Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Vanity Insanity

I’ve made a comment that most women here are pretty thin. The Boyfriend commented a week after we arrived in Vietnam that he could understand how a woman would feel pressure to be thin here. He thought that there is a level of vanity that drives the women to want to be thin. I had thought that it was a matter of nutrition. Someone growing up here would not have all of the nutrients and calories available to someone growing up in the Western world, like myself. There isn’t as much junk food available here either, although I think that is changing.

However, I have noticed that there is an emphasis on physical looks. When people meet me, the first thing that is said (not to flatter myself…) is that I’m pretty cute. I’m not sure if this would be the case back home (or maybe people don’t think I’m cute?!). My cousin’s said “Obviously she’s cute, she’s from a cold country!”, as if that’s obvious. They’ll even ask “Is your sister as cute as you?” and not “Is she as smart/nice/successful?” - or any other adjective that would be just as important. (And in case anyone is wondering, my sister is not as cute... just kidding!)

My Vietnamese teacher also has commented about looks: how I would look nice with makeup on and how The Boyfriend is han dsome. Then she mentioned she thought girls from the West are very cute from a young age to the twenties; however, it seemed to her that as they grow old, they get bigger. And that is why she finds occidental men more attractive than women. I tried to explain to her that it wasn’t the case and women try more and more to take good care of themselves.

I’ve also noticed a few businesses advertising plastic surgery very openly. There’s actually one just down the street from where we live. Maybe I’m just not familiar with this topic, but it doesn’t seem that we’re as open about it. I’ve never noticed a plastic surgery clinic back home and people hide the fact that they have had plastic surgery. Plastic surgery seems pretty common here; I think one part because it’s much cheaper. Some people will even go back to Vietnam to get surgery. What I don’t like is Asian people trying to look occidental. What’s wrong with looking like yourself?

Needless to say, this is a complicated subject and hopefully, as I meet more people, I’ll get a better understanding of it. Meanwhile, I have to go to the gym so I can fit into the small clothes here!

This is right by our place, next to the nuoc mia (Sugarcane Juice) Lady that I love.


Linda said...

That's right Sis NOT AS cute.... CUTER!

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