Since Adam and Eve stopped dressing in strategically-placed leaves and came out of the Garden of Eden and into the REAL WORLD, things stopped being so perfect and rosy. Adam probably took a good look at Eve for the first time, and that was when men started to have opinions on what makes a woman beautiful.
Well, this is just my theory. For all we know, male monkeys started judging their female counterparts even before Adam and Eve walked this planet.
Well, today popular culture bombards us with daily reminders of what makes a woman beautiful through descriptions of fictional women, their portrayal in TV series and movies, and even obnoxious hints thrown by ads that slyly show a women gaining popularity among the menfolk after using a particular product.
So What Is It That Indian Men Feel Makes A Woman Beautiful?
If Instagram can be taken as a trusted source, then the bulbous, Kardashian-esque posterior is apparently a major factor in upping a woman’s-er- visual appeal. There are tonnes of videos explaining what kind of exercises to do (or implants to get) to make your butt as round as the eyes of the man who will *potentially* see it.
In a way, this could be taken as a positive sign- that Indian men have moved on from the phase of eyeing petite, childlike women (does this preference count as borderline paedophilia?), and have moved on to appreciate the more adult aesthetics of a “womanly” figure.
However, I’m pretty sure Ravi Varma’s voluptuous muses didn’t go under the knife to get those curves- they probably ate, like normal people.
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If you type this same query into Quora (the source of all earthly wisdom, apparently), you find Indian men waxing eloquent about “traditional beauty standards” instilled in them by their mommies. The user Icy Cube (seriously, dude?) actually came up with a checklist:
– Long, curly black hair.
– Dark, thick eyes and eyebrows. He has even specified that the lashes must curve upwards.
– A perfect hourglass figure.
– Thin, rosy lips and a wide forehead.
– A nose sharp enough to use as a knife.
– A symmetrical, oval face with no bony bits.
– Fair-to-wheatish skin, sans blemishes. (He has even given tips on how to achieve this!)
His description ends with a listing of “homely” qualities such as being good with children, domestic, etc, which apparently enhance the beauty of a bharatiya naari.
Well, I wonder from where we can conjure up this mythical woman!
Beauty Around The World
An article by the Indian Express that listed the desirable physical traits in people (mainly in women) around the world also stressed on how Indians find long hair and fair skin attractive, and that this is reflected in the various hair products and fairness creams marketed aggressively in the country.
Men Getting More Open-Minded?
However, according to a piece by the Hindustan Times, several Indian men seem to be moving away from the old preference for homely women, and 80% of them have stated that they find women wearing red lipstick attractive, while a whopping 89% also feel that tattoos do not take away from a woman’s charm.
Beauty Inclusive Of Ethnicity
I am not going to take the high moral ground and say that external beauty doesn’t matter, it’s only what’s on the inside that counts, but as a bharatiya naari myself, here is MY two cents on the topic of Indian beauty:
I believe we women (and men) must stop idealising the concept of beauty, and looking at North Indian actresses for inspiration. We must understand that each person comes from different parts of the country, and their ethnicity gives them a unique appearance.
It doesn’t make sense for someone from the North East to try and ape Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan, or for a dark-complexioned woman to try to look like Kareena Kapoor Khan or Alia Bhatt. We must all embrace who we are, and find relatable beauty icons to use as an inspiration. That way, we will be at a lesser risk of feeling inadequate about our appearances.
To Define Is To Limit
No single “beauty checklist” can apply to a general prototype of “Indian women.” It is instead preferable (and much more sensible!) for woman and men to open their minds of different kinds of beauty, and stop pushing both themselves and their partners to become the living embodiment of a Draupadi-like character (born perfect, with classical features and no body hair- how lucky!) and understand that just like love, beauty is also a rainbow.
Image Credits: Google Images