You’re So Vain!

You will be surprised, but yes, we all make judgemental statements about each other … Whatever sex, colour, nationality, race and age group you consider yourself to be in, we often question things about others and make comments about them. An appreciation for beauty is universal but it is also a matter of interpretation, everyone appreciates beauty in different ways.

Here are some thoughts about multicultural aspects in the world of fashion and beauty.

Some time back, my brother-in-law was on holiday in Malta when I noticed that he was about to leave the house in flip flops and socks. When I told him that he really had to remove his socks, he glared at me and said, “Do you mean that I should leave the house with no socks?” His comment widened my already very liberal ideas about transcultural disapproval our society harbours when it comes to costumes of choice of people who come from different cultures.

Why should we question what parts of the body some people choose or are culturally inclined to cover? Due to the cold, northerners cover their toes every day of the year. It is not perhaps obligatory to do so, but they do. And they do not question it. They also, in fact, cover their heads for most months of the year. Visit Sweden or Russia in winter and look around … And yet, we seem to find it odd that in some cultures, people cover their heads all year round.

What is interesting though, is that under those scarves and under those socks of most persons in various cultures, I have often noticed and experienced through my work that hair and toes respectively are far better cared for than most of those which are ‘proudly’ left bare for all to see. So do we criticise such customs because we are afraid of something different to what we are used to and are unable to see the broader picture?

Recently, an acquaintance of mine with a growing bald patch remarked disparagingly about how silly and ‘vain’ my clients must be to revert to me with issues involving signs of aging. I wondered how to answer this, while looking at the hard gel keeping his borrowed hair in place. Some of us seem to be so caught up in our own little world that we fail to see these insecurities. I think it is important to note that people possess different levels of ‘a pride of being’ and how we look after ourselves is very different across the board, and yet, universally present. Our version of a good looking, confident self is different.

Over the years, we also change our outlook about our appearance in line with current trends, as well as in reaction to weight fluctuations, environmental and cultural impacts and of course, due to physical aging which changes the way our body looks.

One thing always remains. It is ok to want to look good. And it is ok to want to do something about this. So before judging another person, I think it is important to realise that beauty is relative, but that it is an important aspect in our lives whatever our culture and wherever we are from.