• Amrita Gandhi

What's A Beauty Standard ? Here's The Harsh Truth.

I took a selfie and went OMG-delete-that-now- this-never-happened.

That was was the day I realised I was no longer young. So the next time I took a selfie was not before I put on foundation, a three shades of ' natural' eye shadows, two types of lip stick and tried to look like it was a moment..captured just like that. Yes we get better and better with each passing year in so many ways. But here is the harsh truth.

Our experience doesn't seem to count as much as how young we can get away with looking.

The magazines may say love yourself at every age, but harsh truth folks, is that what it's really like to get older is all in your head. You have to learn to love your aging self or you are sunk. The good news is that there are always older people around to look up. Take Isabella Rosellini ( who was asked to model for Lancome in her 60s after being dropped for being too old in her 40s. ). There is the forever magazine cover girl Oprah, and Martha Stewart of recent poolside selfie fame, and Shobha De of unabashed cool, Tabu for silverscreen radiance. There are women galore you can look up to.

While I once looked at women their 40s who made it to a girl magazine as imposters I now look at cover girls as basically what my daughters are going to grow up to be.

Life changes, move with the times, and don't kid yourself that it is easy because everyone around you no matter how many self love quotes they thrust down your throat is basically telling you that you need to bring your A game to the looks department. Our best years are always seen to be behind us- why do you think so many people's profile pictures are from centuries ago.

Our experience doesn't seem to count as much as how young we can still get away with looking.

This needs to change, this needs to change now and the only way to do this I realise is to fill our inner lives up, keep our brains excited about things beyond just us, and keep learning.

That's my mantra.

But guess what- another area where beauty standards are unrealistic for women especially in India is when it comes to our hair. Indian women are expected to have a lot of thick lustrous hair. But the truth is, most of us don't. have. And that is what I learnt when I met someone who runs an extensions and wig shop in Delhi.

Our meeting prompted me to do this story for the The Quint where I got my dream hair by literally clipping it on.

And this is no ordinary hair. To learn about the ' roots' of this hair that is exported around the world, see my story here, where I also meet the amazing Lisa Ray. Lisa Ray, actress, model and author told me something very moving about what playing the role of a 'tonsured' widow in Deepa Mehta's ' Water' impacted her.

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