When I moved back to Los Angeles (from a two residency in New York City) a couple of weeks back, I noticed something off, a little strange about my environment.
White men were not only staring at me, but they were hitting on me. My first reaction was one of alarm: SHIT I must be getting too skinny. I know I have been losing weight, but maybe I’m losing a little too much weight. Considering my unorthodox by LA-industry standards appearance, White guys HARDLY ever hit on me, and especially the ones in LA who prefer either anorexia-case study (the mary-kate olsens of this world) and un-bio-degradable (the pamela andersons of this world) females.* When not only white men, but white couples hit on me, this was always a key indicator for me that my trademark thickness was rapidly melting away.
So, this was my first diagnosis.
One day, while watching E!’s hit reality show Keeping up with the Kardashians, my 16 year old sister (who PB is not allowed to hit on) confided something to me: “You know what’s crazy, now that this show is popular everyone starts to tell me that I look like her sisters.” This reminded me of bizarre comments I had been hearing more frequently in the last couple of weeks. Random people off the street told me that I had the “Kim Kardashian” look (who I look nothing like). Even my sister’s feeble attempts to rationalize such a far-fetched claim proved unconvincing: “well wait, you do kinda look like her, if your eyebrows were thicker, if you had bigger eyes, bigger lips and styled your hair like hers.” It became apparent that they looked at us like a slice of Grade-A(rmenian) meat. Nothing sort of a bonding moment for sisters 10 years apart-people thinking that because we have black/dark brown hair/almond eyes/hips/curves/curly hair/olive skin that we looked “just like” them.
It occurred to me that TV was training average Americans to expand their conventionally narrow standards of beauty to include the Middle Eastern “Look.” Is this a good or bad thing? Has Kim Kardashian single-handedly made middle eastern woman that much more desirable? What do common people seem to think of this women and this conjoined, linked phenomenon? Cyber-jabbers sound off on this issue:
On the US magazine comments section of the story “BREAKING NEWS: Kim Kardashian to Sue Over Sex Tape Release
THURSDAY FEBRUARY 8, 2007,” story commenter, iranian american girl, had this to say about the effect of Kardashian’s popularity on Middle Eastern populations in the United States:
I am also one of the few Middle Eastern people who is appalled at the fact that many Middle Eastern girls are acting like low-class trash to get attention or to attain celebrity status. Armenians have theirs: Kim Kardashian and we have ours which is unfortunate: Aylar Dianati. Look at the striking resemblences of these two women. Pitch black hair, dark skin, short in stature, fake plastic boobs, and of course, hideous without makeup….the West uses these as examples of Middle Eastern beauty. Quite sickening!!!!!!! For those who don’t know any better, I would like to say that we have real beauty in Armenian and Iranian societies and these women are not in that category.”
In the comment section of a Myspace discussion on things that are “UN-DER-RATED” in the world of professional sports, as most message board conversations diverge, this one did, after “Aus (((HERBAL INSANITY)))” placed “Kim Kardashian’s ass” onto a list that included the likes of Wilt Chamberlain, Mark Sanchez, and Kobe Bryant. Scott from Oregon responds to Aus’s addition by making a more general claim:
“Good call on middle eastern women, there isnt enough appreciation and recognition of the beauty of the females of that geographic region. Theres a persian and Saudi girl in my immunology class that are recklessly gorgeous. I dont think people recognize how fucking hot alot of these chicks are because of their burkas.
I want to add South Asian women to the list of the underated and underappreciaited. Particulalrly the ladies of India and Sri Lanka.?
However, for as much as Scott seems to fetishize Middle Eastern/South Asian women, he considers “that chick [Kim Kardashian] and her sisters some of the ugliest humans in Southern California.” Adding that,, he can’t ”overlook the garbage and verbal vomit that regularly comes out of their mouths. It makes them ugly IMO.”
* You can also add andrognyous looking women to that list. Don’t try to dispute this claim. I know I’m not a white los angeleno male, but this is beyond true given the industry’s standard of beauty for both men and women-stick-skinny, shaggy-haired, head-to-toe vintage-clad (scarves a must) boho chic rocker types. Case in point: olsen twins, orlando bloom, paris hilton, zac efron, ellen degeneres, etcFiled Under arab-americans, celebrity, Maytha, pop culture, women