You may read the title twice and even think I made a typing mistake when you see the heading of this post. Most people will consider my statement contradictory. Am I not in my right mind then to make a statement I know will be considered contradictory? Or am I downright mad? No, I am just a mother wondering how to bring up my daughter in this crazy world where fair is considered to be a synonym for beauty and beauty a pre-requisite for success.
How do I convince my daughter that skin color and external features are really not that important when we still see matrimonial ads in which prospective grooms are on the lookout of fair and beautiful brides?
At family weddings many a times I overhear well meaning aunts discuss how the groom is lucky to have got a fair bride. As if a fair bride makes a good wife! How do I convince my daughter that such beliefs are extremely regressive and that any person (be it man or woman) should be judged by his/her character/education/achievements rather than by skin color or external features?
Whenever I turn on the TV, I see beauty cream commercials that promise the sun and moon if one applies a cream of their brand. How do I prevent her from becoming a prey to their marketing gimmicks? These ads propagate ridiculous lies about beauty creams helping get a job or winning contests. How do I overthrow this propaganda ?
How do I inculcate the belief that in order to be successful the prime requirements are hard work and determination and not good looks? That one needs to set goals, stay focussed and work towards them?
How do I convince her that beauty is skin deep and it is more important to be a good human being?
Though I have been lucky that my parents never let this bog me down as a child it used to bother me when my not so lucky cousins would be taunted that they would not get good husbands. How do I ensure that my daughter in turn grows up with the same self belief?
All these questions haunt me for I do not have answers. This infatuation, no I would rather call it obsession is very deep rooted in our culture. Unknowingly and in subtle ways, it has become a part of our lives. Frightening as it is, we have no option but to brace ourselves and live with it.