Where’s the ugly girl?
The ugly girl has been missing from books, canvasses, songs, sculptures, films, advertisement, matrimonial columns…and society!
Long long ago there was a fair and lovely princess…! I wonder why were princesses in fairy tales always so beautiful? What about ugly little princesses with dark complexion, tiny eyes, flat nose and thick lips? Why has their existence not been acknowledged even in story books?
Why are the protagonists in films almost always stunning? Why do beautiful actresses sell? Why does a heroine always have to have striking features and a gorgeous body when average looking heroes go on to be a hit? Why are actresses with powerhouse talent but ordinary faces restricted to character roles?
Why do matrimonial columns always say, ‘Looking for extremely beautiful, tall and fair girl…’? Why are even dark-complexioned grooms looking for fair and lovely brides?
Why the fair one almost always gets more attention than the talented one? Why ugly looking girls find little mention anywhere? And last but not the least, why does ‘Fair and Lovely’ cream sell so much? So many whys and no answer!
We Indians revere beauty so much that it kills her, who does not fit the conventional standards of beauty. She is the ugly girl! Her existence is not even acknowledged in social circles. The ugly girl always lurks in shadows, marginalized and pitied because she is not fair and lovely. She walks behind the fair one, takes a corner seat always, speaks when asked, and laughs when everyone does – inferiority complex is inculcated in her very being by the society.
Looks have become so important in this glamourized world that a human’s being is not considered at all. We hanker after the girl with white skin, huge eyes, sharp nose, rosy lips, tall and slim frame while those who do not have these attributes are shunned. Yes, we cannot deny that outer beauty attracts all, but it is just a part of the whole personality. Why do we ignore the inner beauty of a girl – she may not be beautiful, but she may be the girl with a golden heart and her beauty will endure the ravages of age and time. But who cares for such ‘idealistic blabber’? The ugly girl, in order to redeem herself in society, has to be overtly talented than her fair counterpart.
Nobody has told her that her face is different from anyone else and that’s why she is special. Beauty is subjective, and in a different society, in a different place and age, she may have been considered extremely good looking. Nobody has told her that being comfortable and happy with one’s looks makes you the best! What she has been told is ‘go into hiding, you are ugly’.
The moment the ugly girl is born she is destined to lead a sad life. When she reaches marriageable age, she ceases to be a human and turns into a punch-bag. A sorry figure, whom no man has fancied; she is flooded with thousand of remedies to improve looks by chachis, mamis, maasis and every other person. Their remedies are hardly effective in improving her looks but it surely pressurizes her and lowers her confidence level.
Time and again, she is rejected by ‘ladke wale’, who come to see her. They gorge on the delicacies offered, evaluate her from top to bottom, make small talks and then send a message, saying ‘ladki kaali hai’ (the girl is dark). It saddens her to see her parents constantly worrying about her, assessing her looks and then giving up the hopes of her marriage in dismay. Such incidents damage her psyche – she is unwanted, unloved and slowly she enters the gloomy shell of severe depression.
And if finally someone marries her, it’s not because what she is but because of the fat dowry or may be the pay-cheque she is bringing along. The story doesn’t end there - after marriage, she is expected to be very grateful to her mentors who ‘took her in’ inspite of her grave folly – her ugliness.
Gradually, she hates herself so much that she doesn’t want her presence known to anyone - not even to herself. Art and literature do not acknowledge her. Sometimes a Jassi or a Susan Boyle make news but that is occasional, most of the time ugly is associated with evil.
The ugly girl is made to feel that she is a misfit everywhere…and perhaps that’s why she has been missing from books, canvasses, songs, sculptures, films, advertisement, matrimonial columns…and society!