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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
harriscb
Retired 1980 from Navy. Tend to vote for the cand
10:52 AM on 06/18/2012
I have lived and worked all over the World in and out of uniform and quickly learned that our USA customs and laws were not always appreciated in other parts of the world. Young people really miss a chance to learn about other cultures by not adopting the customs when they are visiting. It is respectful and appreciated. If we want to act like USA citizens or Aussies in conflict with the culture we are visiting, then why are we there?
I made a long visit to Java and Bali thirty years ago and quickly learned that the locals really appreciated me trying to blend in (I am 5' 10", very white skin and red hair) despite the obvious physical differences. Indonesia is a very Muslim country and conservative in public (for the most part). Bali, at the time of my visit was still topless and not so conservative. That didn't mean that their morals were any less conservative.
Blend in and learn the culture you are visiting; don't go to visit with the idea of throwing your culture in the locals faces. I certainly wish a few of the immigrant cultures (legal and illegal) would come to the USA to blend in and enjoy our culture.
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09:41 AM on 06/18/2012
Years ago I went to live in Spain. I was married and had a child so in their culture (as well as my own) there were dress codes for "respectable women". Now as with everywhere I am "free" to dress however I choose, right. Well as a young girl there was an expression used for immodest clothes as in "you look like a tramp". Now somewhere we have removed the boundaries of dress. I read that some actress went out without underwear..now that is no boundary,especially with a mini skirt. But right or wrong whenever I want to be taken seriously, or be afforded the social protection of my "vulnerability" I dress modestly, not tattas hangin' out, or underwear showing when I step onto a curb. Yes my inalienable rights are being violated, kind of like having to drive on the wrong side of the road in England. But it is not about my rights, but my respect for the rights of the culture I am in. Theirs is in flux just like ours but my deliberately eggin' them on with my dress and the impressions it makes is not fair. In every culture there is a dress code for being a "Lady" rather than just a woman.
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Arthur Davis Arthur
12:40 PM on 06/18/2012
Right !
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
scook112793
09:41 AM on 06/18/2012
If you want to reside in another country, you do need to respect and embrace the culture or stay home-congrats to this young woman for realizing that is what was needed in her circumstances. This story has nothing to do with the subjugation of women or women's lib-it has to do with assimilation in a foreign country by a foreigner who will gain so much more knowledge and awareness of another culture because of her efforts to fit in with her surroundings.
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harriscb
Retired 1980 from Navy. Tend to vote for the cand
10:54 AM on 06/18/2012
Great posting! I was trying to communicate that message but you did it much better. Ethnocentrism has no place in our modern world.
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scook112793
12:39 PM on 06/18/2012
Thanks. I was raised abroad as a military brat for much of my life; one of the best directives my parents passed on to me was that I should embrace the culture of my surroundings, abroad and here in the US, where we also have many regional differences. As an adult, I enjoyed my work with foreign students and think I was better at my job because of my upbringing. Now, I am the stay-at-home Mom of a special needs' teenager and everything I learned from living in a lot of different and interesting places is an asset at home as well.
09:40 AM on 06/18/2012
When in Rome huh?
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patsunikbutik
09:32 AM on 06/18/2012
Before visiting a foreign country, one must first study the mores & activities of its people & how they react to certain situations presented to them. Many Eastern countries have a vastly different prospective of 'dress codes', sexual behavior & common 'manners', what is considered polite or rude. One must get to KNOW the people before visiting them or living among them. Americans must learn to 'blend in' more than to 'stand out' in many areas of the world, all this while still maintaining their own code of ethics & beliefs. Also learn as much about the language as possible to help you with communication & deeper understanding. Even this will probably not be 100% effective, given the political element, which must also be considered. GOOD LUCK to anyone studying abroad !
09:15 AM on 06/18/2012
What a way to victim blame. A woman was sexually harassed, so obviously it was her fault. Disgusting. It doesn't matter how someone is dressed you DO NOT touch them inappropriately. It is wrong, no matter the culture.
11:51 AM on 06/18/2012
thank you.
11:55 AM on 06/18/2012
THANK YOU! Victim blaming is what perpetuates rape culture and at least some of us understand that!
12:28 PM on 06/18/2012
I agree! While I personally would (and don't) dress inappropriately especially for another culture, it is out of respect NOT out of FEAR OF BEING SEXUALLY HARASSED or worse.
The issue is not that the woman was wearing a floral dress, the issue is that men in many parts of this world (including here) feel that they can do whatever they want to a woman. Hands to yourself. Always.

One shouldn't have to dress a certain way because they are afraid of being sexually assualted. How many men have EVER felt that they couldn't wear something because someone might sexually assault them?
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NancyY
carpe diem!
08:31 AM on 06/18/2012
Most cultures subjugate women to some degree, some even forcing them to hide under layers of fabric to the point where they end up with vitamin D deficiency. I would be okay with the long skirts, but I don't see any problem with a sleeveless top in a hot, steamy climate. There comes a point where the men of such cultures need to get a grip on themselves; at least those men had the decency to let you out of the car!
09:24 AM on 06/18/2012
Women being encouraged culturally to be more modest compared to Western standards is not subjugation. Rather, it is just a acknowledgement real human response to immodesty and being proactive about it.

Modesty is always tied to the cultural context of the location and not a one-size-fit-all thing (think of the tribes in Papua new Guinea or Africa where being topless for women is a norm). In the old days in the western cultures, showing a woman's ankle is considered provocative. Is it really so wrong of men to react a certain way if that's not what they are used to, whether the upper arm or the ankle?

Yes, men need to get a grip of themselves but we know that it's wishful thinking that every single man in the world will get on with the program. Also, in this culture, dressing immodestly is a big sign saying "I'm a prostitue for hire!"

I bet the vast majority of women in that culture agree with the current moesty standards of their land. Who is a foreigner to tell them their standards are wrong. Now, let me turn the question around, how would you feel and what would you think if a woman were to come to your country (or city) and say that the women there are being oppressed and should wear even lesser amount of clothing?
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Lady Deathstrike
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
10:54 AM on 06/18/2012
the flaw in your thinking is that even prostitutes for hire don't allow men to touch them without paying first as for visiting another culture and wearing western style dress...well that just means you are a tourist..if a strange man touches you then you have the right to call the police and in most asian countries justice is swift

as for your bet that a vast majority of women in the culture would agree with you on the current modesty standard in their land, I'd take that bet having been in southeast asia I've found a lot of women there do not agree with being covered up with only their eyes showing

I really don't think you know what you are talking about Mark but I do know I don't appreciate you putting your morals on me, save your oppression for the women in your family..I'm sure your mom and sisters will listen to you....(not)
12:09 PM on 06/18/2012
Finally the smart comment. I was just about to give up reading all these comments from women thinking the whole world of men should conform to a certain standard and forget everything about their culture. The headline itself says "how I learned.." meaning she acknowledges she was WRONG before.
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Renee Silvernail
10:23 AM on 06/18/2012
You may see nothing wrong with "Sleeveless" but clearly the island she was on "Assumes" it means you're easy. It does NOT matter what YOU think, or I. She sounds like a smart woman, who realized you MUST conform when you go into a Contry out of the States.
NancyY
carpe diem!
05:23 AM on 06/19/2012
I was merely pointing out that many countries, typically third-world countries, subjugate women, yet the men are allowed to act any old way they please. I firmly believe that this is one of the main reason why such countries remain third-world countries.
08:20 AM on 06/18/2012
Yes, it is important to know the cultural values of a country.
For example, in the USA we are taught when we shake hands to make sure our grip is strong and firm.
In Japan, it is offensive as it is a sign of arrogance. The prefer a soft handshake.
NancyY
carpe diem!
08:33 AM on 06/18/2012
Interesting. I hadn't heard that. I know there are various cultural differences, and signs with hands, but I didn't know that about handshakes. As a woman, I learned to pretty much return the handshake as it was given; some elderly people have rheumatoid arthritis or other problems, and a firm handshake could harm their hands.
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sandmn7442
10:40 AM on 06/18/2012
The same is true of eye contact. Getting direct eye contact in Japan is an aggressive insult. They bow in respect and avoid the eyes.
07:52 AM on 06/18/2012
very nice article........is a lesson for us all about being culturally sensitive when visiting a foreign country. Hopefully her article may spare others from making similar mistakes!! Imagine not being eventually "let go" by would be kidnappers. Some people dissapear for such mistakes never to be seen again. When traveling especially to conservative countries try to blend in as much as possible for safety sake. You may not have the same "rights" as you do here. Watched a show called "Locked up Abroad" Nice article with a thankfully happy ending. HAPPY TRAILS
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07:44 AM on 06/18/2012
What passes for 'style' in the US is often viewed as prostitute's wear in other countries. Thus, when in Rome....well you know.
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Dede Eagleburger
Beauty is in the eye of the makeup brush holder
09:21 AM on 06/18/2012
yeah, for some of us maybe we should just stay home...lol
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Lady Deathstrike
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
10:54 AM on 06/18/2012
link to prove it please
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01:42 PM on 06/18/2012
Are you sure you didn't mean to say 'LICK to prove it'? I really don't know you that well Lady Deathstrike. It might be a bit too soon for that sort of thing. Sigh...Youe might just be jumping the gun Madame Death Ray.
07:41 AM on 06/18/2012
I find it so strange that women world wide it seems keep making excuses for the way adult men behave.Sorry because you come from a ertain part of the world does that mean you have no self control??I also find it disturbing that women still will blame themselves for men not having self control.WHY????
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nightingale11
09:08 AM on 06/18/2012
The author cannot change an entire county's culture. While it is annoying to us from the West, men in asian countires are dominent, as the women are reared to accept this as the norm. . The men's cultural view of the author''s dress is that she has invited their unwanted attention by dressing that way. In Indonesia only prostitutes wear skimpy clothing. Surprising that a Fullbright Scholar (male or female) didn't think to learn what is appropriate before flying over. We act like Ugly Americans (read the book!) when we march into another culture and expect it to accept us as we are. Culturally competent travelers - both men and women - adopt the old slogan "Wen in Rome, do as the Romans do." In the West have broken all kinds of gender sterotypes. The rest of the world - particularly the in more culture-bound countries - have not. The USA is full of different traditions and takes a vastly more tolerant view of things as a result, but smaller nations have less expossure to other ways of living and tend to be far more traditional. Remember that Saudi Arabia is quite westernized and women ther still may not drive cars. We help our sisters best by working with intyernational groups dedicated to international women's rights - not by wearing inappropriate clothing for the culture we are visiting and expecting everyone to accept it because it is OUR norm.
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10:32 AM on 06/18/2012
As a feminist, I agree with your sentiment; however, reality dictates that you have to live to fight another day. LOL, you cannot take on an entire country in one fell swoop. I loved how the author chose to lengthen her close in proportion to shortening her hair. She was smart and funny.
06:49 AM on 06/18/2012
Maybe the men should learn some self-control and manners.
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oldgeezer15
09:14 AM on 06/18/2012
that will never happen as that is their culture and always be- stay here and help people and let the ignorants over there be just what they are -ignorant's
10:28 AM on 06/18/2012
It used to be part of many cultures where it is no more.
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scook112793
09:44 AM on 06/18/2012
It is not the job of a temporary resident to change the culture of an entire country-it is her responsibility to embrace the culture of her host country or to stay home. She did exactly the right thing by adapting during her stay.
02:36 PM on 06/18/2012
Who said she didn't?
06:39 AM on 06/09/2012
Did you even read the article? She stated that she quickly realized that she was wearing inappropriate attire and quickly made modifications to her apparel to keep it appropriate for the culture she was visiting. I saw no mention of being thrown into the throes (which is how you spell it) of depression. You just want to insult someone.
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