us not demean someone just because they do not fit the bill of what we perceive as beauty. And for heaven’s sake, let’s stop being obsessed with our unmarried daughters’ complexion and not make snide remarks about their inability to get a good husband because their skin is not fair enough or their figures not slim enough.
And guys, stop being obsessed with finding a “fair, slim, beautiful bride.” Search for a woman of substance. When you find her, believe me, true, ever-lasting beauty will shine through. As we all know, physical attributes may change and fade with age, but style and substance which come from within, never change. Fair or dark, slim or fat doesn’t matter as long as the lady is a woman of substance.