Saturday, August 05, 2006

Women: Lebanon Factor

No. This post is not about Middle East crisis.

The other day, me and a Lebanese colleague of mine, M, had gone to the mall to watch Pirates of Caribbean. Looking at the varoius Kuwaiti women thronging the mall, he commmented that, "Kuwaiti women walk differently, talk differently, dress differently and wear makeup differently".

In Kuwait, the local women/girls dress accross the spectrum from the all enveloping Burqa to tank tops and short pants. Its unlike Saudi Arabia where publicly everyone is in Burqa or Dubai where locals are usually in Burqa or modest dresses and foreigners in various levels of dress-less-ness.

This post is not to discuss their dress sense. It is to discuss their styling/make-up. Kuwaiti women are naturally fair, yet they still put on a heavy foundation to appear fairer. As you can't get whiter than white, the heavy makeup is there just for makup's sake. Otherwise, it does not make them any fairer.

In Pakistan, among well-off classes, the colour of the skin does not matter. I have seen women perfectly comfortable with their wheatish or dark complexion because they know that at the end of the day, what counts is their brain or... money and not their colour. I am not saying that they don't put on makeup, just that they don't try to hide or cover up their complexion. Whether this has something to do with stardom of wheatish models such as Iraj, Vaneeza, Sumita, Tooba ... I can't say.

M said to me that its because of Lebanese women. Kuwaiti women suffer from an inferiority complex i.e., they believe that Lebanese women are very attractive and try to become like them by colouring their face, dyeing their hair, and using very heavy makeup followed by very heavy eye liners. He told me that fashion and makeup form a significant part of Lebanese economy and the only reason for that is women from other Gulf countries want to be like Lebanese women.

He told me that all the ladies hair stylists in Kuwait are Lebanese and charge very highly for their services. Women pay an average of USD500 for wedding makeup. I told him that wedding makeup is expensive even in Pakistan. He countered that it must be for the bride. This is just for the wedding attendees. (I dont know maybe the prices are similar in Pakistan because its been a long time since I drove anyone to a beauty parlour).

I don't mind them paying high prices for makeup. But after paying this much, one should look attractive and stylish not like women you see in Muree hailing for poor villages of Punjab who had whitened thier faces by what appears like limestone or chalk. Had Kuwaitis been poor (read illiterate), it would have been understandable. However, they are amongst richest people and are already fair.

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