Appearance Blues



Dr. Byanjana Sharma



Hey you, you’re pretty heavy eh! Oii, you look so chubby, it’d be best if you lost some weight.” This is some advice you get without asking. You do not need to visit a dietician or a doctor to get these personal remarks. Rather than asking about the person or weather or family, most of us just love to latch onto some kind of physical folly. It seems as though most of Asia is bugged by this ‘personal attack’ syndrome.

I remember a couple of cases when I was in Australia. A Cambodian lady was fired from a workplace when she made comments on two Australian ladies. The incidents seem so futile in our context, however, the cases were adjudged to be abusive and personal attacks; as a result she had to sacrifice her job. The Cambodian lady Nging said to a lady, ‘you look too fat’ and another comment she made was, “Julie, your front teeth are not natural ones, they are cosmetic.” Nging was a migrant but she had been living in Australia for over 25 years and her statements were taken as workplace harassment and abusive. So she was fired from job where she had been working for eight years as a permanent employee.

We digest such personal comments easily but there are other types which bother us forever. The unwelcoming comments on physical appearance even force some teenagers to commit suicide. Unwanted comments on dark complexion, crooked teeth, twisted nose, plump appearance, inappropriate height and even voice can lead to depression and suicide. Modern advertising has been laying the golden eggs by picking up such follies and unbelievably large beauty businesses survive off them. “You look smarter and brighter when you have a light complexion; you will be successful if you look slimmer,” are some of the examples. Surprisingly, there are solutions with the beauty industry for all the outer problems.

We waste a lot of money and time with a hope to better ourselves but we do not care much about inner engineering. Rather than investing our time and money to improve our outer selves, we have to beautify our inner selves. Beautifying our inner selves costs nothing and leaves permanent marks on others as well.

Even though we have both options available, we tend to rely on what others are doing. To some extent, we are not much different from a flock of sheep that goes down the rock to kill themselves one after another. We look for different beauty products and compare ourselves with others to try and determine if we are attractive enough to attract others’ attention. The war of love to be liked by others starts at a young age and lasts a long, long time.

If we teach our children since the very beginning to love themselves and appreciate what they have, the problems of appearance will be solved to a certain degree. If all the gardens in the world had only red roses, the world would not seem as beautiful. Just like how different flowers make the gardens look beautiful, people’s different looks should be appreciated to save us from boredom. 


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