Strong is the new pretty.
I saw this a little while back, as part of a story that went viral on social media. A mother posted pictures of her young daughters playing; they were outside, and seemed to be studying centipedes in a puddle and tumbling over each other, with no regard for keeping their hair in place or acting coy or protecting their clothes from the inevitable dirt and rips. It stayed with me.
Finally, here is a beauty standard to which I can relate.
I’ve never really gotten into the conventional standards that are used to judge beauty in women. Long hair doesn’t appeal to me. I’ve had a cropped cut for the longest time. I’d still chop my hair off if I could find a good short hair stylist in Mumbai. Flawless skin? I’m actually quite proud of the scars on my legs, from climbing trees and scraping myself countless times. My face isn’t buttery smooth. I was too busy absorbing everything college offered to go see a dermatologist. Besides, at Brown, I had enough folks challenging me and my limits, pushing me to focus on developing my inside, finding myself, which no cover-up makeup was going to help me do. Thin bodies? Give me a toned, full look any day to undefined, flabby limbs even if they be slender.
Yes, strong is the new pretty.
Now, finally, cultural winds have started blowing to recognize beauty in strength. Strength to play physically, outside, sometimes with rough contact. Venturing into unfamiliar spaces, testing ourselves, testing others for what they think we can and should be. Discovering magical things about ourselves and our surroundings. Discovering the magic of laughing loudly, with abandon, without covering our mouth. Being there for our friends when they fall, being receptive to a hand when we fall. Strength of body, strength of character.
Some women have been doing it all this while. It looks like we might be celebrated for it now.