Sunday, 12 August 2012

The Way We Are

I have yet to conquer the art of wearing make-up in 30°C and 70% humidity weather. I see girls around me able to, but I think it is an impossible feat without having it melt and making you look more like The Scream then a supermodel.

This being said I offer a few pointers on what to use when traveling in tropical climates.

1) Sunscreen is the new body lotion; apply liberally and as often as 3 times a day.

2) Bug spray is the new perfume, it’s best to use at night much in the same spots where you would dab perfume. Instead of a sweet smelling fragrance you will get the slightly acrylic smell of insect repellent. If this bothers you, go a couple nights without it and we will see how fast your mind will change.

3) Go with the natural look. This will not only save you the embarrassment of spotted make-up but it’s healthier for your skin. Also the local population has enough reason to stare at you as you are being a foreigner.

I personally like the change of routine but it’s not for everyone. From what I can see the woman here really like to stand out, which isn’t so surprising in a country where 98% of its population is "Taiwanese”. What is surprisingly popular is the use of colored contact for fashion purposes. The colours range from natural browns, and greens, to eye-popping blues and violets.

My first thought on this trend was it was creepy and too Hunger Games-esk for my liking. The over emphasis on an unnatural appearance and doe-eyes was a bit much to handle. Coloured eye contacts is a phenomena for girls and guys alike here, and the only good I can see coming out from it is perhaps more ophthalmologists.
My view now is less harsh but I still find it strange, how far will society go for vanity’s sake?  It reminds me of high school where I knew two friend, one who had brown eyes and one who had green, and they wore each other’s natural eye color as contacts because they thought it was better looking than their own. The pressure is mainly on woman but it is felt by guys as well.

 Also you can only blame society so much since it is a collection of its people. As individuals we have the choice to decide what to wear and decorate out our bodies with (except small children, they answer to the whims of their parent). I don’t think it could be over emphasized enough how much young girls look up to their mothers or other females as role models. The desire to be beautiful comes from what we define beauty as. If we are solely taught that it depends on outward appearance then no wonder as a culture we are obsessed with make-up and fashion. Every culture and sub-cultures have their own bar to measure what is “good” or “bad”.

Take my curly hair for instance, how many people of African descent actually wear their hair naturally? Not enough in my opinion. Some would say that I am an anomaly because I have “good” hair but that is entirely subjective. The reason I wear my hair naturally, among many, is because I had the good fortune to be raised in a family that told me my hair was wonderful from a young age. I grew up in a small community where no-one else had the same hair as me. Realistically the pendulum could have swung both ways, and I could have hated my hair since it made me stand-out and be different from others. But I never did dislike my hair with a vengeance, that I feel some have towards their own, because I can see the beauty within the tangles knots and frizziness.

Why did I shave my hair off then if I loved it so much? Other than trying to channel my inner Joe from Little Women, and also seeing how much of my identity was caught up in having my hair distinguish me as a person, I did it for a change, the ultimate reason for doing anything of drastic measures. 

In the end the most common reason women and men alter their appearance is because they want a change and to try something new. It is a relatively harmless decision, and now that I think of it, I may be the only one who gives serious thought to the societal implications of artificially changing the natural state of my tresses.I hope this is not completely true though, and that others every once in a while will take a few minutes to look at the underlying reason for not wanting to be the way they are.  

1 comment:

  1. Oh Miss Berekti! How I miss thee! Speaking of hair I remember way back when, and your hair was in braids and I was babysitting and you begged me to take out the braids, and do something with your hair... and so I thought this is an easy task, and I took out the braid... little did I know what an unmanageable task it was at the time! I think your mom was ready to throttle me that day! Love you!