Yesterday, I spent three painful hours on a laser hair removal appointment at the local clinic. Through the burning sensation, the irritated skin and the gushes of cold air, I realised that women have to endure so much! Forget all the cultural baggage and the social issues and let's focus on how much physical pain Saudi ladies -all ladies worldwide in fact- need to go through to be "pretty." Saudi is no different from the UK, the US and the rest of the countries, where the majority have the weirdest sense of beauty. Saudi ladies are undergoing lots of media pressure as well. I think impossible beauty standards are a universal problem. Most people here -men and women- are obsessed with Kim Kardashian, Haifa Wehbe, Nancy Ajram, Myriam Fares and few others and their hard to achieve physique.
You might think Saudi women are just covered and are not concerned about any of that, but you are mistaken. The covering part is only outside when the ladies are on the streets, but indoors, where non related men are not present, those ladies wear whatever they please. A Saudi woman wants to look fabulous for herself first and for most then she wants to impress her friends, relatives and future suiters like every other girl in the world.
There is a pressure for a certain type of body like the ones above, skinny with a flat tummy and curves all at the same time, skin that is flawless, hairless, soft as baby's butt and a long luscious *preferably* straight hair. Not to mention the face's features as well, where a small, skinny nose, high cheekbones and full lips are preferred. You see how hard women have it. Obviously not everyone can achieve all of that, so everyone here has gone for the hairless smooth skin, straight hair, contoured face option and even then it is still hard. Wanting to be pretty is every girl's dream including Saudi girls.
It's a whole package that women want to achieve because that is what the media feed them. I am not above it all and I am as pressured by the media as anyone else. There was a time of my life where I was in complete content with everything I was, but everyone around me at that time saw differently. Sometimes people think they are being helpful when they make comments on someone's hair and body. It didn't take me long to go to that insecure place that I am trying so hard to take myself out of.
Of course having a wonderful personality and other good characteristics is crucial, but having the look helps the confidence go a long way. Hopefully, we will be able to focus on the inner beauty as much as we care about the outer.