You know what’s stunning? The Reef, my favourite Caribbean restaurant in Vancouver has nearly 40 varieties of rum to choose from. Rums of different temperate, flavour and shade. Which is why I think Giulia Cimarosti’s piece on the myraid ways women’s beauty is seen through a worldview is important. Physical beauty moves us, compartimentalizes us, but also alters the perspective on ourselves. Just like rum, women radiate beauty, not because we conform, but because we flourish in our individual ways. Please enjoy today’s Summer Chick Tale.
Did you know that I am a witch? Oh yes, I’m a baddie. Or at least, so they say in Myanmar!
Now, what the heck. I grew up among people that told me I had beautiful eyes all the time, and now people are scared of my eyes?
Yes, because in Myanmar light eyes belong to witches and demons.
I must definitely look very ugly down there… (*scribbles* Myanmar packing list: Sunglasses. *underlines*).
Oh, beauty… You’re such a relative thing. And the travelers know this very well!
I guess I was born in the wrong country. Italy: the land of fashion, as well as of the worldwide famous pretty-much-naked girls dancing on TV shows. Here, you can literally see statuary female bodies everywhere – ads on the streets, TV shows, magazines. Then you stop reading, raise your eyes and get shocked by how girls dress. Did I spend too much time in the Middle East? Probably.
Anyway, the point is that here beauty means being skinny, preferably with fake marble-like boobs, 365 days per year tan, 24/7 makeup, extensions, hyaluronic acid, and all that. You just have to be perfect, and look like these starlets.
And if you’re not into fashion, enjoy eating, don’t spend a hour per week in a sunlamp, etc… all this makes you feel ugly and uncomfortable. Or at least, different. Yeah, something like that.
But for me… No way!
Then I went to Egypt.
Everything changed. Suddenly, I started hearing all I ever dreamed of.
“Your belly is sexy”. (Are you serious?)
In the blink of an eye, overweight is hot (those famous 10 pounds you tried to get rid of all of your life. You know?), pale skin is cute, $5 Made in China dress looks great on you.
And you know what? I even lost weight! Eating fries and falafel all the time. I guess it’s a matter of psychology. When you stop thinking about it, it happens. Isn’t it great?
It is great. Especially after you spent 6 months in New York City… ’nuff said I guess. As far as I could see, there the only definition of real beauty is: blond with blue eyes, period. I was considered “exotic”. Me. Yes.
Whatever it means, it’s easy to understand what it implies: single forever…
Now, back to Egypt.
I always thought my face was too large. The first time someone told me “you look like the moon” I was about to send him to hell. Then they explained me that it’s actually a compliment, and a great one.
In Egypt, looking like the moon is the best thing that could ever happen to a girl.
Ladies, I’m confused.
I came back to Italy and found myself walking in the street with a plastic bag instead of a purse… you know, Arab style. After the 10th Louis Vuitton I spotted, I realized there was something weird.
Was there something weird with the guy who approached my father in Algeria, asking him if he was feeding me and my mother enough? Not at all. To his eyes, we looked too thin, but we were both plump. At least, according to Italian standards…
In Korea, being tall is ugly. And you know what we say in Italy? “height is half beauty” – It means that if you’re tall you’re already half way to being beautiful.
Cultural difference, point of view, whatever you call it. It’s just too hard to be “universally beautiful“. You should just change your look all the time. But is it that important? No.
From my point of view, travelers are among the most beautiful people on earth, as they have the chance of overcoming the beauty schemes of their societies.
When you see how things change from one place to another, you stop comparing yourself to people around you, and thinking you should look like them. You understand this is just plain stupid. You start liking your looks as they are, and being yourself. You even stop considering “ugly”, what’s just different. You learn to love diversity, both in you and others.
And you’re suddenly beautiful. You’re suddenly achieving the best beauty you could ever wish for: the one given by self-confidence and not by plastic surgery, hairdressers or fashion clothes.
I believe beauty is a perfect example and a metaphor to explain how travel really makes us richer and better people. Beauty, religion, culture… think about it: it all works the same way.
Author bio: Giulia Cimarosti is Italian by birth, bound to Egypt, but longs to continue exploring the world. Find her lushly written pieces on Travel Reportage, or drink in more of her beauty through Twitter or Facebook.
Summer Chick Tales was conceived from my love of the season and my obsession with slurpees. I always have one every summer. I also love women writers. Lots. If you want to submit a story or be in charge of the mojito station, see the editorial schedule. Come on, join the XX chromosome party.
Venus statue photo from Greece: Ggorgo
All other photos provided by author.