Opinion By Binjal Shah
If all our efforts made to reverse gross objectification and sexualization of women were dominoes - guess who is attempting to do a destructive dance of death around the the first, second, third, fourth, heck, all the chips in the row. Campus Princess, a beauty pageant for college girls, which happens to be a Times Group event, released a pretty descriptive post on Facebook enlisting the "all-important" things they need a girl to be, in order to stand a chance in their prestigious contest.
"Smokin' hot" with a "Killer bod" were some of the things the applicants had to atleast be, to seem even acceptable as an ideal woman of today. And quite frankly, it was all the things they asked women 'NOT' to be that were more enraging, than the things they need them to be.
Out of the list, seeing the following two pointers on a public platform gave me that feeling you get when you see someone rubbing their dry nails on a blackboard.
"If you're a size-ten, you need a dietitian." First of all, telling the world that beauty cannot come in all sizes - that the idea of a larger-framed girl thinking of herself as adequate and perfect the way she is is downright stupid and ignorant of her. Telling them they need help and force-delivering them sparkling new body-issues that they never ordered. Fat-shaming, to the extent preventing a girl from even enrolling to compete, which is to say she shouldn't even bother - because the little extra 'love' in their 'handles' will spill over any chance they have to succeed in life.
"If you read books, dear, think about your career." This is just bizarre. Why on the planet- why on ANY planet, would you discourage anyone from reading books? I'm too scared to find out what their reasoning behind that is. Because I suspect it has its origins in sass, and it seems to be that moronic geek v/s cheerleader, uncool v/s too cool for school argument. And it will only prove that we've failed as a democratic population, because we have made opinion leaders out of a bunch of insecure has-beens who didn't last a day in the real world after college.OR, we'll get in trouble with the child labor law enforcement guys, since we are all abetting under 14-year-olds to organize national-level beauty pageants when they should clearly be (bitching their peers out) in school. Either way, it's a scary world to be living in, if it feels this way about books.
It has a bunch of other profound criteria too. Like having to be taller than 5' 5". I agree, dude. In fact, make sure you grow till you're like, 8 feet 6 inches tall. That way, you'll get the best view of all those 5'8"s 5'9"s scrambling in the dirt not knowing how they ended up there, because they were counting on just being taller than 5'5" to succeed in life.
And live on a calendar tearing off dates till you get to 18, and kill yourself the minute your 27th birthday ends. Those years are all you got. After that, no one wants to see your face okay, they probably would just want to have wise or scintillating conversations with you about love and life. The HORROR. What's the point of a meaningless life like that? Hear that, Madhuri? Go home.
'Striking personality' came in last on the list. But HOW, Times Group? I'm not allowed to read, and all the free time I get, I'm supposed to try and focus on staying tall, skinny and on the right side of 27. Ah, maybe I should read your newspapers and learn about Deepika Padukone and all skin on her fingers she might dare to expose.
Ah, what a subtle reminder of the fact that this was strike two for the Times Groups in 9 months, as far as responsible portrayal of women is concerned.
I've called this list many things- for example, the preface to that nasty "Burn Book" from Mean Girls. The criteria for auditioning for parts in the satirical music video of "High-school never ends." But I'm afreaid what this list will really read as, is the Holy Ten Commandments of being an ideal woman of today. This is because it was pushed out on a platform with a magnanimous reach - Facebook- and is targeting a delicate audience - gullible college girls who are still struggling to find themselves and their places in this world.
The guys back at Times Group said they only used this kind of language to strike a chord with their young Target audience, but the whole post was thankfully taken down, after Buzzfeed ran a critical story on it. Yet, it may have caused unfathomable destruction of self-esteems in that little time it spent getting promoted.
Featured Image: Facebook