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Was Sridevi a victim of beauty standards set by fashion industry?

Photo: Telugu One

By Kouser Fathima

The news of Sridevi’s death is shocking and disturbing. Sridevi was and will always be one of the finest actresses on silver screen with her elegance and versatility, as very few actresses can match her acting skills. Her journey as an actress has been long, interesting, and inspiring.

Sridevi’s life has not been a fairy tale. She started as a child artist and later made her debut as a heroine at a very young age in South Indian movies, eventually moving into Bollywood, where she reigned for years. There is no doubt that she was extremely talented, a great dancer, and could act effortlessly. She was blessed with natural beauty. However, she came across as someone who was insecure of her looks. After having ruled the industry based on her acting talents and beauty, she was often in news for her various plastic surgeries. Her nose job was one of the most talked about things in Bollywood and fashion magazines. After a stage, she seemed to have been obsessed about her looks, which she tried to enhance with endless Botox treatments and lip surgeries. Her quest for the near perfect figure always made more news than her work. But then she was not the only one who fell for this craze. Most of the Bollywood ladies are on an endless trip to attain perfection. There is nothing wrong in focusing on and reinventing oneself but when this becomes an obsession, it can be dangerous.

The false standards set by the beauty industry, peer pressure, and demands to meet a certain criteria add immense pressure on young girls and women, forcing them to adopt any means to achieve these goals. Most actresses in their forties and fifties look much younger, rather time-warped. But how do they achieve this? What are they sacrificing to attain this look? The desire to look much younger than actual age has affected not just the Bollywood ladies but women everywhere. There is a thin line between taking care of oneself to look good and being obsessed with looking younger than one’s age. This is where most women falter. They confuse between looking good and looking younger.

The desire to look younger has been ailing the human race since ages. With advancements in science, it has become more convenient now. It still comes with a price. Human body is designed to function in a particular manner and repeated efforts to alter this function will definitely backfire. Crash diets, liposuction, and plastic surgeries have their side effects, which are mostly ignored leading to complications that can be fatal. This not only affects one physically but causes immense stress affecting one’s mental well-being.

It’s time we women learn to love ourselves for the way we are, learn to accept ourselves and not wait for others’ validation. It’s important for us to learn to age gracefully. Be it a Bollywood diva or any other woman, it’s time to stop falling prey to the endless beauty demands and learn to accept ourselves the way we are. The world will continue to set new beauty standards for women to meet. It’s for women to decide how much and for how long we will continue to abide by these rules. How far are we ready to go and at what cost? We must work on yourselves so that we feel good, independent of the standards set by the world. We as individuals are more than just our looks and our weight. It’s time we highlight our talents, set new rules, and make the world accept us with even our flaws. Since the world is not perfect, why do we expect only women to be perfect and look perfect?

Sridevi will always be remembered for her versatility, grace, and immense talent. Even if she had put on weight or not undergone surgeries, her fans would have continued to love her. In fact, many of her genuine fans were not happy with her numerous surgeries. There are many actresses who have aged gracefully without the aid of surgeries or crash diets. Waheeda Rahman, Jaya Bachchan, Shabana Azmi, and Sharmila Tagore have shown the world how to age gracefully without falling for the beauty standards set by the fashion industry. They may not be described as glamorous by beauty magazines now. But they will remain eternally beautiful and graceful. These beautiful ladies should inspire us to set our own beauty rules and not fall for the rules set by others. Glamour sells but beauty is everlasting.

Sridevi, you will forever be etched in our minds as the beauty from Chandni and Lamhe, natural and effortless.

Rest in peace, Sridevi!

Dr. Kouser Fathima is a Bangalore-based dentist who writes on issues concerning women, especially Muslim women. Email: Twitter: @drpiscean.


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2 Responses to “Was Sridevi a victim of beauty standards set by fashion industry?”

  1. parwatisingari

    Sridevi was indeed a talented beautiful woman. Maybe she was insecure about her looks, considering that the Bombay based media had always been nasty to her. There was one movie magazine that reviewed Chandini and said” imagine dressing a mongrel with chiffon and calling it a pomeranian that is what Yash chopra tried to do with Sridevi in Chandini” that was nasty. The were consistently nasty to her.


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