Top Stories

Dovan Rai


Against stereotypes

Teenage self doubts, commercialism of beauty, imposition of beauty as compulsion for women, and due to my own modest genes, I had insecurities over my looks.

Given that Bollywood Caucasian heroines and Hollywood blondes were the stereotypes, I, an average, middle class, Mongolian Nepali girl had complaints over my height, hair, complexion, and almost everything else.

One day, I developed a huge infection on my forehead. My whole face was swollen and I was disfigured. Every morning, before going to school, I used to look at the mirror and wish the infection was gone and my face became normal again.

I then realized had it not been for the infection, I looked just fine. Who was going to be a movie star or a model anyway!

I was more than elated to have my childhood passion, designing, as my new profession. But I was sometimes impatient over my lack of technical expertise and knowledge.

Recently, in an accident, I got my right eye hurt. My eye bled, the cornea got scratched, and there was a blood clot in the retina. ‘Though it is not serious yet, anything can happen ’, was the doctor’s reply.

I was so worried that if I lost my eyesight, I would not be able to design anymore.
But jokingly I coined a name – ‘one eyed designer’ – for myself and was prepared for the worst. Luckily, my eye healed.

How wonderful, fulfilled and sufficient I then felt just to have a pair of healthy working eyes.

“Nepal is such a poor and backward country that it cannot even produce a mere needle”….. I had been hurt on hearing these words when I was in class 4. ‘Poverty’, ‘backwardness’, ‘hopelessness’, were the adjectives associated with this nation.

Then we had civil war and people started to get nostalgic.

‘Nepal was such a beautiful, peaceful country.’ ‘Had there not been war, Nepal had such a huge potential to progress.’ ‘Tourism, hydro resource and newly emerging technical expertise could have boosted the economy.’ Suddenly, we started to talk about our unfortunate nation’s potential and possibilities.

I think sometimes we need misfortunes to realize our own potential and possibilities.

Amidst the perfect polished stereotypical pictures of beauty, prosperity, progress and happiness imposed upon us, we seem to forget our own identity and ground, overlook our own beauty and richness.

We look at Angelina and Aishwarya, America and Australia and feel inadequate and impatient.

I don’t think that everybody needs to be beautiful or smart or rich or famous to be happy. We are beautiful and fulfilled in our own unique ways and we can be happy in our own different ways.

We should not let anybody or any power set the standards and stereotypes.