Being beautiful, perfect, and more lovely is a global issue for women and the Iranian women have not been an exception. This issue is even far more important for women in the country. Today, being beautiful is the first important need of a woman, ahead of her physical and mental health.
Does the problem root in the demands of the men’s community? Or media propaganda, picture of superstars shared in cyberspace, lack of awareness of women about themselves, and lack of self-esteem has led to such a phenomenon?
Bodybuilding clubs and counseling clinics these days are full of women who go to these centres not to maintain their health, but to be loved. Women do sports not only to maintain their health, but also to become fit in the shortest time. They go to counseling and psychology clinics, not to lift their spirit, but to find a solution to be loved more by the opposite sex.
For more information on this issue, ISNA has conducted an interview with Dr Marjan Alighardashi that you can see here:
Q: It seems that women, who go to counseling clinics today, are looking for one thing: that is, to be loved through their body shape.
A: Yes; I confirm it. One of the reasons is dissatisfaction with marital affairs. Ladies come and say that their husband is ill-affectionate, and the first point that comes to their mind is that their husbands are certainly not satisfied with their body. What we need to study is the feeling of a woman in a relationship. The important issue for women is to be selected, and they look for it in their appearance. This is what brings a lot of women to the counseling rooms. Many of these women have been deeply depressed after going on strange diets, and ultimately they fail in getting to their ideal body. This leads to a food disorder that causes them to starve. People with this disorder have a fear of being overweight.
Q: Don’t you think the reactions of men are the main reason for women’s fears about their organs?
A: Yes; one reason women are so hardheartedly caring about surgical procedures is to respond to the demands of the men’s community. Men want women to be completely muscular, but to say that men are the only guilty party is simplistic. In my opinion, one of the main reasons of such thinking, are the superstars as none of them are willing to show defects in their bodies in their images. They want to emphasise they are perfect women, so they often use photoshop techniques. I remember that once Kim Kardashian was on the beach while a picture of her was taken abruptly. Instead of saying that like many other women her body is not perfect, she first began to express discomfort as to why her picture was published. Then, she began to argue that the light was not good, and she could not exercise for a while due to her busy time. She did not accept if there were any imperfections, it is normal. It should also be blamed on the media that retouch images of women. Virtual networks are also full of people who display their lifestyle while many are either athletes or models. A housewife or a female employee, for example, whose job is to sit eight hours behind a desk, compares herself to these people. Another issue is that the media set the standard of beauty for us. A standard that changes every now and then according to fashions.
Q: Do you think the standard definition of beauty is right? Do you think giving a definition of beauty is a right thing?
A: No, it’s not true at all. Every human has its own physics and the change in her physical state is limited. When we define the standard of beauty, we are talking about a human-made concept. Beauty standards are defined by the beauty firms that their models suffer starvation to reach the size of 32 or 34. This has been so catastrophic that the World Health Organization warned beauty companies that their sizes should be natural.
Q: How many of your clients do sports for health, and how many do exercise for being loved?
A: As far as I’m concerned, only 4% of them do sports for health. One of the problems of women in Iran is the clothing market. The market is full of Chinese clothes that are tailored to the body of the people of the East Asian region; so when an Iranian woman buys clothes, she needs to buy one or two more, and this is a horrific feeling for a woman.
Q: In your opinion how much the Iranian women love themselves?
A: Many Iranian women just think of being good for others. They only think of being a good wife, a good mother or a good child, this is, of course, due to the belief that sees women as a means for others’ satisfaction. Women do not think whether they are good people for themselves or not. I propose to these women in Iran and elsewhere in the world, first, to work on their self-esteem. They must learn art or go for a new job. I ask them to stop being an idealist. They can match their expectations with their husbands and speak with them about their weaknesses and strengths. They’d better love themselves as they are.