May 15, 2010

American women, lazy in appearance?

Let's start a discussion...

I was in Russia for most of the first part of this year. Russia – as in the country. Eastern Russia. Not glamorous Moscow or the picturesque St. Petersburg. Siberia. The very very cold – Siberia.

Over the past 6 years, I have spent a considerable amount of time in Irkutsk, Russia. I am a little scared to add up all the time I’ve spent there, but it is about 6 months total.

One thing that always amazes me about this country is the women. They are beautiful. The women always seem to be going somewhere. They are dressed to the 9’s, in the highest high heels you’ve ever seen. They all are wearing a full face of makeup, and all have their hair done perfectly.

This seems such a contrast to what I have lived and observed in over 40 years in the United States. During a typical stop-in at the grocery store in the US, I am likey to see most women not done-up. Truth be told, the ones that are dressed, with makeup and hair done look strangely out of place.

The contrast between women in Russia and women in the US is interesting to me.

I read an article that said the women outnumber the men in Russia 2-1.

The competition among Russian women is fierce. Russian women are smart, powerful, successful and educated. In order to get ahead, to find a husband or even to feel successful…the women in Russia take their appearance very VERY seriously.

Things in Russia are very expensive. Cosmetics, clothing – everything is pricey. The average monthly salary in Russia is about $400 - $600 (

When I was in Russia, of course I shopped. Most of the jackets I saw this year were about $150-$200. Boots were averaged $150. Hairspray $45. Contact Solution $30. I didn’t see any ‘deals’.

Russian women may only have 3-4 different outfits. It is very typical to see a Russian women wearing the same outfit for several days in a row – simply because she doesn’t have variety in her closet. She can’t afford it. It took a month’s salary for her to purchase the one outfit she wears to work. Another month’s salary to purchase her winter coat; and yet another month’s salary to purchase boots.

Can you imagine that?

What if your appearance was THAT important? What if our culture dictated that we wear 3” heels every day to walk down the street?

What do you think? Why do you think women in (seemingly) every other part of the world take their appearance so seriously?

1 comment:

MJ said...

I would hesitate in calling it lazy, however I would say there may be a prevalence of overuse of 'casual'. Casual seems to be everywhere and though a nice fitting pair of slacks can be just as comfortable as a pair of gym pants with oversized logos on it - the former is not utilized.

So sad.