Thursday, October 07, 2004

Women Here VS Women There

You hear so much (mainly from citizens of the United States) about how we are the greatest country in the world. Things here are 100 times better then in many parts of the world. But sometimes you wonder if we really are.

Every once in a while when I can't sleep at night, I'll get up and watch Oprah at 12:30. Last night was such a night. I love it when she does a show that lets the viewer take a peek into how people in other countries live. This particular episode took a look at how a 30 year old woman in 17 various countries live compared to their American counterparts. What I learned was interesting.

In Kuwait, which is the only democracy in the Middle East, a 30 year old woman is usually married.....but to her cousin. Families do this to keep their blood within their family. I was sort of taken aback by this, but the woman said that in the Middle East it's not looked down upon. Not only that, but to encourage marriage all newlyweds receive a $12,000 gift which consists of $6000 directly from the King plus a $6000 interest free loan. There is literally no people living in poverty in Kuwait due to that country being rich in oil and most people have a fleet of luxury cars. The state provides ALL health care free of charge and also pays for ALL education costs up to the college level. At the college level, the graduation rate is 64% female and 36% male. The only thing women can't do is vote. Oh....all citizens also do NOT pay any income tax.

In France, women generally will not be overweight. Only 32% are overweight compared to 64% of American women. But 1 in 3 smoke and on average each drinks 17 gallons of wine a year. The government, again, pays for ALL health care for it's citizens and enforces a 35-hour work week with a mandatory 5-weeks of paid vacation a year. Uncanny!

In Brazil, if you are a 30 year old woman you will most likely spend most of your time in a thong at the beach. Plastic surgery is rampant there with butt implants being the most requested procedure.

In South Korea, plastic surgery is out of control for women in their early 30's. Many are undergoing a procedure to make their eyes more round to look more Western. They spend 3 times the average monthly salary of $1500-2000 on enhancements to their eyes, their nose, and a painful calf muscle shaving procedure to make their legs appear thinner.

In Mexico, women generally DO NOT work out or diet. This is because the men prefer their women with curves. Also, women tend to always look their best in body fitting dresses and heels. One bad thing is the rate of infidelity of men. In Mexico, if a couple wants a divorce and the husband can prove that the wife didn't fulfill her sexual duties (which is quite easy to prove) she forfeits any allimony for life. Therefore most women expect their husbands to cheat.

In Cuba, the government pays for all health care for it's citizens. The cost to get a divorce is $3.50 and usually takes no more than 5 minutes. If both parties agree to it, then a notary public can authorize it. The average monthly income is $23 and most live in poor conditions. A woman of 30 also, on average, will have had 3 abortions by the time she reaches that age.

In Rwanda, a 30 year old woman is lucky to be just that.....a woman who is 30. Most were butchered in the slaughter that took place there a decade ago.

Oprah had a woman from some of the countries she featured on the show and asked them the same question: what was their perception of American women?? They all said that the perception they have of American women is overweight, pushy, constantly on the go, and they do not take time out to just relax.

I always find it interesting the perception that people in other parts of the world have of us. Sometimes it makes you step back and do the same.


At 10:50 PM, Blogger CR said...

I love Oprah!!! It is great that we are able to see what other people live like in other parts of the world. I saw the same episode but what saddened me the most was the journalist from Bagdad. She was 30, like all of the othe women on the show, but she talked about how everyone in Iraq uses Valium (sp). A bottle of valium cost 25 cents.....that is right 25 cents. A lot of people in Iraq use valium to "get away" from the curent conditions they are all faced with. No electricity, unsafe living conditions, etc. I was very deeply saddened, it makes me want to stop complaining about my life and just enjoy it.

At 4:09 AM, Blogger seyd said...

I hardly ever watch Oprah, but I did happen to see this episode, only the segment with the Kuwaiti woman. I still think it's messed up to marry within your family, it's really not a matter of being looked down upon or not, isn't it scientifically proven to be bad for you? The smaller the gene pool... Anyways, as always, you're a good read. BTW, I think I need to get on valium, Iraq here I go!!!!

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