For many women, a wedding is the time to go full-on, head-to-toe glam. It's the reason they do countless trials with multiple makeup artists before picking a final beauty look. It's why they spend thousands on (often multiple!) dresses and diamonds. New bride Tasnim Jara, however, decided to do the opposite. She wore zero makeup, didn't buy a new gown, and wore no jewellery to prove a powerful point about the way women get pressured by societal beauty standards.
Jara, a Bangladesh-based healthcare activist, wrote about her experience in a public post on Facebook. "I was troubled by the singular image of a bride that our society has — with tons of makeup, a weighty dress and mounds of jewellery weighing her down," she wrote, further explaining that people have come to measure a woman's financial success, family status, and more based on how she physically looks at her wedding. On top of that, within the Muslim community, traditional weddings often have brides wearing piles of gold bracelets, necklaces, and head ornaments on top of elaborate, heavy makeup.
"I have hardly attended any wedding where I didn't overhear people gossiping: 'Is the bride pretty enough?' 'How much gold does she have on?'" Jara continued, "Growing up listening to these questions, a bride feels pressured to look for the best makeup artist in town, pays a hefty amount in time, money, and energy, and ends up looking nothing like herself."
A bride feels pressured to look for the best makeup artist in town, pays a hefty amount in time, money, and energy, and ends up looking nothing like herself.
Jara revealed that she faced resistance from her family for her decision to go all-natural on her big day — she claims some didn't even want to take a photo with her because she didn't look like their image of a bride. Using her personal story, she pleaded with people to think critically about emphasising too much importance on makeup and adornments.
"I feel that we need to change this mindset. A girl should not need a whitening lotion, a gold necklace, or an expensive sari to be accepted as a bride or to make her feel confident," she wrote, sharing that on top of wearing no makeup or accessories, she wore a hand-me-down sari from her grandmother. "People may call it simple, but it was very special to me, for what I believe in and what it means to me."
She made sure to emphasise that she isn't judgemental of or against women who want to wear makeup or expensive clothes ("I am all in for that," she said). She did explain, however, "It is a problem when she loses her agency in deciding what she would like to wear on her wedding day. When society forces her to doll up and look like a different person, it gives a message that the authentic look of a girl isn't good enough for her own wedding."
At the end of her note, she thanked her new husband: "Special shoutout to this person beside me, Khaled, who has not only supported me unconditionally but also beamed at me with so much pride for taking a stance against the stereotypes."
Props to Jara for staying true to herself. It's so real: brides-to-be face absurd expectations to look perfect on their wedding day. Let her story be a reminder that, at the end of the day, it's your face and your body and you should do whatever makes you feel like the best version of yourself no matter what people say.