DHAKA – Tasnim Jara, a Bangladeshi Muslim doctor has become a Facebook celebrity after sharing a photo of her wedding in which she wore zero makeup to prove a powerful point against women getting pressured by societal beauty standards.
“I was troubled by the singular image of a bride that our society has — with tons of makeup, a weighty dress and mounds of jewelry weighing her down,” Jara, president of Aroggo, a healthtech startup in Bangladesh, wrote about her experience in a public post on Facebook.
Jara was challenging a social tradition of people attending weddings to measure a woman’s financial success, family status, and more based on how she physically looks.
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.”
Jara revealed that she faced resistance from her family for her decision to go all-natural on her big day.
Using her personal story, she pleaded with people to think critically about emphasizing 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 emphasize that she isn’t judgmental of or against women who want to wear makeup or expensive clothes.
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,” she added.
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.”