Who decides what beauty is?


By Ameera Abid

“Everyone is beautiful,” a mother often tells her child, but the moral and meaning of this sentence is compromised when that same mother sitting amongst her friends comments about someone’s height being too short or color being too dark.

Beauty standards are the socially constructed perfect model of physical appearance that if achieved by someone will qualify as “beautiful”. These standards are impossible to achieve by one person. They often ask for fair skin, slim and fit body, perfect hair, flawless skin; and anyone with one less quality is constantly reminded of that lack of quality. Although we claim that we do not judge people based on their physical appearance, racism still exists; it still lingers in our countries and is nowhere near to becoming extinct.

Girls and boys are equally affected by such norms. Youngsters have become so occupied with becoming popular and socially accepted that they spend less time working on their character and inner strength, and more time working on their attire and outward appearance.

Besides, who is to say who is beautiful? Who is to overlook Prophet Muhammad’s statement when he said, “There is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab nor for a non-Arab over an Arab. Neither is the white superior to the black nor is the black over the white except by piety,”?

By constructing these standards of beauty, we are not just destroying our own youth we are also going against the teachings of our Prophet (peace be upon him) and inviting Allah’s disappointment upon us.

Because of the preferences of the media and what the media dictates as beauty, we are becoming judgmental of the looks of other people. We were all created by the same Creator. He was the one who decided which color, size or feature were meant to for whom. He also gave personalities, talents, and many good qualities worth appreciating. Sadly, many of us are only able to look at the people’s exterior shells and not what’s inside, not the things that actually matter, not the things that are going to improve our world.

In the medical field, many young doctors are deciding to be cosmetic surgeons. The trends of cosmetic surgery have increased in the last couple of years. All the cosmetic surgery clinics have advertisements that say things like “become beautiful”, “have more confidence and transform yourself”, implying that everyone else is not beautiful unless they look like the model in the picture. These messages are telling young women that they should not be confident if they have a round nose instead of a pointed one. People pay enormous amounts of money to change the things they do not like about their body.

People decide that what Allah gave them was not good enough so they change it with Botox, lip fillers, cheek fillers, eye lift, and they are willing to go through the painful procedure of those surgeries. Although, there are risks of infection or something going wrong and permanently damaging the part of the body intended to change, these days the majority of women want pouting lips, pointed noses, and fuller cheeks. So much so, that almost all the ladies in the media look the same; they all have the same faces and the same porcelain skins.

As Muslims we should be active against racism and fighting this social plague.

Lupita Nyong’o an Oscar winning actress tries to spread the message against racism whenever she gets a chance.

The Union of European Football Associations launched a campaign to combat and spread awareness against racism. “No to racism” banners are prominently displayed during matches, and team members wear arm bands with the same slogan. The No to Racism message aims to increase public awareness of intolerance and discrimination in football, as well as developing ideas and strategies on how to fight them.

Barbie dolls used to have fair skins and skinny perfect bodies, but it is comforting to see that these days the dolls come in all colors and sizes.

In this era of technology and revolution I think we should all broaden our minds and try to see the true beauty in people.

Who is to say that black eyes are mediocre and blue eyes are more beautiful or that milky skin is prettier than dark skin?

All of us as humans are absolute equals. How can we judge that one person is superior to another when we were created by the same Creator? Allah created everything within this world and around it. How can we call someone ugly based on personal preferences?

We are all beautiful; we all are different flowers of the same garden. We have our different shapes and colors and sizes and different beautiful fragrance and none under any circumstances is allowed to stomp on a flower that they personally think is not beautiful.