The history of existence has a notable number of events where males have stood as the decisive factors upon the person-hood of the females. The phrases like “independence of women” & “gender equality” would have never come to being, if there were no any stereotypes already set for females.

The word “Beauty” has a set order that has been ideally implanted in the mindsets of the people. We have set the parameters of the beauty linked with the fairer skin, slim body, tall, and so on.  The recently gone viral video of Miss Nepal 2019 beauty pageants audition has been trolled and meme’d. Most of us commented, judged, discussed on this topic whether if the judge was right or the contestant was right. Some of us are busy creating new trolls and memes against the organizer, and some of us were busy mentioning our friend’s name on the comments who doesn’t know how to do makeup. While the battle continues between bashing one female for another female, one woman’s emancipation and empowerment cannot be at the cost of other woman’s scrutiny.

Living in the confined patriarchy system, we should always look at the bigger picture rather than seeing the surficial level and judging it. In the context of Miss Nepal audition’s video, we only saw how the judge grilled the contestant, and later justified that they asked the contestant these questions to check her self-esteem and personality. While what the judge did is not okay by any means, but individual bashing might be only an instant reaction rather than a longer term solution. Online trolling the judge and bashing her might get her out of the system but then the next judge might think and believe the same. What gives then? We go around and around in the same vicious circle of patriarchy that we ought to change.

Do we really think it is a wise idea to run after the mice rather than chasing the wild elephant which is destroying our farms? We have to dig in deeper for these issues. A young girl even confessed and surrendered at the end telling she will learn to do makeup to an orthodox system. Patriarchy wins again! We need to question the notion of beauty and our stereotypical definitions around it, and mainly the establishment of such institutions that reinforce patriarchy in many ways than one.While individual level of awareness is important but we also need to address the issue at the systemic level.

On the other hand, the endless trolling and memes and the viral video made us stop and think of our own biases towards beauty standards and our love or hate for these glamorous yet addicting beauty pageants. Nevertheless, a conversation is started! And, we need to have more of these discussions,  and also understand that sustainable changes will only come when we can make systemic changes. Question and aware the judge but also question the platform for which its been around in the name of women’s empowerment for more than two decades. Question the system where women are forced to validate their bodies every now and then, question the media we consume and live by that consistently and very persistently reinforces how women should look, and before all this, question your own conscience and check yourself before you have an urge to label someone as ‘sick’, ‘sad’, ‘ugly’, ‘not cool’, and ‘unconfident’ when you see them comfortable in their own skin!

Pooja Bista

 


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