Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
How much of what Izzy relates here is culture-specific to the US? Or to the white English-speaking world?

We have had discussions about different attitudes on either side of the atlantic to heels, for instance. There may be in Europe a functional equivalent to Birkenstocks are for lesbians but it doesn't relate specifically to Birkenstocks. There are famous differences in approach to body hair (is it acceptable for a woman to not shave her armpits? In some countries waxing is the standard practise, whereas the cultural implications attached to waxing in the US are rather peculiar), body odour, showering in the morning or the evening, visible underwear (on the bra issue - it might be advantageous for an American woman if her bra is noticeable under her clothes because then nobody at work will wonder whether she's one of those braless sluts, whereas in Europe it is mostly considered tasteless if the bra straps or elastic shows - and I think the "bra-less = slutty" meme is much less strong over here). And so on.

Plus, in some countries what underwear shopping tells some women is that their boobs are too big. You might find it easier to find A-cups in Spain.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 06:20:49 AM EST
I just wanted to comment on the culture-specific aspect.

In just about the entire former Eastern Bloc, many if not most women beyond a certain age (let's say 30) will give up caring about their appearance. Meaning primarily waistline, but hairdo and makeup, even if applied, won't be done with much care. (I don't know what underwear goes with this...) With increasing waistline can come increasing self-assertion. What's behind this? A common explanation is being over-worked and exhausted of child-rearing. My theory however is that it is all about men, and is a crude form of half-emancipation: women will give up caring about their appearance once they got completely disillusioned with their useless husbands and men in general, and will look for self-fulfillment in their jobs, in power over other people in their jobs (also as bureaucrats confronting customers), in their children (and in cooking and food).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 08:18:35 AM EST
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