Women, thy Name is Vanity

Women, thy Name is Vanity

If Shakespeare lived in today’s world, he would surely have reworded the oft- quoted line as ‘Vanity, thy name is women’. And I am sure he would be more tired than I am today, of hearing the conversation that goes around all day, whether you are at office or in a social gathering.


Although you might think that I am exaggerating the situation when I say that looks, clothes, jewelry etc etc take up 90% of a women’s time but I am not! Ok, let’s qualify the sentence. They consumes 90% of a woman’s time who is financially secure either because she’s earning a reasonable amount or because of having dibs on her father’s or husband’s money (read: credit card).


A typical day for a woman at office begins with ‘hello, how are you doing?’… ‘Wow, your dress looks soooo pretty!!’ ‘Which designer?’ ‘Oh, I also went to that exhibition.. it was great’.. ‘Gosh,you look slimmer today’, ‘Oh really, I guess it’s only the dress that’s making me look slim’ (silently praying that the other person would INSIST that no no, it IS the weight loss, not the clothes!!)


And just when that girl goes somewhere else, the other two starts shedding light on the darker side of the picture. ‘Have you checked out her shoes? She must have an inferiority complex because of height!’ Also, ‘she should choose colors wisely… this is worsening her looks’.


Similar situations occur at parties, weddings, birthdays, other functions. AND last but not the least, Facebook! The endless quest for putting the hottest pictures and the never ending (usually fake) comments are the added dimension of this frustrating picture.


I am NOT saying that there is any harm in putting our efforts for looking our best. Compliments are gladly welcomed by every one of us. Also, we have every right to buy that lovely outfit from the designer of our choice if we can afford to. But the more-than-necessary emphasis on looks and dressing enhanced by the electronic media and thanks to the billboards looming at every nook and corner is driving many a women amongst us to added depression levels.


Since the beginning of time, women have always been concerned about their beauty and looks but the maddening marketing campaigns and “show-it-all” culture is making life more difficult than colorful in today’s time and age. Those who can’t afford this luxury are getting more frustrated with each passing day. Astonishing as it might seem, I have actually witnessed a relationship between two friends, who usually hanged out together, going sour because of constant comparisons and comments they were subject to in office.


Even with those who can afford it, the competition is never-ending. Because we invest so much of our time and energy on presenting a better picture to the world, it is very disappointing if something goes wrong or does not result in our desired situation.


If you think it’s only women who are losing it, you are wrong!! As I see it, the darker sex is facing the perils of this rat race even worse than their fairer counter-parts. They have to provide for their sisters, mother, wife and daughters. Moreover, they have to hear the whining as well!!


The overall social picture is getting dreary every day. Men have loads and loads of ‘bench-marks” to compare ‘their’ women with. Women have to struggle very hard to meet those out-of-this-world standards. The result is unsatisfied & broken relationships!


For our own sanity and happiness, let’s just forget how many of our friends carry imported bags, who got a hair cut from the oh-so-famous hair dresser and who is buying how many dresses from whom. Let’s spend some time on having that long-needed heart-to-heart with our beloved rather than fussing over somewhat-not-perfect stitch in the choorridar sleeves. Why not smile looking at the cute kid in the restaurant rather than discussing how many calories that one quarter chicken contains. For a change, we should focus on the story of the play and not give a second thought to how very petite the lead character is. Let us all thank God for the uncountable bounties and smile because we all have many reasons to!!


Erum Naqvi

A full time banker and a part time blogger

  • Tuba Noman

    1000% agree with u dear :)

  • Mabob

    Shakespeare would have died of shock.

  • Amena

    i see no harm in dressing up or wanting praise from others but there is sure harm in everything that gets out of proportion. So while you may have exaggerated the situation for the beauty of the piece, i agree to your last para!

  • S Nasrullah

    The brilliant Oscar Wilde, famous for his ready wit and repertoire once remarked: ” If I am over-dressed occasionally, I make it up by being super intelligent all the time”. The fair sex is often judged on the basis of her looks and the smart dresses she wears. Fashion designers, people of high caliber of style and proportion with exceptional aesthetic sense, invent clothes with color, cut and class that tends to highlight the gifted elements of ones personality. Beauty, they say, lies in the eyes of the beholder; and the Fashion Genius vigorously ups the judgmental anti of the beholder. What Shakespeare said with choicest of words strewn into an artistic web of expression is understood by even the commonest of the common with a bit of education and emotions. Often times, during enlightened discussions in glitzy parties, people quote Shakespeare and other eminent literary figures to gain the benefit of doubt that they also belong to the privileged and the prominent class. While men are often taken on the face value of their achievements and their status, women have always been pampered and fawned for their smashing looks and their graceful bearings. However, it is also a fact that beauty is but skin deep. During my G.C. Lahore days, I had written an article in the Ravi, a College Magazine, with a one-liner in italics: ” It only takes five to seven years of happy conjugal life to transform a pretty ‘Bi Bi’ into a portly Bay Bay” and I was summoned by the Principal to defend my wise-crack as the Leader of the House in the House of Commons style debate on the subject. Ladies should never look their age; and as long as a woman looks pretty much a sister to her older daughter, she is doing fine. And the Fashion designers are aware of this stringent streak to introduce modern concept in dress designs that old and young could wear with complete equality.

  • Amber

    Loved the title. And i believe that these social websites most hazardous usage is easy-access & excess of Snobbish attitude adoption. Nothing against the social websites,as i myself is a big fan for staying connected as an expat, but lets use them positively.

  • karina

    Shakespeare didn’t say that. He said “Frailty, thy name is woman…”