I was out of inspiration to write for some time now, and that was only due to; work stress, personal life stress, and other commitments. Thankfully this state didn’t last long since an incident that happened yesterday evening was more than enough to get me blogging again. Little did I know that I was going to find my inspiration in the Mall, a spot which certainly isn’t a favorite city hangout for me.
As a believer in women’s rights, , and equality between genders for education, I used to remain silent when people bash some of the women we come across in life, but today the silence is broken. One trip to the mall made me realize that we do live amongst a particularly interesting breed of women, known as the “Mean Girls”.
This realization hit me, when I went on rather an annoying mission to buy a new pair of jeans. I call it an annoying mission because I am not a fan of the shops in general and jeans shopping in particular. The truth is that I hate dealing with the female shop keepers who won’t help you unless you walk into their store with an attitude, or those other shopkeepers who believe you have to thank them because they are allowing you to enter their store. But shopping for jeans is even worse than the normal shopping spree because these mean female shopkeepers also add two more assumptions to their interesting list of traits. The first assumption they make is that everyone should want to buy skinny jeans because they are in fashion, and the second is that everyone shouldn’t ask for anything that isn’t low waste.
Yesterday and to their bad luck, I wanted none of the above, so after hearing my request for normal waste bootleg jeans, more than one of these mean girls in the shops looked at me in horror before telling me in a harsh tone “Everyone wants skinny jeans, bootlegs are out of fashion” , a statement that made me wonder if I was from another planet. Now if these two assumptions didn’t prevail the mean girls of the shops add two more to the list. The first one is that I should be 150cm tall only, and the second is that I should not weigh more than 40kg., and again I am none of the above. So, usually the “polite” female shopkeeper would tell me in all seriousness ”The reason low waste pants don’t work for you is that you are too tall, you won’t find anything that works for you here in Jordan.”
At that point, I often find myself wondering if I should apologize for my height of 173 cm or if I should chop my head off to fit the shopkeepers’ description.
Then again, I am pretty sure that I am not the tallest girl in Amman. So, at this point I wonder what do tall girls do ? If you are a tall girl reading this tell me tell me seriously where do you buy jeans ?
I wonder if these shopkeepers are asking us to cry over our height or if they are saying that we are supposed to wear jeans that we know will leave very little to the imagination? See if we, as tall girls, did wear low waste jeans, I am sure we will be making a lot of new friends, as we will simply be giving a full view of our backsides to the world every time we bend down. If not then, are these mean shopkeepers suggesting that we should buy something we don’t want or that simply doesn’t work because it is in fashion, or better yet are they suggesting we are not feminine enough and that we should buy jeans from a men’s wear store?
Now, I would have been fine with a shopkeeper saying she is sorry because she doesn’t have the style I want. But, I am wondering where in the selling skills manual does it say make the shopper feel awful about themselves.
After two hours of trying on jeans and hearing awful comments from female shopkeeper, I felt like the abnormal figment of society, but then I did find a pair that was close enough to what I wanted. It wasn’t exactly right but it worked and I just wanted to go home so I bought it.
On the way out I even passed by a bakery store, and I really wanted to have a brownie, but then I remembered that I feel like the human tower already, and I figured that I don’t need to turn into the human elephant too, so I left my cravings unattended to.
You see , this might seem like a simple issue about jeans, but in fact it is a reflection of a larger problem we are facing in our society. If anything, this little incident shows the overwhelming push for everyone to conform. Shopkeepers are asking us to all dress the same, want the same, and look the same. They even feel it is their right ridicule us for wanting something that isn’t really in fashion. The problem goes beyond fashion when a shopkeeper assumes we should all be a certain height, and better yet sets up the store for people of that certain hight.
Think about this way, if taller people, chubbier people, or people who don’t fit the standard in any way are made to feel certain they won’t find something for them in a mall, doesn’t this mean that they are being indirectly kicked out of the public shopping area because they don’t conform . Doesn’t this mean that the mall is no longer a public space like it is in other places in the world. But rather it is a place for skinny people who want certain styles?
Far from the shopping scene, how many times are we told to conform in life, whether to a social ideal, a social norm, a social custom , or a social practice? I didn’t think that fashion is going to be added to the mix but apparently it harshly is.
You see, this shopkeeper assumed that I should want skinny jeans just because it is in fashion, just like many people would think that every girl wants to get married and every guy wants to get rich, every A student should want to be a doctor, and every A- student should want to be an engineer, every mom wants to be a mom, and every dad wants to be a dad, everyone wants to buy a house, and everyone wants to drive. So, yes the incident with the jeans reflects people ‘s assumptions and it reflects more importantly a society forcing us to conform even in how we dress.
Just spend a day in the mall, and see how everyone looks the same, and dresses the same. This is our society, a society where being different is not welcomed.
As for me, I recovered from the low self esteem the shopkeepers had infused in me last night. I figured that I am not a carbon copy of everyone else, I am just a taller original , and now that we got that covered I still want my brownie.


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