More than a few discussions arise around here about relationships - what we seek, how they should be, how they shouldn't be, what's attractive, and what the criteria are.
Here in the south of France there is a definite "look" for women, and I have seen this in girls as young as 5 and women as old as 85.
A lot of them look good, at first glance, until you realize that they can't walk in their shoes, suffer feet and back problems, very few have a natural hair color, they spend *hours* putting their make-up on, because they won't leave the house without it, and many of them probably think they're unattractive and, even worse, I'm sure many have eating disorders (or at the very least, worry about every morsel that passes their lips - what pressure!). And I don't even want to think of how many toxic chemicals are in their systems from creams, potions, lotions, hair dye, hair spray, hair gel, make-up...
This is by no means limited to women in this region, I think it extends at least through most, if not all, of the West, as it is very common for women, and even young girls, to be self-conscious and insecure about their bodies.
I am going to show my ignorance now about the non-Western world by asking some questions. I feel lucky to be able to do so, as I have no other avenue through which to get answers and opinions from people whose lives and perspectives are so different from my own! So teach me, people!
1. Regarding the abaya, I can only imagine that there is a tremendous sense of freedom for women who wear it. All that pressure to look "perfect", to live up to society's impossible standards of beauty, all those bad hair days, GONE - at least in public. :)
Ladies, for those of you who cover up, is it really like that? Or is the same pressure there in private?
2. Do you think that both men and women have a different standard of beauty (meaning "different from the West") because of the abaya? I have this romantic notion that it's all in the seduction of the eyes. :) And what about body image?
3. Regarding the act of covering up, it is my understanding that the religious motivation behind this is to ensure that men are not ...don't know how to say it, even though everyone knows what I am trying to say! :) ...so that men are not "distracted" by them.
Is this true? (Must confirm my premise before building on it!) And if it is true, doesn't this simply reinforce and encourage the (false?) assumption that men can only think of one thing? And worse, doesn't make it socially acceptable to admit it?
And guys, what do you think? For those of you who live where women cover up (and for those who don't), what is the first thing that attracts you about a woman in an abaya? (Is it *really* the eyes? Will my romantic notion be fulfilled? lol)
Or....do women everywhere feel the same pressure to look and be a certain way, and the difference is that it's in private and not in public?