I for Image

woman looking at herself in the mirror

woman looking at herself in the mirror

Image: I am talking about the image one has of others and oneself.

The idea for this post came across when I saw beautiful palace pics on Sherry’s(Travel Spirit) post Palace Splendor. I commented that the pics took me to a different era, a time when the kings and queens reigned. She responded “Cool era…but I wouldn’t want to wear the whale bone corsets…ouch!”. Gosh! why would anyone wear such a thing, I thought. But lot of women did.

This is just one instance where women willingly go through pain to fit into the society’s image of a perfect female. This society image includes body image and as well as other behavioral image.Every culture and period of history has had its own standards of “an ideal female” and women from generations have fallen for it. Why even the modern “free” woman also wears painful heels in spite of their well-known ill effects. And anorexic models are the new role models.

While practices like foot binding and corsets are old and abandoned, others like breast ironing are very much alive. Around the same time as corsets, some women also got their ribs surgically removed to get a narrow waist. Fainting was a virtue, it showed a woman is delicate. In fact, I had read somewhere that there were also Charm classes which taught women to faint in a “lady-like” manner.

Sigh! I am so glad I am born in an era and in a culture where no such cruel practices exist( biases do exist but none so harmful/cruel). But at the same time it is also true that we live in an age with instant access to mass media. Hence we are constantly fed with ideas of modern ideal beauty and attitude. Never has history seen such a monumental rise of beauty products, surgical beauty treatments, personality development classes or self-help books. Add to it, technology has helped us to touch up these images to take them to a new unattainable level..

Humans are conditioned to believe ‘what is beautiful is good’. While it is a research proven fact that attractive people(which mostly means good-looking or the current idea of good-looking) have an advantage over the others in the society, why is it that women are more concerned about looks as compared to men. The reasons are again historic. Women had to compete to marry the most eligible man. A woman’s strength was(may be still is) her beauty. Women had no way of supporting themselves, and hence marrying the right man meant a lot. For a man his defining qualities may be good-looking, earning well, very strong or much more but a woman’s identity is tightly tied to her beauty/looks.

Well times have changed and women are more independent now and define their own rules. While both sexes are equal offenders, most guys I have met are pretty open to many ideas of beauty, it is us girls who judge themselves and other girls by these strict set of parameters. Time we stood up for ourselves and choose a happy and healthy life instead struggling to cope to somebody else’s standards. Let’s create an image where a healthy and happy woman is the ideal one. 🙂

Though I am posting it later, I am writing it on International Women’s Day and nothing better than one of my friend’s FB status to conclude the post, “You are sexy, strong and fearless and you know it!!! Happy Women’s Day all you lovely ladies!! ♥ ♥ keep rocking!!”

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