Should it hurt to be beautiful?

Should it hurt to be beautiful?

Last week, I had chanced upon a used book store, running a 90% off sale. In all my excitement, I had walked away with a big bundle for a steal. It can’t get better than to have a shelf lined with books, you are yet to read or re-read for the love of it. It felt great to own the books, I so remember having enjoyed through the borrowed old latte-colored pages of Arcade, Eloor and Senthil libraries. As I digress to what this post is meant to be; I am reading snow flower and the secret fan a novel entailing Chinese women. Half way through — the vivid descriptions of foot binding left a deep and painful impact on me.

I, like most women, love shoes. But, much unexpectedly, I don’t fancy high heels though I do not have a height to boast of. Hence my closet is full of flat shoes; flip flops, sporty and slip on. For one, I am clumsy with anything that requires lily steps and two; I am not tolerant to the discomfort the pointy sought after ones come with. Nevertheless, I do have a wedge-heel tucked deep in the shoebox stack for a rainy day! I can’t but mention Carrie from SATC and her passion for shoes, which is shared by almost every woman in today’s world; willingness to let the heels hurt to distraction, the distraction being an obsession for sexy high heeled, overpriced lovelies.

In this regard I dare to be countered – Aren’t the pencil heels doing tardily what foot binding did irrationally? Aren’t we continuing to succumb to what the society prescribes as beautiful, though we have come a long way to stand up for what we believe? It opens up a whole new arena; of things that one does or has been doing to be beautiful, to be marriageable, to be hooked, to be famous and to be more feminine than feminine can be!

The acts of neck extending rings and painful piercing among tribal women in various parts of the world are well known. Of one such, I had witnessed were the deep holed elongated earlobes of older women in Kerala, so much so that the heavy blob of dangling gold could easily cut the soft flesh and many a times it does. If bronze-neck-stretching-rings and rib-breaking-hour-glas-shape-rendering corsets are looked upon as a thing of the past; fairness creams, silicon implants, gamut of make up options, plastic surgery and liposuction are the modern woman’s answers for perfection. And they hold evidence of the fact that beauty always comes with a price; the price of losing oneself in it.

I must confess I have not fared too well either. I endured ear-hole-widening a few months back to be able to wear jewelry for my wedding and continue to undergo a monthly routine to momentary spasms of waxing and threading; my threshold of pain ends there. One might say I am mixing grooming with inexplicable extremities. But then, the scale of pain and scope of sprucing up have been murky and almost undefined.

For, if — Beauty lies within and Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder; so long as the beholder is blinded with the emphasis this world offers to pulchritude, the within bit is evidently lost in our quest for beauty.

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