Our obsession with aesthetics knows no bounds. Through an ad in a newspaper, in Chandigarh, someone is looking for a good-looking, smart woman as his companion for morning walks. The job even comes with a salary and specific duty hours. Lord knows who placed this ad and why. While what comes across as merely seeking a companion for morning walks, the requirements for the role to be, good-looking, smart, female and in the age bracket of 25 to 40 isn’t something we can overlook.
Wonder whether this person wants a trainer, then it must be for fitness or purpose of efficiency? Or is the person looking for a companion to show off, or to leer at, or perhaps someone who can work as a role model? Whatever may be the reason, the demand seems problematic to us because it is starkly sexist. It tells women above 40 that they are unwanted and not smart. It also emphasises on beauty being a prerequisite for the role even if all you need to do is go on morning walks on a daily basis.
What is this obsession with good-looking young women?
This advertisement embodies the alarming obsession with young and beautiful women in our country. It proves that the physical appearance of a woman you are in the company of matters.
- An ad from Chandigarh, published in an English daily is looking to recruit “good-looking smart female for a morning walk.”
- It also specified that the woman must be between 25 to 40 years of age.
- Did the person think that women over 40 were undesirable or unfit for the task?
- When will people stop validating women on the basis of their age or physical appearances?
Then why ask for a good-looking young woman? If brisk walking in the mornings is all that is to the job, how can this person assume that women above 40 won’t be able to do so? Time and again women above 40 are made to feel like expired goods in our society. They are made to feel old, undesirable and even “past their prime”. The social idea of women in their forties is that they are boring, unfit, certainly not pretty. They are written off as have been.
Then there is the only desirable female company, for any purpose is that of a good-looking woman. Which means a woman who sits well in our cultural definition of beauty, a specific waist size, a specific skin tone and with a smooth skin free of wrinkles and stretch marks. She must also be smart, because who wants a dull company at 5:30 am?
If only her smartness could rub odd on her proposed employer, whose superficial standards are quite evident.
When will women be free of these appropriations? When will the society, stop validating us just on the basis of our physical appearance? Why is it that women must be age shamed and told that they aren’t desirable company anymore because they are above a certain age?
This advertisement is wrong on many levels. And am not just criticising it for recruiting on basis of age or looks. It is more about the unabashed way in which it endorses our superficial beauty standards. The nakedness with which it demands the company of a specific kind of women is almost vulgar. I just hope that no woman in her right mind would apply for this so-called position.
Picture Credit: Samuel Zeller, Unsplash
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.