Breaking Barriers: Instances From Daily Life

Breaking Barriers: Instances From Daily Life

On my way to work and following my daily ritual of reading the newspaper every morning, I was extremely curious to read an article after glancing at its headline:

Miss Wheelchair World Beauty Pageant Breaks Down Barriers for Disabled Women

It was an ecstatic moment to learn about such pageants being organized and changing the social perceptions of people with disabilities. Out of curiosity, I looked up more events like this one around the world and read about another called Miss You Can Do It, a pageant for mentally and physically challenged girls aged four to twenty-five.  

A twelve  year old wrote in her competition essay,

“The meaning of disabled is not having any power, but I have the power to do anything I am willing to try. That makes me able.”

Such examples inspire confidence and willingness to live life to the fullest, and the idea of valuing everything that we have. These pageants are contributing in a major way by redefining the concept of beauty and promoting the idea that all of us are beautiful in our own way, considering wheelchairs and disabilities as an additional attribute to one’s personality rather than a constraint.

I feel that such events do not directly bring about change, but they definitely make a difference and an impact by breaking the barriers existing in the society. I feel inspired by a Japanese phrase “Wabi Sabi” that relates to these events, which means finding beauty in imperfections of life and accepting that everything is constantly changing. I believe in the same idea.

I usually reference a lot of movies and books in my articles, since various articles, movies, and books that convey a particular idea amongst the masses is a great way of reaching out to all those who are rigid in their own life frames and ideas.

I was watching the Bollywood film Cheeni Kum, starring the legendary Amitabh Bachan after already having watched it countless times, and it made me ponder the issue raised by the movie. A 64-year old man falls in love with a 34-year old woman and the story revolves around them enjoying each other’s companionship despite the age barriers, convincing the woman’s father that they have found solace in each other. I also considered other movies like Queen, where the protagonist goes alone on her honeymoon in order to explore her path of self discovery, or Sonata, that depicts three middle aged successful career women, sharing drinks and discussing their relationships, uncertainties, loneliness, sexuality and unfulfilled dreams as well as the movie Unindian starring the famous cricketer Brett Lee opposite a dark skinned Indian woman, divorced with a 10 year old child.

After reflecting on the above examples, I often ask myself why there is a need to convey such stories and examples. As the youth of today, are we striving to create a society that breaks the barriers and stereotypes of the past?

I oppose those who blame the societal norms for their own regressive mindset. Norms in the society have evolved for our welfare and growth.Why do we not accept a change that can impact  this world and make it a better place to live, for us and for all generations to come?

Such examples in today’s society make this world a better place for me. To possess something different from everyone else is a blessing and makes us more determined to face the world. There are societal restrictions and expectations for everyone, but to conquer them will allow us to emerge stronger than ever.

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