Society (Mirror, Mirror)

By: Jasnoor Anand
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‘The pressure to be absolutely perfect and to do something’ is so addictive that we don’t even realise it and end up being victimised by it. In this era of social media, we are highly influenced and amazed by how a person or a concept can be so ‘perfect’. There are myriad instances where we end up questioning ourselves, our identity and reality as a result of this exposure. Our lives seem like nothing but an array of societal opinions when we readily give in to its pressure. In this societal chaos, we get so easily confused between the voices and opinions that actually matter, that after a point even our subconscious starts mocking us. Then at the end of a rough day, we take our fragile, wounded pride to bed with us.

Society kya kahegi?’ (‘what will society say?’). At some point in time, we all grew up hearing this expression. This so-called anonymous society mattered so much that we ended up pressurising ourselves, continuing to do so. The only thing it has taught us is to not love ourselves for who we truly are. We become so affected by the notion of what people will say and think about us that we actually forget that our personal opinion also matters. An opinion of the other becomes so important that we start doubting our individuality.

So the question to then ask, is: When did socializing turn into victimizing?

As kids, we were completely fascinated by the phrase ‘mirror, mirror on the wall: who’s the fairest amongst them all?’ from the classic story of Snow White.

But as we grew older, our perspective towards the same mirror and phrase took a 180-degree turn. We ended up pointing out flaws in ourselves and our body. We started producing deprecating thoughts, such as “why do I look like this? Why do I have these marks? Am I too pale or too dark? Why can’t I be as good as him/her?” Magazines, movies and photoshoots started to torment us. We began to wonder why the folks on covers and in pictures don’t have a scratch on their body and how they have the so-called ‘perfect figure’. Whereas in reality, they are just a product of compact, contour and photoshop. 

Eventually, all of this misinformation and these unrealistic expectations of a person’s appearance were linked to their concepts of health and wellbeing. Until today. So here’s an unpopular opinion amongst the ‘detox tea’ and ‘lose weight in a week’ scams: stop commenting on and assuming about people’s health based on their body type. It is completely alright if one is skinny or fat as long as they are comfortable in their own skin and doing no harm to themselves or others.

What really matters is how one looks upon themselves. A key aspect of that is learning to embrace yourself. There should be no place for rueful, undesirable sympathy.

It is time we realize that no matter what we do or who we are, someone, somewhere will be dissatisfied with it; and that is totally fine because you can’t take the baggage of pleasing every single individual besides yourself.

Your body is not inadequate, your skills aren’t deceptive and most importantly, you can’t label yourself as a fabrication. It is time we differentiate between what is real and what is not.

Which face are you going to put on today that is acceptable by society? Is it worth it?

For more musings like these, click on The Word.