Exploring Beauty Standards Worldwide: Desi Beauty In India

“I think the colour of your skin doesn’t reflect on beauty. I believe that by eating right, your skin glows, no matter what colour.”

Tanya Dhar.
Photo: Tanya Dhar.

Learning how to be confident is not always going to be smooth sailing and isn’t any easier when there are harsh, societal standards constantly enforced by the media. The standards fed to consumers detail how you should look, act and dress every day while pushing people to conform to norms, tossing away their own self-expression. The expectations in the beauty community make it even harder for women to feel comfortable in their own skin.

People have since been speaking out against these standards and are advocating for an increase in the representation of minorities and people of color, leading Indian women all over the world to flip the switch on beauty standards set for them. Indian women have done a complete 180 on beauty expectations and are now showing the world their confidence and that brown is beautiful.

Tanya Dhar is a beauty blogger, social media influencer and content creator from Bangalore, India. Dhar said she has felt pressured from the western expectations that are set for women in her community. Before the changes for inclusivity in the beauty community, Dhar said the unrealistic standards strongly affected her and still linger with her today.

“I find myself over analyzing everything, from my outfit to my waist size, even when I know that it shouldn’t matter.”

Tanya Dhar.
Photo: Tanya Dhar.

Despite her overwhelming feelings of not fitting into society’s definition of beauty, Dhar said that she still fortunate to live in a country that is so splendidly diverse and it is topics like these that unite Indians and inspire them to embrace their differences.

“The 21st century needs to be the era of a revolution where we stop defining a woman by her physical characteristics; we are more than the colour of our skin or the hair on our upper-lip”

Natasha Diddee is an author of a book called Foursome, and has been featured in Vogue India for documenting what she cooks on her Instagram page. Inspiring her followers to choose a healthy diet and lifestyle has shown Diddee that eating habits are at the core of beauty.

Natasha Diddee.
Photo: Natasha Diddee.

“I think the colour of your skin doesn’t reflect on beauty. I believe that by eating right, your skin glows, no matter what colour. I have good skin because of my eating habits & I’m hoping that my followers benefit from my feed.”

Diddee has noticed a large change in the Desi beauty community where women are starting to be more confident in their own skin than past generations. She said it’s a liberating feeling to know Indian women are comfortable with getting creative with their self-expression.

“Indian women are embracing their bodies and are reinventing our traditional sarees by wearing modern unconventional blouses. We’re not afraid of colour & are open to both Western & Indian trends.”

Natasha Diddee
Photo: Natasha Diddee

Priyanka Gupta is changing the fitness community in India with each workout she posts to her YouTube channel, blog and Instagram page. Growing up, Gupta said she felt low in confidence because the Desi beauty standards pressured her to look and behave a certain way. Fast forward to now, Gupta said she has grown to feel more confident with how she defines beauty.

“The right exposure and education has helped me shape into an individual who is confident in her own skin and style. And I think most women should find their own Desi beats and sway with it.”

Priyanka Gupta.
Photo: Priyanka Gupta.

Using her love for fitness has helped Gupta inspire others to change their lifestyle and shift their focus to pay more attention to promoting trends that are realistic and functional. Gupta said having a fit body will make you feel better and will last longer than temporary beauty trends do.

“I am a strong believer of fitness being a part of beauty. It’s not only what you wear but also how you feel. If the community focuses on fitness, beauty will be just a side product of it.”

In the past, many Indian women experienced challenges from unrealistic beauty standards that had blocked their ability to be more self-confident. Now, more Indian women living all over the world have turned the negative beauty standards into an opportunity where they can express their own body confidence and defy expectations. Tanya Dhar finished the discussion with the positive outlook she has for the beauty community.

“With voices of protest getting louder, there is a brighter tomorrow to look forward to. A day where our voices drown out patriarchal expectations of beauty.”

Priyanka Gupta.
Photo: Priyanka Gupta.

Noa Covell

Contributor

Noa is a true New Yorker and thrives on a non-stop, busy lifestyle. She’s loves staying active and is always looking forward to the next adventure that crosses her path. When she’s not on the move, you can find her watching Animal Planet or trying a new pasta recipe.

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