Mernissi, F. (2001). Size 6: The Western Women’s Harem.
This article discusses the differences between femininity in the West and in the Middle East. The writer discusses the beauty of women from both perspectives with a light sarcastic tone. She begins the article by telling her readers of a rather unpleasant experience she faced when she went shopping at an American clothing store. She was told by the sales-lady that she was too big for a size six skirt. She was also told that there were other stores that sold clothes that were her size. She was very humiliated by the experience and began to understand the cultural differences between her culture and the American culture. She notes that the men in America design the clothes that women should wear. Those women who can fit into the tight clothes (those who are size six) are considered to be the most beautiful women in the country. The men decide what a woman should look like in order to be described as beautiful by the men. The women bend over backwards in order to achieve the stereotype of beauty created by men in the country. She compares this scenario to her own experiences in her country of origin. She notes that the men in her home country only require the woman to wear a veil. They do not dictate anything else about a woman’s dressing. They do not require a woman to starve herself in order to fit into a size six piece of clothing. She notes how depressing it must be for the American woman to constantly feel she needs to be thin in order to feel beautiful or look beautiful in the eyes of the American society. She even sympathizes with the Western woman because the latter cannot truly protest the stereotype when no one believes there is anything to change.