Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Glamorization


I was looking through a Facebook newsfeed the other day, when I came across a photograph of a childhood  friend from Baku. I thought she looked amazing and decided to flick through the whole album.

That was not a good idea.

First of all, my friend looked too stunning. She has always been a very pretty girl, but I could not help but notice that, after two children, her figure was that of an 18-year old model, her boobs (okay, might have been artificially enhanced, but I am no expert. They could be real, with a very good push-up bra? Who knows, and really, does it even matter? As Husband pointed out “have you ever heard any man complain about boobs being fake?” ) in an expensive low-cut dress looked amazing; and the whole package was, well…pretty glamorous.

Second of all, not just the friend herself, but almost every other girl in her photos looked beautiful and glamorous, too. And it made me think of so many things at the same time. The first and utmost was the reminder that English women do not do glamour well. Okay, let me clarify this, somewhat offensive, statement. English women do a very different, elegant but subtle glamour. I also think that life in the UK, unless you belong to a certain ( don't know which?) circle, does not give British women any chance to dress up in such glittery Oscars style dresses. Husband pointed out women in central London do dress up more than in suburbs. Perhaps. But I have friends in London, too. I am not just a village girl stuck in the hood. I have seen life outside, you know. But nothing I have seen in this country compares to my friend’s photos. 

What English women consider glamorous would probably be a Sunday lunch outfit for my friend in Baku. It is important to point out, too, that she clearly spends a lot of money on her looks. Not just the skin tone, the hair and the boobs, but the outfits, from what I know about fashion world (not much, clearly) point out to a very decadent lifestyle. And I have to tell you, that when a woman spends a lot of money on herself, it shows plainly and clearly. It is not something one can easily fake, despite everyone trying their best.

However, I have a few friends in the UK, who most probably have even more money. So, it is not just the money that makes the difference. I kept looking through the photos, and thought that there is a certain cultural thing about looking this glamorous.

I picked a photo with long gowns and amazing shoes on every woman there, with some very revealing cleavages (for what I understood to be Iranian and Azeri women) in the photo; and asked my local friend where she thought we could wear something like that.We laughed hard.

'Let’s look'! I said to her. We opened my Facebook photos. 'Here...', I said, 'Is the breakfast in what is considered a posh and glamorous hotel nearby. With a bunch of other ladies who lunch...'
  
Oh, we felt glamorous going there! We wore high heels and pretty necklaces, and did our hair! Lets look, I said. Do we look anywhere close to those Azeri/Iranian women? Hell, no! Look at what we are wearing! My Azeri glamorous friend would probably wear something like that at home if she was busy with housework. (Not that she does any, but you get the picture.)

And so it hit me. Living in the UK for this long changed my outlook on what I would consider elegant. Or glamorous. Or sexy..

Whether that is a good or bad influence, my life here affected my understanding of style and fashion. I need to keep reminding myself  that UGG boots are neither sexy or elegant. Neither are my Converse trainers.

I remembered a night out with my glamorous Moscow friend, and with horror imagined what she must have thought of me. No wonder she asked if I was happy. She was probably mortified by my flat heels, plain long cardigan and the lack of heavy make-up.

So, whether my pregnancy is affecting my brain, or it is just the sudden realization of how much I have changed; I hereby make a pledge.

Once this baby-making business is over and done with, Scary promises that:

a)      She will own and wear some sexy super high heels. Even if she pays for it later with a bad back and sore feet. Even if she only wears them to her friends’ houses and  Tesco.
b)      She will stop eating until she looks at least almost as skinny as all those women in the photos.
c)      She will make effort to spend more time and money on herself, including some properly glamorous outfits. So what if she has nowhere to wear those; and if she did, most of her English friends would think she was a bit of a chushka? Can always blame the cultural differences, that’s what they are for.
d)     She will wear more make up and allow herself to show off some cleavage and legs. If those Iranian wives can get away with some very plunging necklines and not get stoned by their husbands, so can Scary in modern Britan, surely.

That, my friends, is the master plan. For now, however, I just bought some pretty pumps. For walking around while I still look like a whale. However! As part of this glamorization of my British wardrobe, I chose the ones with jewels and pretty satin bows. So there!

19 comments:

  1. If all that master plan is accomplished, good ol' Scary Azeri won't be "our" good ol' Scary Azeri anymore.
    Don't you think maybe all these girls wore all thoae beautiful outfits just because they knew there will be cameras? Or, maybe, they chose those pictures because they look as glamorous as you thought they are.

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  2. I totally sympathize with you! Actually I am an Iranian Azeri woman, but my mom was never "that type" of woman! so I never even learned how to dress up like that, and I wouldn't even care about them around me.

    Until I moved to the states and I found more people like me with just converse shoes and jeans and worn off shirts and no make up and stuff.

    However I still go to my friends facebook photos and just feel exactly as you did by looking at them! so I have started to make a change!

    I live in a suburb near San Francisco and no one would dress up that way here too, but at least in San Francisco I can see more women like that.

    I used to blame that kind of women accusing them of being showy and cheap and etc. however I would confess now that I no longer blame them and feel that "why not dressing glamorously if you can versus just looking the same pale and boring style everyday"

    I am an engineer and have a decent position and get so much respect at work for that, but none of them can beat the attention and respect I get from people when I dress up like that for a night out in the city!

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  3. @Gabriela: Well, this friend did explain that of course, she does not dress like that every day, and those were photos from big events, like a wedding etc. Man, can they pose, too! :)
    Oh, Gabriela. I promise you, I will never! look like that.

    @Carol: Some cultures pay more attention to the way you look. No, correction. ALL cultures pay attention to the way you look, however different styles tell different stories in different countries. In England, people know you have money without you needing to look flashy, but you must still wear expensive- yet subtle- styles. Should you try those clothes somewhere else, like Russia or Azerbaijan, people would think you are poor. :)

    But a bit of fancy glamor would not hurt British girls!

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  4. Personally, i think women should always look elegant. unfortunately, we can't or don't want to do it due to some reasons like lazyness, lack of time, money, etc.

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  5. "As Husband pointed out 'have you ever heard any man complain about boobs being fake?' "

    Husband has clearly never navigated to www.google.com, clicked "Images," entered "Chelsea Charms" into the search bar, and turned Safe Search off.

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  6. @Mark: Husband says "there is fake and there is comedy porn". :)

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  7. Hey) you're reading my mind! just to say that you will not be able to look like a Fancy Facebook Friend in Azerbaijan, that's for sure-;) and that's perfect, cuase you have a different life

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  8. So that "Bra' aint for burnin'" is this liberation or just more objectification? Joking aside the serious issue is that the whole schtick of the galmour and the sex appeal projected through it is that some women still feel the need to be approved of by men in ways that undermine themselves as women. Thus the notion that women of a certain age no longer have appeal to men, or that female beauty is not inherent, but a sexualised projection means that they bind themselves to a position where they can not be taken seriously. Is it a surprise that there are so few women chair(men) (joke not intended) leading large international companies and so few powerful women in politics and the arts...
    With sexual politics characterised by misogyny, and glamour as the foundation stone upon which sexual the sexual objectification of women is built, we should not be surprised that our daughters, who more often than not have much greater emtional and intellectual intelligence than there male counterparts, have less career opportunities.
    Perhaps the actual distinction between feminine beauty and glamour needs to be emphasised...

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  9. @James Stewart:

    Wow, that is some complicated stuff to digest!

    I don't ever think that women try to look glamorous or more beautiful just to be more sexually appealing to males. I in fact, think that women do it more for other women! We love shoes, we love beautiful clothes and handbags...None of it matters to most of men, really.

    Also, as a woman, I can assure you that to some of us, looks and appearances matter when it comes to men as much as for women. Why is it, as soon as a woman wears a nice dress and tries to look good it becomes a "sexual objectification"? What about men? I like to look at fit, well dress men who look after themselves. Is that sexual objectification, too? And if it is, that just means we are more equal than you think. :)

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  10. "Wow, that is some complicated stuff to digest!"

    Mark is skeptical of this complicated stuff. What's strange to me is that everyone downplays the importance of appearance and pooh-poohs the way women primp and preen. Why sneer at the way women glamorize themselves? Doesn't it make more sense to encourage men to look good, too? Why not allow this to be the ideal:

    http://tinyurl.com/4f8b45p

    Men who are more handsome than I am don't intimidate me. Fear of objectivication doesn't stop me keeping myself trim and well dressed. Why should it? When women turn their heads to look at me, or gay men sidle up and timorously ask me if I'm gay, I don't feel as though I'm being reduced to the status of an object; I'm flattered people noticed. Then I get to brag to my wife about it, and she beats me up and demands a back rub. Everyone is happy!

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  11. Not exactly right, but close. My tinyurl points to the wrong link somehow!

    It should be http://tinyurl.com/4efk29k

    Can you fix it?

    --Mark

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  12. @Mark: Wow, that is some serious sexual objectification there! hehehe. More, please.

    I can't fix the links inside comments. I have the code written down somewhere but I often get it wrong,too.

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  13. Wanting to look pretty/sexually appealing isn't something that's either wrong or right. It's natural, therefore it is. Don't let timebound norms that happen to be the ones of our time go against your natural instincts. I'm sure if cats could culturally evolve like us humans can they would at one point have a norm that eating fish is wrong, and all cats would go about pretending they don't like it!

    We know what to think of such cats ;)

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  14. Western women can use a bit of Azeri glamour and our women can use a bit of Western modesty :)

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  15. OK Scary:

    a) Tell your husband that, yes, you have met a men who complains about boobs being fake - when they are, they don't even look like boobs any more.

    b) Please don't get too thin - thin is ugly. (I know, I know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder - so this is just my eye I'm talking about.)

    c) I've nominated you for a stylish blog award - you can pick it up by copying the logo from my own latest blog.

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  16. James Stuart I second your words.

    Kaweh Wanting to look pretty/sexually appealing isn't something that's either wrong or right. It's natural, therefore it is. May be natural to most pple just like being hetero is natural to most pple but what about the Asexual community? IF you are not familiar with Asexuality as an orientation http://www.asexuality.org/home/ try typing this adress in. The only agenda I have is to learn somehting new every day and become more open and empathetic. That's it.

    And Azeri would you stop it with the sterotypcial if you are Middle Eastern you beat your wife jokes. Seriiously, it's getting old boring and demonizes noraml, non Bastard Laden supporting pple of the region including many of my friends. Thank you

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  17. Never knew of the existence of Asexuality, but I guess it must be a very small minority compared to (sexual?) people.

    Interesting though, I've always thought that the one rule regarding humans without exception would be their sex-drive.

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  18. @Anonymous: So happy you and Kaweh have found each other!

    As for my beating wives jokes I am sorry you are bored of, or uncomfortable with them. But I will continue to joke or talk about what I want. Such is the beauty of blogging- we can say whatever we fancy. I would respect your right to make boring jokes on your blog, if I ever come to read it. So...chill, please! Don't take it too seriously.

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