March 3, 2006

stop fixing it.. it was never broken

Filed under: opinions — Kaveeta Oberoi Kaul @ 7:52 pm

Then be bold and love your body and stop fixing it. It was never broken. says Eve Ensler in her latest play The Good Body..

One of my staff, a diminutive mother of a six year old came to me last week clutching some money and whispered something I could not understand at first.. actually she was asking me to lend her some more and then help her get a ‘breast enhancing’ cream she had seen on TV.
That cream cost more than a month of her salary!

Eve Ensler’s play has deeper meaning as the madness of fixing your body is everywhere, and creating a havoc some of us are quiet unaware of. I was horrified to see an ad recently on TV for a cream or powder that made your baby fair.. and the ad ended with the baby winning a beauty pageant!

Soni is 18 and has mental retardation.. the one thing she wants is to be beautiful and would do anything for a tube of ‘fair and lovely’ cream as she is convinced that it will make her pretty and attractive to the boys. Now the danger is that a girl like Soni could be lured easily and abused!

Last week some of our class V boys were asked to write an essay about their ideal ‘wife’. Now these are all slum kids, mostly ailing from Bihar or eastern UP.. well the answer was a reflection of the the reality around us: they wanted the wife to be rich, fair, beautiful, intelligent, a doctor ..

Fair is the operative term in India then comes slim.. and a whole industry is there to fuel these dreams.. we even have a ‘fair and handsome’ vesrion for boys..

Eve Ensler goes on to say: I was moved by women in Africa who lived close to the earth and didn’t understand what it meant to not love their body. I was lifted by older women in India who celebrated their roundness.

Wish someone heard this, as syndromes like anorexia and bulimia are now quite real with slum kids… and no one is there to stay stop!

Ensler’s takes the thought further: “Can you imagine the energy that would be unleashed if women stopped obsessing about their bodies?” The implication, of course, is that this crippling preoccupation is stunting our social, economic, political growth..

Think about it.


  1. Christian doctrine–as do most other world religions–mandates that we treat our bodies like a temple, and the abuses of this mandate are a constant in almost every developed and developing society. It is a shame, so sad, that while I have friends starving to death in some countries, unable to give their bodies the nourishment they need, all that can be seen in advertisements in my country are ways to try to rid oneself of the excess flesh brought on by our overzealous eating habits and lazy lifestyles. It is a true battle that, as parents, we must fight from day 1 with out children in order to help them to develop a positive self image and self esteem without depending upon mass media dictates to determine their beauty and self-worth. Easier said than done, no? Thank you for the thought-provoking sentiments.

    Comment by mapiprincesa — March 4, 2006 @ 1:46 am | Reply

  2. love this post…me who got solace and stregnth from the female eunuch and the beauty myth many a times while growing up and became rebelliously frumpy…
    it took me many years to realise looking pretty and presetable on its own is not a weakening thing …i mean it is an empowering thing as gives you confidence …provided its an informed choice.
    and informed choice is a tricky thing i tell you to sort from our centuries of conditioning what a woman is all about

    Comment by silbil — March 4, 2006 @ 12:30 pm | Reply

  3. maiprincesa,

    it is only on deep ananlysis that one realises that real beauty emenates from within. a glow, incomparable and evergreen.
    How true! the body is a temple, not just figuratively, but our sages have taught us that the mystery of the universe is embedded within in microcosm. If only we focussed on unravelling that instead.

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — March 5, 2006 @ 1:06 pm | Reply

  4. You got it on the dot silbil.. it is an empowering thing provided it is not the sole means for inner strength. We need to preen and pamper ourselves for what it does for us and not to us. Neither vanity nor disillusionment as the end result ought to be the motto.

    as long as it does not turn into an obsession, groomong is a virtue with many positives.

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — March 5, 2006 @ 1:10 pm | Reply

  5. This is very nice and informative post. I have bookmarked your site in order to find out your post in the future.

    Comment by My Home — August 17, 2007 @ 8:56 pm | Reply

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