Monday, October 13, 2008

life lessons from the theatre

so i went to see the broadway musical AIDA this weekend and, as with everything here, it turned out to be kind of an experience. one of the 3 main characters was a sort of ditsy blond girl and as i sat in the audience watching her, i began to understand the fascination that some other cultures have with american girls. despite being much older, the actress and the character she played reminded me of an average american high schooler. i'm not sure that i can really put it into words, but there was something very compelling about her. she had much more of a presence than any chinese women i have met. whether she was physically bigger or not, she seemed it and the head of blond curls and voluptuous bosom only seemed to magnify the differences.

granted, she is in the theatre and onstage playing a role, so everything about her is magnified, but that's sort of what i needed to be able to understand the fascination with western beauty and culture. i can suddenly understand how, had you spent your entire life here, american girls would have a certain boldness, forwardness that is both shocking and alluring. not that every single girl is like that, but this actress reminded me of the "average" girl. the one that is popular in high school and portrayed in movies and television. i'm sure there are women with similar presence here, but they are few and far between and i feel that they would carry the same exotic alluringness.

i'm glad that it suddenly makes some sense. i always thought it was so strange that other cultures try so hard to be like americans, but when you grow up in a culture that feels sort of naive and sheltered, there is something about american boldness that draws you in. it's sort of like teenagers scoffing at their parents' archaic, naive worldview in favor of something that feels more progressive.

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