If one thing that traveling has taught me, its how different cultures are all over the world. You learn new ones and most times you arrive at the realization that what you grew up knowing is different from whats it’s actually out there. Especially if you grew up somewhere in a tiny west African country like I did.
It’s a whole life out here and once you realize that things are completely different, you either learn or stick to what you knew growing up. That to say, depending on what needs changing. And trust me, I have changed a few of the things I grew up knowing .One of such things are certain standards of beauty.
Back home some of our standards of beauty are completely different compared to the western ones so are our views on some things.
One standard of beauty is how a skinny person is attributed to being sick and people are body shamed for being skinny. Absurd right? Normally most of them are referred to as toothpicks and those who cant handle the name calling resort to taking medications which enable them to be thicker and more presentable according to the average Ghanaian standards of beauty. Looking back now and all the things i have learnt through my exposure to the western world its pretty funny.
I for one haven’t been a skinny person, always the thick girl so didn’t have to go through the ordeals of taking medications to increase my fat hormones. Its pretty funny that back home being thick is interpreted as someone doing well in life. There are some pretty much ridiculous standards of beauty that i use to abide to back home but now i look at it with disgust and ask myself if i really did that, more reason i stick out as a sour thumb when i visit.
Another ridiculous assumption is where the wearing of prescription glasses has a stereotype. Back home its believed to being worn by rich kids and those who have been influenced with living outside the borders of Ghana and into the western world. Dont get me wrong, its not like people dont have eye problems, they really do and i will say for myself. i have had astigmatism since an ointment poured on my eyes ( a story for another day) when i was just 3 months old. i remember one time when a British NGO offered a free eye screening and i was prescribed glasses. mom said it was for rich kids…so i had to live with my bad vision growing up till i was old enough to work and get my own pair of glasses, girl, i really needed it and the straining if my eyes gave me severe migraines.
Then it goes down to braces. frankly i have never met an average Ghanaian with braces .Why will i even think of braces when kids are not even sent to dentist for checkups except when there is a severe tooth pain which the local herbs cant heal. Dentists in Ghana are pretty poor. I actually visited my first ever dentist in Dubai and the doctor was surprised i had good set of teeth which could open up crowns of drinks when i have never visited a dentist all the twenty something years of my life. I owe that to the chewing sticks and the charcoal with peels of plantain(secret formula). Back to the braces,a friend and i made a trip to Ghana and we were obviously we were the topic of discussion for locals. my pair of glasses and my friend braces. but man did she get some comments from people who thought we didn’t understand the local dialect…weird right but its my Ghana.
there are thousands of stories i could write about this experiences but i am just writing about my embarrassing situation.i am going to be completely honest, so wait it out and dont shame me on the following revelations..lol.
I had never shaved my legs ever in the past.oops gross right? its not that i got really hairy legs or something but i leant still a lady gotta shave her legs. back home i remember how my mum use to mock me about my legs being nearly hairless. thing is in my little country hairy legs are considered beautiful and a plus for a lady. wait wait dont freak or gross out, you most definitely may be thinking’s how hairy some Ghanaian ladies legs are.
well most definitely some are and maybe the youth who are being exposed to the western culture might be shaving their legs now but for me, i started shaving it after my German gay friend told me how gross it was and how it was necessary for a lady to have shaved legs. gotta trust the gays to give you all the best beauty tips.
you might have imagined how embarrassed i was when he told me and i really felt like a cave woman. My mind kept flashing back to how i wore shorts and mini skirts parading in my hairy legs thinking it pretty. But a girl didnt know and now she shaves it daily.too much but just in case.
This eye opening revelations led me to want to know more about what is it i was doing wrong in view of the world outside the country i grew up in and you could imagine all those things i found out i was doing so wrong. But hey it is what it is and life has taught me that we learn along the way. Different cultures..different people.
What is your country standard of beauty? did you change to adapt? Any western beauty tips for me?
Let me know in comments down below.