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The Financial Express

Are you a problematic relative who gives advice all the time?  


Are you a problematic relative who gives advice all the time?   

Did you ever give unsolicited advice to someone regarding their physical appearance? If yes, chances are, you’re the type of relative whom people want to run far away from in a family gathering.

You might assume that they want your suggestion in order to make themselves look better, but what you might not realise is that, in reality, you’re making them feel disheartened instead of being helpful. 

Comprehend the situation 

If the issue is fixable within a short amount of time, it is usually acceptable to let them know about the flaw in their appearance politely.

On the contrary, if the advice is regarding something that cannot be fixed within a few minutes, you should avoid mentioning it to the person.

For instance, if the person has crooked teeth, chances are he/she already knows about it. If you mention it to them, it only makes them feel sad because they assume that they are probably looking unreservedly hideous as the flaw was not ignorable by you. 

People are already tremendously insecure about their looks due to unrealistic beauty standards. We keep on comparing ourselves with models and try to fit ourselves within that beauty standard. Real skin is not appreciated and we are always advised to change our appearance no matter how we look. 

If someone is skinny, you recommend them to gain weight. If someone is overweight, you ask them to lose weight. If someone is perfectly healthy, you still try to search for any other flaws that you can find to belittle him/her, such as complexion.

Body shaming and beauty standards 

If you think this happens with adults only, you’re mistaken. Humaira Kashfir, who is currently in the fourth year of Dhaka MohanogorMohila College, and Faria Kashfir, a seventh-grader from St. Francis Xavier’s Girls’ School, are sisters. They are both victims of such circumstances. Humaira and Faria are twenty-three and thirteen respectively. 

“My maternal aunt told me that my chin is too long, so I should try to push it inwards with the help of my palms every day, and eventually it will be fixed,” shared Humaira. She was stunned by having such a remark and couldn’t reply promptly.

“Since I decided to speak up for myself, she hasn’t said a word about it anymore. What’s unfortunate is that I had to be rude to stop her from damaging my mental peace. I wish I wouldn’t have to hurt her but I had no choice left,” regretted Humaira with teary eyes.

The younger sister, Faria, shared a similar experience as she was asked to use whitening products to achieve better-looking skin. It’s outrageous when a thirteen-year-old is asked to fit within the ideal feminine beauty standards.

However, she can’t help but wonder, why does her complexion matter so much? She knows she’s beautiful the way she was born, and she’s proud of her skin, but remarks like that make her heart ache.

The trap of enforced masculinity

The situation is not limited to females only. Males are expected to not show any soft and flexible characteristics which are considered feminine. They are constantly under the pressure of suppressing emotions.

“I was told that, no matter what, a man should never express how they feel. I refuse to believe that crying is for women. I’ll shed tears when I can’t take it anymore and it is not a matter of shame,” stated Anirban Roy Chowdhury, a 21-year old Bangladeshi student of Fanshawe College at London, Canada. 

He hopes that toxic masculinity will be eradicated if each individual refuses to follow the stereotype. 

Eternal comparison of academic result

Not to forget to mention those who remember us when our results are published, just to taunt us that we could have achieved better grades, and compare ourselves with someone else.

What’s the point of comparing that person’s results with someone else’s achievements? They are different individuals with different ambitions. Rather, inner peace is more about focusing on oneself, not comparing.

Being actively concerned about others’ lives is neither good for the one concerned, nor for the ones who are being scrutinised. Either out of jealousy or ignorance, those ‘concerned’ people end up making others feel crestfallen. 

If you enjoyed making someone feel low-spirited, start trying the opposite.You’ll be amazed to see the person’s face beaming with joy because you showered them with compliments instead of criticism.

The world is changing and we should too. In 2021, we do not tolerate body-shaming. It costs nothing to be a kind and better human being.

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