Nowadays with the rise of social media, we can’t help but constantly compare ourselves on a superficial level to others. We sometimes base our own worth by using benchmarks that society provides for us and this can cause us to feel insecure about who we are.
If you know me, then you know that I’m a huge advocate of self-love. I think a lot issues that people have stem from the fact that they haven’t learned to love themselves enough. When we feel uncomfortable in our own skin, sometimes we start to loathe ourselves and this can cause lack of confidence, it can cause us to turn down opportunities due to our insecurities, and it can cause us to not demand the respect and love that we deserve.
I was recently asked to take part in a project called, Beauty Queen. The creator of this project is a 22 year old girl named Nidhi. Nidhi grew up in Singapore, is of Indian descent, and has spent the last four years in Canada. She graduated with a degree in marketing and is currently applying for her master’s in healthcare and development. Nidhi works part-time and spends all her free hours building up Beauty Queen. She was kind enough to answer the following questions for me on this initiative that she’s started.
What is the purpose of beauty queen?
The purpose of Beauty Queen – an aggregation of diverse women, their struggles, insecurities, advice and more – is to raise awareness of the social stigma of beauty around us, to create a support network, to promote a positive relationship between one’s mind and body and finally, to encourage the appreciation of one’s unique identity.
Why did you pick this cause?
I’m invested in body-confidence and it’s related issues due to my personal experience with the matter. When I was younger, I struggled with the idea that I was darker, heavier and taller than the girls around me. In high school, I starved myself, did insane amounts of cardio and felt incredible guilt if I ever ate heavily. I was perpetually unsatisfied with myself and treated my body incredibly badly.
About two years ago, I visited Brazil, a country with an incredibly diverse population comprising a multitude of races, body types, colours and builds. In that environment, I was exposed to the fact that everyone looks different, so it was unrealistic to place one standard on a global population. I felt more comfortable with myself than ever, started weightlifting and started nourishing my body with wholesome, healthy food. Today, I’m more comfortable with my body in it’s natural state than I’ve been in years.
My struggle is what fuels Beauty Queen, as the project strives to bring other’s insecurities, issues and triumphs to light, in order to deconstruct society’s pressures, create a network and minimize the effect of these inner battles.
How did you come up with this project?
As I got older and more comfortable with myself, I started sharing my insecurities and doubts with my friends. More often than not, they would open right back up to me. Their struggles would shock me. You don’t understand how many times I’ve thought, ‘How could this beautiful, otherwise confident girl see herself like this?”. I’m someone who finds little features about each person so endearing and beautiful, maybe the shape of their cheek when they smile or their beautifully-shaped nose – and I find it shocking when they don’t see it for themselves.
With everything that we’re exposed to today, our generation is good at one thing – comparison. We compare ourselves to those around us, on and off screen, and magnify our self-doubt. We deem ourselves ‘not good enough, not [characteristic x] enough to do something or the other.
Essentially, what I wanted to come up with was a platform where we share these inner thoughts, insecurities and struggles that are behind-closed-doors. Through sharing, each and every reader was to realize how they were subject to similar [unattainable] societal expectations and how harsh they were being on themselves and in the process. Ultimately, they would learn to embrace their individuality rather than shutting it down.
Where do you see Beauty Queen headed?
The one thing I want for Beauty Queen is exposure. I just want it to touch as many individuals as it possibly can. I want each post to make someone feel better in the morning, a little surer of themselves.
In the future, I hope to start up a campaign directed at men as it’s just as significant a struggle for them. Although it may be even more difficult to execute, in some aspects, due to the additional stigma that men can’t be emotional/vulnerable.
Thank you to Nidhi for answering my questions and for allowing me to take part in such a beautiful initiative. For those of you who are interested to see my feature or want to take part in the project check it out at the following link, btyqn.org and do go and like their facebook page.