I am surprised at how the idea of a “perfect” female body has changed over the years. It has altered rapidly over the decades successfully convincing and constantly shaping the female body and mind. In 1910 a female body that had a long neck, slender shoulders and a round soft body with a small waist was considered perfect. In short, a woman who looked like the figure 8 was considered beautiful. In 1920’s the idea changed drastically and a flat chested, streamlined and petite female body was celebrated. The ideal beauty of the 1930’s was supposed to have a small bust and subtle curves. During the 1940’s tall women with broad shoulders and commanding looks were considered beautiful. This was followed by the curvaceous “hourglass figure” of the 1950’s. However the 1960’s saw a radical shift from the ideal figure of the previous decade and a shapeless, petite, super slender, delicate and doll-faced female body with a small bust and slim hips was considered “perfect”. The 1970’s beauty was not just expected to be slim-hipped and flat stomached but was expected to wear revealing clothes. Tall women with long legs represented the new feminine ideal in the 1980’s. Similarly the beauty standards of the 1990’s, 2000’s and 2010’s had beauty ideals that clearly defined how the bosoms and bottoms should look and went on to size-0 which is the new in-thing.
To all the beautiful women out there, celebrate your body. Flaunt it if you want to. You’re confidence is admirable. You prefer to wear a Hijab? Well, wear a hijab then. You can wear one and still be a feminist. Or shed it if you just don’t see the need to. Only you, get to decide if it’s suppressive or not. Drape a saree! Elegance defines your traditional charm. The six-yard splendor is a beauty in itself. Add to its beauty, by draping it on you. Or sport that tomboy look, you know you’re bold and beautiful with that intimidating gaze. Wear some make-up, it adds to your beauty! Try that bright red lipstick. It goes with your spaghetti. Or even the fuschia one; or none at all. You look perfect anyway! Do your eyes, the way you did it, for prom. You looked hot with that smoky eye make-up you know! Or throw that mascara, right into the trash; Your beauty lies not in that little tube of khol. Dark or dusky, yellow or pale; your skin tone doesn’t define you, your attitude does. Amelie is tall and has no regrets. Annie is short and still has none. Neither does Tanya when people call her skinny, Nor does Vanya for being too fat. Straighten your locks or curl the waves,pull them in a bun or let them all down, long-hair, short-hair, fringe or no fringe; Tame it with a clip or trim it as you please, because nobody gets to tell you, how you NEED to look! Janne Robinson has nailed it :-
This is for the women who don’t give a fuck.
The women who are first to get naked, howl at the moon and jump into the sea.
The women who drink too much whisky, stay up too late and have sex like they mean it.
The women who know they aren’t sluts because they enjoy sex, but human beings with a healthy sexual appetite.
The women who will ask you for what they need in bed.
This is for the women who seek relentless joy; the ones who know how to laugh with their whole souls.
The women who speak to strangers because they have no fear in their hearts.
The ones who wear “night make up” in the morning or don’t own mascara.
The women who know their worth, who plant their feet and roar in their brilliance.
The women who aren’t afraid to tell a man to get the fuck out of her heart if he doesn’t honour her heart.
This is for the women who rock combat boots with frilly skirts.
The women who swear like truck drivers.
The women who hold the people who harass or wrong them with fierce accountability.
The women who flip gender norms and false limitations the bird and live to run successful companies giving “the man” a run for his name.
The ones who don’t find their success a compliment just because they have a vagina.
Women like Gloria Steinem who, when she was told, “We want a writer, not a woman. Go home,” kept writing anyway.
This is for the women who drink coffee at midnight and wine in the morning, and dare you to question it.
For the women who open doors for men and are confident enough to have doors opened for them.
Who use “no” to be in service for themselves.
Who don’t give a damn about pleasing the world, and do sweetly as they wish.
For the superheroes—the single moms who work three jobs to make it. I salute your resilient, cape-flapping, ambitious selves.
This is for the women who throw down what they love, and don’t waste time following society’s pressures to exist behind a white picket fence.
The women who create wildly, unbalanced, ferociously and in a blur at times.
The women who know how to be busy and know how to plant their feet in the earth and get grounded.
These are the women I want around me.
So all you lovely ladies out there, don’t let those popular mean girls, who think they have the “perfect-bod” tell you how you need to look, don’t let the “male gaze” sculpt your body, don’t let consumerism fool you into thinking you’re not beautiful, just the way you are!