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Following on the theme from “A Cutting Tradition” where female circumcision was touted as making ” a woman look more beautiful in the eyes of her husband” I wondered where does this burrowing obsession for beautification end.

Dress codes and norms, dressing “up” for husbands or for men, practises such as skin bleaching, foot binding, elongating necks and surgery for tightning up eye sockets to make the eyes appear larger, vaginal tightening – the list is endless.

Male circumcision is never flagged up as making the “man desirable to the wife”. Comic facial hair is also never put forward as a method used to induce visual orgasmic pleasure to females, although it is meant to make the person in question more “attractive” to the opp sex.

I wonder when will this ever end? When will mothers stop looking at their daughters and wondering how to “prep” them to be good wives? Make sure she irons shirts well, is able to cook a finger licking meal for her husband and inlaws, round chappati’s that are not too thick or too thin, that she is a tidy seamstress, is able to bear children as part of her worth is in the ability to pop out kids?

And when that list is over it down to her appearance. How to remove that fine downy hair she has on her face? Make her lose some weight, because after all no-one wants a fat daughter-in-law (even if the guy himself is the Michelin tyreman). Get rid of her bushy eyebrows? How to lighten her dark skin (even if he looks like a coalmine worker)?

One of my mum’s friends came over for dinner on Eid and whilst eating she was just looking around at us girls: me, my cousins, her own daughter and my cousin’s wife. Later she turns to my Mum and says “People want light skinned girls for their boys dont they?” She’s not your village bred idiot. She’s a well educated woman, used to work as a Dr in Pakistan. But it certainly didn’t stop her from wondering how her daughter will fair in the marriage stakes when her time comes.

Are women to blame for feeding this attitude to other women and to men? When women decide to “dress up” for their husbands in some fetish ensemble are they merely enforcing the stereotype of vixen in bed, Ma’am out? When they find out a woman is getting married the “advice” from other women is usually “buy some nice lingerie”. Why? Is that all you are expecting to be – some docile sex machine, readily available for servicing?

I find it sickening that mothers look and treat their daughters as if their only purpose in life is to make sure she turns out to be a good wife. Who can look at a little girl and ponder “how can I make her more attractive to her husband to be? what can I do to ensure he considers her a worthwhile catch? how can I make her sexually more appealing?”

I’m so terribly tired of it all. When is this going to end?

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