Dr 90210, Nip and Tuck, Plastic Fantastic, Complete Makeover; sound familiar, don’t they? All popular television programmes about plastic surgery and the increased obsession with body image. While I like beauty and beautiful things, I will place substance above beauty any day. Having a nose job, tummy tuck, botox, and breast augmentation has become common place in developed countries. It has nothing to do with ignorance, or backwardness, I chose to revel in my imperfections. I’ve got a gap in my front teeth, not the beautiful sexy ones like Madonna's and Lauren Hutton’s but the huge not so sexy gap.
As a child I remember wanting them braced and later whitened. My parents advised me to work on my self esteem instead. I am dark skinned, and not the Kelly Rowland or Genevieve dark, but several shades darker, with age and maturity. I have decided to be very comfortable in my own skin. There are many write ups about these topics and it is believed that light skins are more attractive and beautiful. It was even suggested severally in Hollywood that light skinned black actresses get more face time on television than their dark skinned counterparts who might be equally talented. That, to me, is nothing but shallow. While the argument for plastic or cosmetic surgery is compelling sometimes, most times they sound nothing but silly to me. Here are some scenarios: A flat chested lady that sees herself less of a woman and thinks having her breasts augmented will boost her self esteem. A woman with a nose so long, she feels her face is divided into two, and wants a nose job; a kid born with ‘elephant’ ears, his parents wants to have his ear clipped, another kid with a cleft palate and in dire need of surgery to redone his lips, and other cases are the men that want to look like Michael Jackson, a guy who wants his lips poutier, a woman that wants her derriere rounder like Kim Kardashian's or Jennifer Lopez's. A model breaks her leg bones to increase her height by two inches and of course sex reassignment operations.
Allah (SWT) must be extremely patient with us all. To watch humanity for so long, in the name of advancement in medicine toil with its creatures especially those overly cosmetics procedures. Looks are most definitely getting undue advantage. Most people that have cosmetic surgery to look younger, do not really look younger to me, they purely look like someone who’s had cosmetic surgery plain and simple. And then to think of the risk inherent in any surgery at all! Am not even going to get into the vagaries of being born in the wrong body, nonsense. I am a Nigerian and we haven’t gotten there yet and In sha Allah, we will not get to that place in particular. I have seen people live with cancer and other terminal diseases. I have seen people born with great disabilities, and this has made me realize that life is fragile and there is no need to take oneself too seriously. The true value of every human being is in worshipping Allah (SWT), finding your life’s purpose, impacting on people and making the world a better place than you met it.
I am wondering the role of body image in all these, except maybe in show business. Happiness should come from within. Right from the very core. While I look forward to a lazy day at the spa every now and again, love to have some reflexology, massage, facials; the whole works, and of course eating well and exercising, I am more interested in the quality of the mind and an individual’s thought processes. What is being conceived in the mind and achieved in life is of greater importance to me than the body image brouhaha. The most important and accomplished people in the world are not necessary the most beautiful. I celebrate piety in people, people with novel ideas, innovativeness, talent, knowledge, doggedness, wisdom and lately, swag.
The world certainly gravitates towards beauty, a beautiful woman might have several suitors but it is certainly her true character that goess the distance. As Muslims, the emphasis should be on remembrance of Allah (SWT) (zhikr) and worship (ibadaah) and making a difference. As for me, I see myself as a mirror of God’s mind. A wonderful representation of Allah’s might, an example of His endless possibilities. I’ve embraced and love my beautiful imperfections; anyone who has a problem with it is right beside himself (or herself). I celebrate life, love, family, good health and my true essence.