Friday, September 12, 2008

What is feminine?

The last time my hair cut, two porteñas came in when I was just about done, and complimented my haircut (a short bob with bangs.) They said how courageous I was for cutting it short. (And it's a bob- it's not that short.) Why not do the same? I asked. They were afraid it would look unfeminine.

This made me reflect on any differences the perception of femininity between Argentina and the United States. Here are some generalities:

Things considered feminine:

  • Long hair. Below the shoulders. Even the president has long hair.
  • Lots of make-up. Generally, a lot of made up faces here would be considered tacky in the U.S. (At least in the nature-loving areas of California I am used to. Maybe Argentines would fit right in in Dallas...)
  • Revealing shoulders. I see a lot of strapless tops, even on television hosts.
  • Big lips. This is usually considered feminine universally, but here, the plastic surgery is generally unnatural.
Things NOT considered feminine:

  • Sweating at the gym. Seriously, women chat and read magaznes while they are on the eliptical machines, and they lift weights less than five pounds.
  • Drinking. Women don't drink much- and if they do, it has to be a glass of wine or a fruity cocktail- no martinis or whiskey sours. Some of the younger ones drink beer.
Of course there are a myriad number of other differences about being a woman here: despite the fact that there is a woman in the presidential office, the roles women have in society are about thirty years behind the United States. But that is another post.

Think I'll go to the gym with my short haircut, no makeup, sweat a lot, and prove that it doesn't make me manly.

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