Day 11 of the nationwide lockdown coupled with the one-week prior work-from-home initiative of my office, makes today my 20th day at home. In these past 20 days, I have not had the chance to go visit a parlour and to be honest I haven’t been too keen to shave at home either. The result is a visibly thick layer of moustache, long hair on my arms and legs, and a lock of hair on my underarms.

Yes, I have literally become the girl from your memes. Yes, those memes that have come out recently showing how women will come out of quarantine. All of us have seen it and all of us have laughed at it. But, while we laugh at it, the societal idea of decorating ourselves doesn’t truly leave our hearts, does it?

In the wake of novel coronavirus pandemic, when everything that we hold close to your hearts is changing, what happens to this conventional idea of beauty? Feminists for long have been fighting over this conventional standard of beauty that is put upon women.

Although, many feminist, including me, also shave and wax regularly. This is not meant to been seen as hypocrisy, but rather an informed choice. However, in a world, as divided in terms of gender boundaries, how do we differentiate between engrained ideas and choices?  

So, what do we do: shave or not? Are we shaving just because we have to conform to the generalized idea of beauty? But, if I am not shaving just to show that I am rebelling, am I still not succumbing to their idea? Uff, there is a hell lot of confusion.

But, there is a simple answer to it too. Choices ultimately should fall on the women to decide what is best for them. And hey, this is the best time for you to do it, no? The first step is to love yourself, not even with thick hair, but with it, in spite of it, because of it.  

The empty, clean slate we have all been longing for might just be here. This pandemic can be an excellent time for us to examine our bodies, in the purest, most natural way they have always meant to be. But then again it is not as easy as I am making this seem.

The lockdown and self-isolation are making us face our deepest fears and insecurities. On the surface, these insecurities might be about the future, or our family, or our jobs, but internally, we are having the insecurity of our own selves, our mind and especially our bodies. 

As someone who has grappled with body issues all my life, I can tell you this time and space that we have been left with, can reinstil in you the hate and disgust for your own body, that we have at some points felt in our lives.

No matter how conventionally beautiful you think you are, you can never proudly say that you have never felt insecure about your body or beauty. The “myth of beauty” is such that as soon as you compare and analyse yourself with the first mountain, a second, more powerful one emerges from the back. It is a battle you can never win.  

But, can I tell you a trick that has worked for me? This might be our only chance at living when how we look would not matter to anyone, just the fact we are healthy is enough. The ideal scenario we have been waiting for is at our doorsteps.

So, while you are at it, debating with yourself how you might not have a conventionally beautiful body, and how in the world is Deepika Padukone still looking hot even when she is under quarantine, it’ll be great if you and I reassess.  

Reassess, why being beautiful is the more important mandate for women? This pandemic proves that nothing matters as long as you survive, so what your nose is not the perfect shape or your hair is a tangled web of knots? Reassess all the pent up anger, hate, disgust you have ever felt for your own body and reassess why did you never thank it for having the strong ass immunity to help you survive this virus?

It won’t be a great journey, let me warn you. It will be filled with tears and hatred, and love and discomfort, but in the end, if you manage to be comfortable at looking in the mirror, with no-makeup and no alterations, and accepting yourself, it will all be worth it.