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I might be Indian myself, but I’m no expert on the typical Indian woman. I don’t enjoy strong curry, I can’t roll a roti, I have short hair (horror)! I didn’t even know (gulp) what an IPL was until someone took pity and told me.
So the typical Indian woman might get annoyed when I say: What is up with Indian women these days? Or let me be more specific, what is up with Indian women in the media these days? In an age when we’ve fought so hard to smash the image of the sari clad woman waiting patiently to serve her husband his rice, why are there so many women willing to shake their bare thighs, backsides, chests, and bangles in the face of any willing camera. And why, oh why are they dressing like Diwali sparklers while they’re doing it?
Switch on any Indian soap opera and you’ll know what I’m talking about – the over straightened or curled hair, the eye shadow that would put a baboon’s backside to shame and an over lined pout that would make a goldfish blush. And if I start on the jewellery/body armour we’re going to be here the whole day. As I watch, aghast, my only question is, why? Why are so many Indian women obsessed with appearance? And more importantly – if they are, why can’t they do it properly?
I am mystified to see an actress lie in a hospital bed with one highly mascara-ed eyelash feebly flutter…who does their makeup while they’re lying at death’s door? Or perhaps she really expects us to believe that her sparkling gold eye-shadow is natural.
It makes me fume to the roots of my untinted hair when I hear an Indian actress announce, ‘Believe in yourself - be happy with who you are’ while her face is thickly coated with make-up. This very actress will unblushingly dress in false eyelashes, hair dye, hair extensions and psychedelic contact lenses and sing, ‘I am very very very very pretty’ (I kid you not) while teetering in stilettos and gyrating her hips for her male audience.
Having always had a dislike for horrors I’ve quite begun to fear the average Bollywood flick.
For instance there is almost always a scene in which a female flicks her long tresses, twice, thrice and sometimes even a fourth time for good measure. Let me give you one example of many – in the much anticipated Dhoom 2, Aishwarya Rai unzips her cat suit in front of her male co star and a surreal breeze blows through her curled, blonde highlighted hair. A spotlight is switched on above her and the lyrics ‘sexy lady on the floor’ suddenly play to explain to us what we are looking at. And just in case we still haven’t got it ,the camera zooms into her over lined eyes, red lips, and then to her tiny shorts. And for those who are really having a hard time following, the character then announces, “I’m so hot”.
This scene probably takes up half the film.
All this glitz and supposed glamour has spread its ringed fingers into the masses and the result is quite extraordinary. These days when I attend an Indian bash I’m forced to carry a pair of sunglasses with me. The effect of sequinned material stretched over ample bosoms, ghastly face paint, flashing jewellery and hairstyles that wobble precariously in the air viciously combine to give me a splitting head ache. I’m all for looking good but when someone is assaulting me with their very appearance I draw the line. Has the motto ‘less is more’ all but been forgotten in this age of extreme extravagance?
Apparently yes, from the pitying looks I receive from wedding guests.
There is no doubt in my mind why Indian women win the Miss Universe and Miss World titles so many times: Indian women are indeed beautiful. They are blessed with the unique advantage of combining the best of black and white. Why then the need to over-accessorise and overdress? It’s all so unnecessary and yet it seems to be a rising trend.
Which brings me to the subject of my children- do I let them dress like enthusiastic peacocks? Or do I sit them down and tell them that being that fake can never make you real? The answer may seem a tad obvious, but by the time I have children I have a sneaky feeling that fake will be the new real. After all, I’m already hearing news about ordering designer babies…
But perhaps I’m being too harsh - as the competition in the industry gets stiffer, the hemlines are bound to climb higher, the bling’s sure to get blingier and the dash for the brightest, tightest and lightest is inevitable. And to be fair there have been some actresses who avoid this – but they almost immediately fall off the radar. Remember Bhumika whatshername?
If you’ve watched a Bollywood film, an Indian soap opera episode or at least a music video, then please comment and let me know what you think. Is it all in my (sore) head or are most Indian women in the media really losing the plot?
Last Updated (Sunday, 13 June 2010 09:07)