In all fairness

10:07 PM

I vaguely remember writing about India’s obsession with fair complexion and a market flooded with fairness potions for both genders and all ages (even saw a baby fairness massage oil!). The topic is much talked about in the Gori blogging community, and has done the round. Recently a friend of mine had the topic going on her blog and one person commented and added something interesting: each culture has their cosmetic obsession and worldwide women are tacitly told to just suck it up and work that much harder to just conform to a certain ideal of beauty.
India has a fairness fetish, but I grew up in a part of the world where women are on a perpetual diet trying to fit into a fashion world designed around the body of a skinny pre-teen girl passing as a woman.
Yes while my desi counterparts are burning holes in their mirror looking for tan marks and dark spots, the ladies back home are twisting their rear around peering in the mirror to examine the shape and size of their bottom, narrowing on the orange peel effect like a tracking missile locked on a military target.
We are told that anything above a size 6 is overweight if not obese, that we should preferably be a size 4 at the default of not being a size zero. Magazines are here to remind us of the cruel reality with special detox diets adapted to all seasons: “Pre-holidays purge” “How to not pop out of your entire wardrobe during the festive season” “Low fat turkey recipes” “Post holiday blues, get back into shape now” “Start the new year right…detox plan to get the last of the foie gras overdose behind you” “Spring detox, only 2 month left until the bikini” “Summer diet, it’s not too late to look hot in your bikini” “Fall regimen, keep your toned tanned body in shape until Christmas” and all over again!
Now of course since living on just water and watermelon isn’t for everybody, you have the assortment of cream, massage techniques, aromatherapy, acupressure, hypno-treatment, five star gym full of perfectly normal women running on treadmill like hamsters on caffeine running toward that elusive goal of looking like the latest Vogue model. If all fail you have the infomercials and teleshopping, with their lot of electrocuting belt, sauna belt, vibrating belt, hot suit, cling film treatment, ice belt, sauna box, abs sculpting contraptions, butt massagers, weight loss pills, things to help you loose weight in your sleep or without exercise, the things that would tempt all women but that few will ever admit having purchased or even contemplated buying, as teleshopping is known not to be “serious”.

Yes my cultural peers have a fat and flab phobia, time to come out of the closet. Like all I had my phase of self loathing (at a point where I was fitting in a size 8…how I would kill to fit these pants again!), I did try a toning cream, promising to zap my fat in 10 days, the issue was that to make one believe it actually works they put a cooling agent in it, that gives you a sensation of cold so cold it feels like burning, and probably like most ladies who gave in to that fad, I stopped using it after 4 days, never saw any results and hopped to the next fad of just shocking my nerves in the shower finishing with an ice cold splash all over my body, but again gave up because it was not my idea of relaxing after hard day at work, and in winter, it borders insanity. Like many I read that squeezing my butt at my desk burned  x amount of calories and dispense you the need to do more hard-core exercises, the trick being for you to actually remember to squeeze your butt all day long which pretty much use half of your brain cells which could be put to a better and more intellectual use.
I also did the video tapes, looking like a flabby monkey in my living room, huffing and panting simply trying to go through the whole 30 minute session with grace while the ladies in the DVD don’t break a sweat, 5 days later still on the beginners level I could not move a single muscle in my body without agonizing in pain…to loose just 2 pounds, of probably what was just fluids.
In over 15 years of trying to conform or be fit, the result is that I gained 15kg, wear a size 10-12 and am not caring as much about how I look rather than how healthy I am.
Maybe that is what they call wisdom? Goodbye idiotic magazines full of beauty regimen impossible to follow unless you sell your soul to the “devil” which goes by several new fancier names these days, and basically get your sexy goddess superficial body at the price of a whole life filled with fun and chocolate puff pastries.

Yes dear, we are all told to walk the walk, and look the part, regardless of where we were born, natural is never enough, and never pretty.

One feel good therapy for all though: Google “Stars without make up” and see how fooled we’ve all been, makes your relationship with your mirror that much better.

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