Table of Contents
Data Presentation and Analysis
Summary of Research Findings
For centuries, the beauty of Bengali women has been defined by their dark skin-tones, generous curves, sharp facial features and long, wavy hair. The traditional Bengali woman adorned herself with glass bangles, bindi, nupur and nose-pin and wore saris or more recently, salwar kameez. All of these together paired with her submissive attitude, were considered to be part of her beauty. However, this notion of beauty has changed drastically in the last few decades. Bangladeshi women no longer favour the generous curves or the long, wavy hair. They are very figure-conscientious' and are usually stick-thin with short hair. Gone are the days of soft, wavy hair that Bangladeshi women inherited from their ancestors. The waves have been replaced by extremely straight or very curly hair produced in beauty salons. The bindis, nupurs and glass bangles are slowly disappearing, and fashionable anklets, bracelets and tattoos are taking over. Even the traditional saris and salwar kameez are slowly, but inevitably, being replaced by jeans, fatua (short tunic) and short kameez.
Women from Hindi Serials
Women also put on their make-up differently these days. Make-up for an average Bangladeshi woman used to be the kohl liner to enhance the eyes and maybe a lipstick and too much of it was considered to be cheap and vulgar. Today, make-up for a Bangladeshi woman ranges from cheek tints to liquid eye-liners and different types of foundations. What was considered to be modest, previously, is thought to be very minimal now! Bangladeshi women hardly ever go out of their private rooms without covering their face under layers of creams and make-up. One might wonder how years of tradition was uprooted so easily? What caused this drastic change in the appearance of women in the last decade? The answer to both these question lies in technological advancement. While economists consider technology to boost the standards of living of a country, it also erodes away some of the culture that was established through hundreds of years. Satellite television or cable TV is one of the main reasons why urban Bangladeshi women have changed their physical guise. A majority of the households in Dhaka city have access to cable networks. Most of these channels broadcast the programs in either English or Hindi. Of these two, Hindi channels are more popular with the masses since the language is close to our mother tongue and people also find it easy to identify with the values and traditions shown. The channels target women and telecast these shows during lunch hours and late evenings, when they might be free. Given that women relish melodrama and fashion, in general, it is no wonder that once they watch them, they are hooked! The look of the female characters is the rage in Dhaka. The actresses are slim, fair and attractive looking, with stick straight hair, or extremely curly hair (which can only be produced in beauty salons). Their faces are caked with shovelfuls of make-up and even then, they manage to have the natural-look' that men apparently favour. The female characters in the Hindi serials do wear the traditional saris for most of the part. A small proportion of them still dress in the conventional way with bindi, sindoor, and glass bangles. However, most of the actresses wear skimpy tube tops or halter styles blouses with saris, and have replaced the traditional ornaments with tattoos and bracelets. This adds a dash of Western element to their dressing styles. Another group of actresses have shed the traditional skin altogether and prefer Fusion or Western trends. They are portrayed in slacks, tops, fatuas and skirts for most of the time and sport the chunky jingly anklets of the West.
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