Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Beautiful Inside & Out

She prefaces her account with a disclaimer that she knows she will be attacked for this. That, however, doesn't make it any less offensive. 

Her underlying message is that girls who are dating should dress/makeup/hair style themselves accordingly. For those who read my blog, it must be obvious that is something that I don't disagree with. Except my belief is that makeup is forever, not just for the dating years.
What really irritated me was the condescending tone, which came through despite her protestations that she does not want to be patronizing. In her view, all single girls are curled up by the phone, begging it to ring while her tatteleh sheinz is sitting pretty. After all, he is wonderful. 'Cause she said so. 

While it is true that profiles are demeaning, the alternative is positively mortifying. 

Hey guys, getting too many suggestions? Fax machine backed up? Can't get a straight word out of references? Then send your mother down to our Single Girl Emporium, where the significant lady in your life can pick out your wife! 

Disturbing? I thought so. 

Then she launches on a diatribe of how if so many girls are single they have only themselves to blame since they don't make themselves look appealing. 

I was going to cut her some slack since her interest in looks is the same as my background (my people are notorious for their obsession with aesthetics) but she really went too far. 

Besides for the fact that makeup does not equal married (I'm still single, aren't I?) she forgets the main point: your son will be marrying her. Not you. 

What you consider attractive and personable doesn't matter. Do I wish I could see more girls putting on mascara? You bet. Do I resist the urge to beg strangers "Why, why, are you wearing that"? Oh yes indeedy. Do I think, "If only she slapped on some face paint she would be married"? Uh, no. 

Mrs. Halberstam: welcome to America. Here, most find my makeup to be threatening. Here, they shop recreationally, not zealously. Here, they find a way to connect with someone's insides, not just the outsides. 

My proof? Because I'm the one still single while my classmates who never exfoliated in their life are married!

The story she uses as a viable reference is frightening. A woman had herself completely remade in a plastic surgeon's office, and she was getting married. Health and psychological issues aside (a man who wants a plastic doll for a spouse is normal?), how is this remotely religious? 

She brings up her own experiences as an ugly duckling. 
. . . nothing could ameliorate my self-consciousness, the terrible ache of knowing that I was not pleasing to the public eye.
Here she misses the point again. It wasn't about how men viewed her. She didn't feel good about herself. And when someone doesn't feel good about themselves, that is a factor in interpersonal relationships.

It was her lack of self-confidence that was throwing a wrench in her dating life, not her looks. When a vivacious person enters the room, the first thing I notice is her self-assurance, not her features. It was Halberstam's own insides holding her back, not her outsides.

She gives credit to her marriage to "trying." It wasn't that. It was because after she dressed up, she felt good, ergo her inner was allowed to shine instead of being muffled beneath self-doubt. 

While she references the Satmar Rebbe's tale that one should take pains, she also ignores yet another story. A bachelor came to the Steipler Rebbe (thanks to Shades of Gray for which rebbe it was), crying why Hashem never sent him his bashert. The rebbe snapped back, "Because you said her nose was too long, and she married someone else!" 

We are not the people who advocate extremes. We are not the people who can write off others saying, "No one will want you," ignoring the plans the Eibishter may have. Our men sing "Eishes Chayil" every Friday night as a reminder that beauty is nothing, it is a woman's character that is the allure. 

Mrs. Halberstam, bless her heart, believes she is in a special position. Honey, every European mother-in-law has been there. And I can safely say, that if you do not step aside, it will blow up in your face.  
'It's not you I have a problem with, Felton — it's your mother.' by Sizemore, Jim
Don't be surprised of one day your son fires you. I've gone out with more than one boy of European ancestry who has.


Anonymous said...

I read this article last night and found it just as ridiculous (and offensive) as you.
My take on it is that she is projecting her own feelings of inadequacy onto others.
Also "the lady doth protest too much"--if she was so horrified at the idea of this convention for mothers to handpick possible shidduch candidates, she didn't need to go. Once she did go, at least don't put down the girls--extremely poor taste to say the least.

Chanalesings said...

Amen sister!

Ging said...

I'm actually appalled at this article.

I am one of those girls you've probably thought to yourself "MASCARA!!!!! WEAR MASCARA!!!" Because the truth is, I rarely wear makeup. When I do, I feel pretty, and when I don't, I feel like myself. I don't particularly care one way or another.

soferet dugri said...

Bravo! And as we also say in Eishes Chayil: "Piah pascha b'chachmah!" This post truly embodies that :)

Nechama said...

Oooh, Bravo! Thank you for advocating INSIDE. And if anyone can say it, you, with all your posts on fashion make-up... can.