While Gen Z kids have been spared the horror of having their brows tweezed into reed-thin lines, us desi millennials remember what it was like to be shamed for our hairy unibrows once we hit puberty. We have seen that era when a conventionally beautiful actress like Kajol was shamed or snidely termed “offbeat” just because of the way her brows looked.
We would see skinny brows on the actresses on TV who were, in turn, emulating the look of international actresses who already had thin, light brows. There was no space for our thick and lush black brow hair in that world.
But things are different now. Internationally, even Caucasian models and actresses who are beauty icons have co-opted those thick, dark eyebrows people of colour were once shunned for, to the point that beauty vloggers are drawing on unibrows today. There is a whole market of brow products aimed at making brows look more hairy and dense.
This thick eyebrow trend has really been a turning point for those of us who follow beauty trends, and consume content and products dictated by those trends.
First of all, it shows us that our sense of satisfaction with our appearance cannot be reliant on ephemeral trends
Trends come and go. Yesterday, thin brows were in, so everyone rushed to tweeze their brows. Today, thick brows are in, so those with thin brows struggle to look bushy-browed. This cycle is endless, and has existed since the beginning of time. Once upon a time, being plump was considered desirable. Then, being thin was trendy. Now, being athletic is trendy. There will always be some or the other trend which will exclude at least some of us, so why fixate on them and not be content with who we are because we don’t fit into a trend?
We judge ourselves so much based on how we look compared to the people we see in the media. Is our nose like Deepika Padukone’s? Are our lips like Katrina Kaif’s? This breeds eternal misery because we will never be like anybody else, and the look that is “in trend” today should not dictate how we should look. Are we supposed to spend our whole life changing and adjusting ourselves to mimic what is popular?
Second, it shows how something which is treated as a “flaw” can actually be a beauty trait depending on whom you ask
Most of us desi girls grew up ashamed about our thick, black eyebrow hair and thought of our brows as ugly. Today, they are not only not ugly but, in fact, desirable and beautiful. If you go back centuries, the Greeks did, in fact, have unibrows and it was a mark of beauty at the time. This only goes on to show that what is considered beautiful at one point can be out of trend at another. To someone with thin, pale brows, our lush dark brows can be the epitome of beauty. So us thick-browed folk need to stop cribbing about having hairy brows and embrace ourselves, whether our look is “in trend” or not. The grass always looks greener on the other side.
Third, it shows us how much of a difference representation of different ethnicities in the media can make
Light-skinned people have been mainstays in the media industry across the world, so growing up, that is all we saw. We thought those kinds of bodies, that kind of hair, and such skin colours were the norm and the only standard of beauty. Less hair growth and, by extension, thin, light brows were also the norm because of that.
It is only now that we see desi girl Priyanka Chopra Jonas, half-Armenian Kim Kardashian, Middle-Eastern Huda Kattan, or Caribbean Rihanna on the covers of international fashion magazines and advertisements. So many women of colour are finally seeing women who look like them be called the trendsetters in the beauty world today. After years of being shamed for our dark hair and being compared to light-haired Caucasian folk, we are getting representation thanks to the thick brow trend.
Since it is only now that we see the representation of dark-skinned women from Latin America, Arab countries, and the Indian subcontinent, it is only now that the features common to us—such as thick brows, thick hair, curvy bodies—are being embraced instead of dismissed. This is why representation matters.
The thick brow trend is therefore a reminder to embrace every bit of ourselves, even the things society presently deems “unattractive.” Trends come and go, but our relationship with ourselves stays forever, so before criticising ourselves or changing ourselves to accommodate trends, we should remember that one woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure!
Lead Image credit: Ryan Seacrest Productions, Bunim/Murray Productions, Instagram.com/khushi05k