French philosopher Rene Descartes said “I think, therefore I am. ” I’ve heard women say, “I shop, therefore I am.” Philosophical shopping maven that I am, I say, “I shop, therefore I am enlightened.”
The other day I noticed two women at a clothing store, just a few aisles over from me. The younger was about 25, dark-haired and attractive in jeans and a shirt. It was obvious from the strong family resemblance that the older woman was her mother.
The daughter would hold an item of clothing up in front of her, and then turn to her mother. They weren’t speaking English, but I could tell she was asking Mom’s opinion.
The thing is, the mother was veiled. She was covered, head to toe, with just her face and hands showing.
Even without a working knowledge of Farsi, the body language and tone of voice made their conversation crystal clear.
My interpretation of actual conversation:
Daughter: “What do you think of this blouse?”
Mother: “Shows too much skin. Where is the burka section of this store?”
Daughter: “What about this one?”
Mother: “Slut! Whore! I spit on you!”
How could the daughter not know how Mom would react to her clothing choices? I had never seen either woman before. Yet I could have predicted Mom’s reaction.
What kind of response did the daughter think she was going to get?
Fantasy version of conversation:
Daughter: “Do you like this bustier?”
Mother: “Won’t your breasts look perky in that! Do they have it in my size?”
This exchange illustrates a universal truth. We daughters try our mightiest to distance ourselves from our mothers. But we still want their approval.
Different language, different culture, same dynamic.