We live in a society where our appearances are constantly under scrutiny. Women and girls, particularly, are persistently striving to achieve the “perfect beauty standards” of the society. Beauty can be defined as: "the combination of different qualities like skin color and body shape that are aesthetically pleasant, especially to the sight.” Unfortunately in Pakistan, obsession with fair complexion and slim bodies for women is getting worse by the day. The media has also been presenting women in such a manner that common girls feel insecure about their appearance.

READ MORE: The CSS sisters

For instance, in various advertisements, women with lighter skin and slim bodies are presented as the “privileged” ones as compared to the dark-skinned and fat individuals. Our advertisements explain that dark skinned and fat women suffer a lot in some way or the other, until a fairness product miraculously lightens their skin color or they get their bodies trimmed with magical weight reducing tablets, which instantly brightens their future (they get married happily/get a successful job/become popular).

Skin color and slim bodies, therefore, are portrayed and perceived as indicators of a social hierarchy as a socioeconomic status. The fact that such beautifying products are mostly used by women, considering that within the patriarchal structure of our society they possess an inferior status, the concept of fair skin and slim curvy bodies becomes the standard for beauty, eventually.

And now for the same reasons, I have been trolled and criticized by society many times for having brown skin, being fat and hence labeled as “NOT PERFECT MARRIAGE MATERIAL”. I have not only been criticized for my weight or skin color - the insults range between having dark knees, to  having thick eyebrows. Well some people think that it’s offensive to be called plus-size, other people don’t. As a teenager, when I was growing up, such comments had been really disturbing.

But eventually I realized that the beauty standards of the society have never contributed much in the positive construction of our society. And hence now, honestly speaking, I really don't care about the labels people put on me. I just try to invest my efforts in contributing to the society in the very best manner, and to live a joyful life, regardless of my appearance.

When I go out in the sun, I do not cover myself up to protect myself from tanning, I do not wear makeup at all except occasionally. When I go to a shopping store and the salesman at the counter hands me weight reduction herbal capsules saying, “These will help you trim your body like a supermodel” I reject the offer, because I am confident and happy with my body type. I am not very trendy, I wear whatever I feel comfortable in and I love the way I am.

And yeah, for those who are wondering who will marry a brown-skinned, obese girl like me: listen, beauty lies beneath the skin, where narrowed vision can never reach.

However, I am not at all trying to promote an unhealthy lifestyle but I just do not want to glamorize my life in my social circle.

Being happy with myself makes what others think of me irrelevant. I still have so many people around who love and support me.  For all those beautiful people who are reading this, please don’t let those beasty beauty standards judge you for your appearance. Don’t take those beauty magazines and advertisements too seriously, they would only make you feel ugly. Just remember, smiling women are the prettiest women, and if you are inspiring someone to love themselves, you are doing a great job!