#Girltopia - Validation (Episode 2)

The 21st century has brought with it the rise of feminism, and females can be proud of the fact that we have made our mark in every sector possible, be it politics, sports, social work or the corporate world. Yet even though our achievements have far surpassed our expectations, it is a shame that every women still needs a closet full of cosmetics and cannot begin her day without the perfect, natural make up look.

Although many women, including myself, will immediately become defensive and deny that this is the reason behind our constant need for perfection, it is a matter that can no longer be brushed off and needs to be addressed as a problem that has seized the female population.

Every women feels the need to be validated, and that too, not by their female family, friends or colleagues, but by men. Many women will confirm that they are comfortable leaving the house without make up to attend an exclusively female party, yet a quick trip to the grocery store requires at least fifteen minutes prior notice, because she has to look the epitome of stunning but casual as she may run into a 'potential.'

As a member of one of the most superficial and shallow generations, I can confirm without hesitation that the majority of our conversations revolve around boys and what exactly they like or dislike. Every girl has been a victim to trying to change who she is, solely for the approval of a boy. The hours of preparation,  the aching feet or the price tag is considered to be worthwhile if the girl receives even one compliment from the boy she fancies.

While changing her outward appearance is quite common, what generally goes unnoticed is her change in personality, which varies from discarding old hobbies to totally forsaking her old self. Many girls become interested in sports, video games and other activities which they would otherwise consider boring, all because they wish to impress the boy of their choice with their knowledge on the subject. Lots of girls become softer, more feminine or more boyish, simply because "he wants a girl like that, so I will be that girl."

While these changes might seem fine and even good at times, such as if she begins to diet and exercise, the problem arises when one realises how emotionally taxing it is on a girl to keep up this false pretense up and to always be the best version of herself that she can be. Many people do not understand how difficult it is to have to be aware of the way you laugh, and to have to think before you speak in case a boy will be repulsed by it. They do not understand how difficult it is to have to spend hours in front of the mirror perfecting your contouring because you want to enhance your cheekbones so that you look more appealing. They do not realise how difficult it is to be a girl because you're constantly bombarded by magazines filled with girls who look more beautiful than you could ever wish to be; girls that set the standards too high that it may be unachievable. They do not understand how difficult it is to tell your friend that she is beautiful after a boy said to her that she just isn't what he wants. They do not understand how difficult it is to be a puppet of the male population, and having to dance to their tunes because you feel like that is to the only way to show that you are worth something.

It does not matter whether you have a Cambridge degree if you are not complimented by a man on your intelligence. Your beautiful mind that you express on paper or canvas does not have any worth unless you are told by a boy that he envies your skill and thinks that your work is amazing. The feeling that these comments create within a female is fascinating to watch, because these are the remarks that spur her on and encourage her to achieve more, be greater and in essence, confirm her worth. On the other end of the spectrum, when he does not compliment her, or instead insults her, she is left heartbroken and feels as if she is useless and unimportant. If, for example, she dresses up in a particular outfit that he likes, and he simply ignores her, she is left heartbroken because the hours of YouTube make up videos, hijab tutorials and her expensive perfume was not given any consideration. Very often the man does not even realise his error, but the woman's constant need to be validated takes priority over the known fact that she is looking gorgeous and everyone around her thinks that. Here too, we are faced with the situation where a man can just hint at an aspect of her that does not suit his fancy, and she will then be in a state of despair for the rest of the day or week. An irrelevant comment such as, "You're looking tired today," could completely ruin her mood and mascara, because she automatically assumes he is saying she looks like a tramp, rather than the truth, which is that he is just commenting on her drooping eyes and constant yawning that is a result of waking extra early to make time for her extremely long make up routine.

Women feel as if they are only worth as much as a man says that they are. They do not believe in their own beauty and instead depend on others to tell them that it exists. It is no wonder that the malls these days are filled with clothes that can barely fit into the category of clothes and are much closer to pieces of cloth, because baring their bodies are the only way to gain male attention. Cosmetic surgery is at its height, because in order to be one of those 'cover girls,' she must have Kylie Jenner's lips, Gigi Hadid's body, Cara Delevigne's eyes and not to forget, Kim Kardashian's figure, with a great butt and boob job to ensure this. The costs ensued and the pain endured in the process is worth it in the end, because she will finally be sought by every boy within a 3 km radius.

Regardless of how far we have progressed over the ages in terms of feminism, we will always be the weaker gender if we allow every aspect of our lives to revolve around what men think of us. It is of no use for us to expect our teenage daughters to just know their self worth, or our sons to make a girl feel special just the way she is, because we have failed to teach them this during their childhood. We have not taught them that they do not have to change who they are to be a Disney Princess, nor do they have to have a Ken to be a Barbie doll. By reading our daughters fairy tales such as Aladdin, where Jasmine required a boy to save her and soar with her, or Snow White had to be kissed by a prince to live, we are indoctrinating them into believing that a man is there world and the greatest achievement in life. Had Snow White not had her Prince, she would have not lived the rest of her life. Had Rapunzel not been rescued by Prince Charming, she would have lived till old age in the tower. Had Cinderella not found her Prince, she would have worked as a maid all her life. If we read these tales to our children all through their childhood, do we expect any less than for them to assume these roles?

Let us teach our daughters that romantic love is not the only love that exists. Let us teach them that they are masterpieces, and that artwork does not have to be perfect because its beauty lies in its brutal imperfection. Let us teach them that their gender is an asset, not a setback. Let us teach them that they can conquer the world regardless of what a man says. Let us teach them that the true meaning of love is self love, and that the only validation they need is their own.


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