|Luisana Lopilato @ Ele Multiespacio (Photo credit: Bruno Belcastro)|
While spending time at the house of my friend on New Years day, an interesting conversation burst forth about weight, clothes, and what beauty means in different cultures. My friend was born with dark hair, and like me she has a belly, a bust, and a roundish face. She is the farthest thing from the stereotyped idea of what Argentine women look like.
And she has the same problem as me here in this culture buying clothing is a nightmare for her. Most clothing shops have clothes for sizes 2-6. Recently the gov't passed a law saying that all clothing shops are supposed to carry a variety of sizes. But walking into any one of those clothing shops and you'll realize that the law and its impact is one big joke. Katie Alley of Seashells and Sunflowers tackles this subject on this article she wrote on her blog: On Being Fat in Argentina
Every culture has its own inner belief system that the people aren't conscious of until it is brought to light. For example, this friend of mine whom I had given a gift of an ipod touch 4 generation, while I was in england visiting in November I suddenly had the impulse to get her a new one. A 5th generation ipod touch with 32 GB. I curbed that impulse but it took me a moment to realize why I felt this way. Because there is a way of thinking inside of me that stems from north american culture that says "Bigger is Better". In reality my friend is perfectly happy with the ipod touch she has and a new apple model wouldn't make a difference in her happiness.
In the Argentine culture, beauty is considered to be tall, thin, and blond like Michael Buble's Argentine model wife Luisana Lopilato. If you read the article above by Katie Alley, you'll understand that there is an obsession with getting work done on the body here in the culture. In all my time here, I've never once heard the word "inner beauty" in spanish. In fact, I had to look it up online to learn how to say it because it's never been used in a conversation.
Beauty is different in every culture. For example, I am a fair skinned Asian. In Asia, this quality is desirable. Light skinned girls with a more "american" or "european" look are all the rage and asian girls will sometimes do what they can to lighten their skin to get that look. So among Asians, I do have traits that are considered beautiful.
This friend of mine, Majo may have italian in her blood. She was adopted so it is quite possible. If she were to go to Italy, she would blend in perfectly with the dark hair, dark eyes, roundish figure with a belly and a bust. Her figure is somewhat like the singer Adele. Other cultures in the world might take one look at her an in their eyes she's got what they considered beauty.
Expat Daniel Tunnard wrote a hilarious article on what vacationing means to Argentines. To sum it up, for many Argentines it means going to the same place every year, with the same culture and language where the women lie on the beach all day long with high hopes that the sun will roast them to a crisp....
What to Expect When You are Expecting a Holiday in Argentina
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