Beautiful: The Western Harem

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Growing up in the West within an extremely conservative old fashioned family the idea of beautiful was no secret. My grandfather whom I have always had the most wonderful relationship with also had a few flaws. My grandfathers standard of beauty for woman was no secret and must be met. As young granddaughters my sisters and I were taught table manners and told to wear certain clothing if we wanted to be present at family gatherings. My grandpa does not believe any woman should go out in public without wearing makeup and their hair being done. Due to my grandfather being  the only male figure in my life I was always looking up to him and seeking his approval. As I grew older the Western Harem entrapped me into the deep hole. The idea of a size 6 harem is no joke. Skinny, make up, and hair equal beauty. This idea of beauty was challenged after reading Scharazade goes West and experiencing beauty in a whole new light being in Morocco. My idea of beauty was blinded and wrong. Beautiful appeared to me when I was side by side next to these girls in the hammam and being extremely self-conscious then having a realization of beauty. Beauty is not what size of clothing you are but who you are on the inside. I saw beautiful woman around me and through all of our discomfort we created a bond. I was able to leave the hammam no longer being ashamed of my body but proud and confident. I was able to look in the mirror and tell myself I was beautiful completely stripped of cosmetics and entanglement of what beauty is. This culture within Morocco of the idea of inner beauty has touched me and changed who I am. It has been the most attractive refreshing portion of this trip that I truly enjoy. The western harem is wrong and I finally am confident in being normal.

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