There is an interesting dialogue in my mandarin lesson book. it is entitled:
di shi liu ke ren kao ye shuang
you are what you wear.
It is a conversation between a western woman and a Chinese woman. the Chinese woman is saying that she has discovered that western women don't usually wear make up unless going out, because they don't work here and stay at home and look after kids so there is no need.
Western women dress casually, so when they go out they look like a different person. at these comments the western woman responds in surprise, could these statements be true? Surely she should mend her ways.
In contrast the dialogue goes on to talk about how Chinese women wear light makeup during the day so they look more vigorous. They always dress nicely and wear lots of lipstick because lipstick looks beautiful. When they do dress to go out they look fantastic and amazing.
Wow, i am feeling quite inadequate and frumpy after this. It is amazing how different cultures look at issues. in Brazil and Venezuela (especially Venezuela, where every women you pass is dressed to kill and utterly gorgeous) there was a lot of emphasis on looks and the women worked out, were constantly getting manicures, having hair appointments, surgical enhancements. Now here in Asia you can see some of the same issues. I found it funny when we went to Japan Disney that there were all these men and women walking around in suits and dresses with high heels. Not that i am opposed, because lets face it even an old barn looks better with a coat of paint. I just hate the judgement sounding part of it, because I have met amazing women from all over the world. the truth is we as women have so much more to offer than appearance. Everyone should strive to look good. Let's just not go to the the extreme with it and remember who we are should not be defined by how we look. Perfection will always be just out of reach.
information of the painting above: Zhou Fang's "Hue Shan Shi Nv Tu" ( court ladies wielding fans) represents the beauty of the women of the Tang Dynasty.
Just so you know I do not discount the cultural histories that have brought women of different cultures to where they are today.