Thursday, December 28, 2006

On the "Hotness" Question

I was reading a friend's blog post on how she gets offended when someone uses the word 'hot' to describe a woman. She is not unique, I know many people like that.

I was at RIS when a hawker at a stall in the bazaar, while talking to a female friend of mine, described her a hot Trinidadian. Now this was in an Islamic conference! And of course my friend was all indignant and angry.

Moreover, when told about behaviour of aunties when picking brides for their wives, where the aunties would display the pictures of prospects on a table and then pick and choose, based on beauty alone, girls usually start foaming around the mouth.

"Hah, what about personality, what about this, that..."

Let me add my two cents here as a man.

Every man wants a hot wife. There. Now you know. I would love my future wife to be hot (for me alone). I would love to compose poems for her beautiful eyes or hair or whatever. I would love her to come sashaying down the stairs in a beautiful dress (be it a Western dress - shoulders covered of course, or be it a beautiful lahenga or a sari, or even the lowly shalwar kameez, or be it just a T-shirt) but every man wants a physically attractive wife. In other words - hot.

Now beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. While one may like long hair, another may like a curvaceous figure while yet another may prefer a tall, lanky girl, while others may base their criterion on voice, and so on. You will notice these are all physical attributes.

One thing girls forget about aunties selecting girls based on looks is that these girls have already been pre-screened by other factors. For example those girls would have been daughters of their friends, or some close relative, or of similar education, wealth and social standing, etc. In other words, similar mentality and compatible background. You know, for example a girl a university degree is bound to be smart, and so on. So looks are secondary. I have always told my parents I don't care (much) for looks, a girl has to be a good girl. Decent values. She doesn't even need to like Hindi movies. Most important is that we click.

Also, what about girls? Don't girls look for "presentability"? As in 'my guy has to be presentable'. He has to be tall. Smartly dressed. Not have a FOB-by accent. Rich is very good.

Of course girls are not superficial here. No no, then they are looking for "stability". Which is good for a marriage. As opposed to us men who are just superficial chauvinistic pigs who just want a doll. Sure.

I used to think girls who used to say "guys are superficial if they concentrate on looks" are ugly themselves. That opinion has changed as I met - "hot" - women who think similarly. So why do they get offended at the word "hot"?

As a guy, if some girl called me hot I would not mind (hehe) but I am comfortable with my body. Although when I go to the gym I am thinking of Shiney Ahuja (that's the body I want to build since John Abraham is now out of reach with his long hair - for those of you on my MSN list wondering what "Project John Abraham Failed" meant this was it).

I find it's usually girls who I consider 'hot' are not the ones that are physically the most attractive but those that are comfortable in their own skins.


Anonymous said...

Dude you go to the gym and you are thinking of Shiney?

mezba said...

Farah, lol. Faux pa. Also, why can girls talk about girls and it is not lesbo but guys cannot talk about another guy's body... double standards again.

Anonymous said...

hehehe! Okay, who is Shiney? I will have to google that. You poor thing! Maybe my post had something (or just little) to do with this post. Let me just clear up somehting though.
I HATE it when girls (or her parents) ask for crap like pay check and stuff . And yes it has happened when we were trying to get my "mama" married like 10 yrs ago. I think that LOW, just LOW.. LOW.. down and dirty. That's it! And about auntis selecting girls, actually, no they werenot pre-screened. They didn't even know them...absolutely nothing. But even if it was pre-screened, I think it's just not right to sit around with someone else, and make smart ass comments about someone's face. And my philosophy is totally different than anything you may come up with. I was taught that Allah creates people's face, yes, face is of particular care than any other parts of the body and hence we are NOT allowed to slap anyone in the face (please don't ask for refrence now, but I ever could get those books I had leave behind in BD, I could probably give you the exact hadith) and hence criticising someone's face is like really talking bad about Allah's creation. And when you put it like that, it's just morally wrong. You can reject the girl all you want, but it doesn't hurt to be nice.... it doesn't hurt to courteous... it doesn't hurt to be careful about someone else's feeling. And specially when it's about something like "forsha or not", "daater mari" or "kopal chora"... she had NOTHING to do with these things at all, so why penalize her for that? But just overall, I think it's just dehumanizing to comment on girls' pictures. What about guys? Yes, I do my usual protest when people say, "ewww... oi kala batti chele"...I personally never say that and if I was impressed enough by his talk or personality, I would probably marry an ugly guy, hehe. But I found that uglier guys are smarter and nicer. Good looking guys are high maintenance and also somewhat arrogant. Nothing ticks me off as much as it does when I find arrogance in people, and that too only for something as stupid as looks where he/she had NOTHING to do with this.
Truth be told, women don't really get to do a whole lot of picking anyway. The society is so structured that people think a woman IS lucky to get a guy... any guy whereas about a guy, we say, "he married someone"... as if he was in the driving seat for the whole process. And, it's true. HE IS in fact in the driving seat. Everything can be said and done and we would still have to wait for the prince to say, yeah she is hot enough. And the word hotness ONLY have one connotation and that is a sexual connotation and hence the offense.
"a girl with a university degree is bound to be smart," I beg to differ, it may not neccessarily be true. I have seen plenty dumb kids (both boys and girls) even coming from places like Harvard and Yale. Look at Geoge Bush and wait, he is not all that uncommon. Intelligent people may be really arrogant.
There is really so many components to these things. Oh I am getting tired, lol!
but take it easy. I was talking about some extreme cases, which were prevalent. And if you had not been there in person, you probably wouldn't know what I was talking about. When you spend 8 months in Bangladesh trying to find the hottest thing in town, pass a stupid comment on every single woman's body, hair, character, talk,complexion, and then start talking about her parents' inability to have a house in the city of Dhaka, oh please, that is OFFENSIVE!I think I even heard something like this,
"meyer baba ki kore?"
"Meyer baba mara geche onek age"
"Baba chara meye boro hoise? eshob meyera ki bhalo hoy?"
"Oder dhaka shohore kono bari nai?"
"choto boner age keno biye holo?"

Ok, do I need to say anymore?
SubhanAllah! I was talking about middle class families, not the richest women who can buy the ministers of Bangladesh. I was talking about families with 3-4 girls, who are probably not the prettiest thing, whose father died when the Pakis came and killed their fathers/forefathers, who probably couldn't make it to NSU because that cost a lot of money, some realities of life!

I think I saw it written somewhere, written to a man, "may the right woman win you"! WTH! Like now we are in some competitive sport to "win" a guy. Oh bring my hockey stick and let me play my game, anyone gets in my way, death shall be her punishment!

And for the bengali speaking readers, if you have not seen this movie called "shongkho nil karagar" please take some time to do that.

Anonymous said...

LOL!I can definetely say a girl is hot if she is hot,now mind you if a guy sees a guy and says that guy is hot,well, I would think that is weird. I was also fascinated by tall,dark guys. Now,one may ask why tall, well, I love wearing high heeled shoes(now it's sneakers coz of 2 young kids),dark, well, I was just attracted to them,alhamdullilah, my husband is all that and for me,he is super hot! ;-) ps. I like to comment if I see some nice gal, and if he agrees, you know the next question will be,is she hotter/better than me????hehehehe,well, he has learnt well, he says,"no way honey,are you kidding?" sf

Anonymous said...

I think most women are past the whole Western Feminism thing and get offended when they are compared to pretty dolls or seen just as flesh. Personally, I was always offended if people went for my looks for their sons/relatives. That is why I hated being approached after weddings and parties because I hadn’t even spoken to those people who pursued me. I think smart girls have a problem with “hotness” factor. Ask a stupid girl. She’d love being called “hot” because that’s all she may be :)

Personally, I wanted someone to love me for my brain because Alhamdulliah I was more comfortable in that area. But of course I wanted Brad Pitt’s looks and Bill Gates’ brains in a man for myself! Some people are just plain lucky, mashallah!

Anonymous said...

Farah took my comment right out of my lips...sup with that?

I like it when my hubby says I look "hot" :) Have no problem with that word, unless he is applying it to another woman, and since he is alive and well we can safely presume that hasn't happened :)

Anonymous said...

oooh... man...u need to edit the part where u say "when u go to the gym u r thinking about shiney". reword it to something like: When I go to the gym, I try to idolize Shiney.

Farah caught you on the first reply itself. Wait till all the other gals start their stampede (Isheeta, Suroor etc etc)...


'liya said...

I like Maliha's comment: "I like it when my hubby says I look "hot" :) Have no problem with that word, unless he is applying it to another woman, and since he is alive and well we can safely presume that hasn't happened :)" - same with me.

I don't see a problem with the word "hot" -- if he's using it to describe me. In fact, I love it when he does - it's sexy to know that he finds me attractive (I find it equally sexy when he tells me that I'm intelligent). Plus, I tell him he's hot!

We'd be stupid to say that physical attraction isn't important... sure your marriage shouldn't just be based on that, that's just dumb, but it's important because you would SEE each other everyday - and don't you want to be attracted to the person that you SEE everyday??!! :D

Anonymous said...

love the replies posted by everyone so far.
Since so many of us girls are offended by the word "HOT" (due to its sexual connotation), just refer to the girl as "pretty!" How simple is that?
Outer beauty can fade over time. A woman should be judged by her personality, and intelligence rather than her fairness, waist size, and wealth status.

أبو سنان said...

My wife and I are pretty comfortable and secure with this issue and with each other.

I do not feel uncomfortable or rude telling her if I think someone is attractive, and she is the same with me.

Marriage is about many things, and sex and sexual attractiveness is a big part of it. Heck, one has a right to a divorce in Islam if they are not being sexually satisfied.

So looks has a lot to do with it. At the same time, it is an overall package. I would not want to marry someone who is "hot" but is as thick as a brick.

No matter how good looking someone is eventually you will have to talk to them. lol.

The trick is to find someone you find attractive, in both the physical, intellectual and emotional sense.

mezba said...

Sabrina: Woah! OK I am getting back to you after everyone, lol.

Sf: You seem to have trained your husband well, he can almost be an honorory Bengali. bengali husbands seem to be very well trained :-(

Suroor: Lol at approaching girls at weddings. I think that is what Bengalis do all the time. I think a girl who is smart should also be confident about her beauty, so if she was refered to as hot she shouldn't mind, and take it as a compliment. After all, it's one more asset of her!

Maliha, Behbood: *sigh* OK when I go to the gym I am thinking of Vidya Balan and how to impress her and she would probably like a man with Shiney Ahuja's body. Happy? :-P lol

mezba said...

liya: I will keep your and Maliha's experience in mind. Yes, that's why I don't get offended when people evaluate the looks factor. I have seen mothers of girls (my cousins) do a thorough diss on guys based on looks and I never got offended. But girls take offense when its based on them.

khonika: you are a pretty woman.

While outer beauty can fade over time, it's that what initially draws you and binds you close, isn't it? I mean when you click, looks have a lot to do with it.

Abu Sinan: You took the words out of the mouth. The trick is to find someone you find attractive, in both the physical, intellectual and emotional sense.

mezba said...

Sabrina, your post had a lot to do with it. I didn't want to link to you as you didn't want to be linked and get a lot of hits.

See, I don't hate it when girls or their parents ask about material status. The man is responsible not only for his wife but his next generation and he better be established or at least on the road to being established. He does not have to be a doctor or earning 6 figures but he will need a good job and income. I don't find it LOW at all.

I don't know how your aunties got the list of photos or if they were not preselected at all but ya, I would not sit and pass wisecrack comments about someone's looks. But I would just say no this one is not too pretty, this one is and this one is well... maybe the photo is bad. But I would not mind aunties going and making the cut based on physical looks.

When we say that person is not physically attractive it's not that we are criticizing Allah's creation. We say that this creation of Allah may have an attribute that I do not find appealing. It's completely halal. A woman once came to the Prophet and said her husband is a great, kind, God fearing man but she just could not stand the sight of him. She was granted a divorce by the Prophet. This is one of the most progressive hadith instances I can find where looks play such an important part as to have a divorce, the most hated halal thing by Allah, that too by a Companion.

You say ugly and smartness is something inversely proportional.

"But I found that uglier guys are smarter and nicer."

Now THAT I find offensive. It tells every smart guy that he is ugly.

Beauty has nothing to do with brains.

I have seen and met a lot of people who are both nice to look at and smart to talk to. A lot of it has to do with how you carry yourself, the clothes you wear, how you accessorize and how you groom yourself.

So yes, you DO have something to do with looks. Besides, there's the whole figure thing. A girl/guy is in complete charge of their figure. They can diet and eat in a sunnah way and mantain a proper figure.

Tareq Suwaidan in RIS told us about how the Prophet's wives described him and he said the Prophet was well built, average height, and had a six-pack (his wife described it as his stomach being like a folded paper and straight which was the word for sixpack that days).

So it is sunnah to exercise and take care of your figure, and when you say high mantainance, when the end result of your mantainance is for Allah's sake, such that you want to look good for your wife or husband, than that is completely halal. Aisha once told an Ansar woman she should take care of herself for her husband.

You may feel that women don't get to choose someone, but I find girls to be full of dhong, especially ones here. They are very picky. And in the end they will lose out when the guys here go to Bangladesh and get sick of their nokhras.

Unlike most people I don't think George Bush is dumb. He is smart enough to get elected President of the US twice, despite a failed war.

I agree with your last couple of paragraphs.

Anonymous said...

hey btw, girls don't like it when guys flippantly comment on their HOTNESS because it makes them sound like objects. its not a complicated type of thing its just a "hey loser, shove your eyes back in their sockets and pick your tongue up off the ground"

yes girls liked being appreciated and looked at. Ogling is not the same thing.

I know how i feel when I hear some guy say "oh yeah she's HOT". their tone of voice is always heightened to make that last word sound pronounced and rather like they're trying for their listener to be able to FEEL the girls' hotness.

Also, its over rated as lately, we're all "hot" *rolls eyes*

Jibonjatri said...

I will try to keep it short as I am procrastinating onmy packing for BD. Heck who doesn't?
First off, I didn't say anything about a married a couple. Whatever I was saying I was saying about unmarried people. Once you are married, the spouses should/must call each other hot/sexy and God knows what ohter words are outthere for that.
However, prior to marriage, even though initially you should have some attraction to the "other", a guy should not try to see TOO much of a woman. One of the example would be insisting a hijabi woman to take off her hijab to show her hair. First off, since he ain't married to the woman, he has NO right to do that whatsoever, and second thing is that, it's just very cheap and humiliating. Similarly, many guys try to find out a little too much about her physique (and for the sake of decency, I won't go there) and that's where I find trouble. Remember many niqaabis construct an argument for veiling their face is that "face is the most attractive prt of the body and hence should be covered." Even though I don't personally wear a niqab, I do agree that if you are attracted to someone's face and eyes, maybe that is enough. About seeing a prospect, the Prophet's advice is to see her in the eyes, because eyes are the windows to the soul. And I think that's beautiful. As you said, connecting to people, and isn't it the best way to connect to someone to look into her eyes and have a few words? Why do we want a muhajiba to take off her scarf? Or, why would anyone try to figure out her physical measurement before marriage? Isn't it haram?
And about "hotness", Maryam's comment should suffice. I would not want random people checking me out and go like '''ooooh, she is hot!" Looking at me, a guy should have enough respect to lower his gaze and talk properly. And that's my opinion and expectation of a guy, and if he doesn't comply, you nkow somehting bad awaits him everytime. If a girl likes to be called hot and sexy by all the random eyes and be a food for his sexual dreams, that's her choice and who am I to stop her from having that opinion?
And about beauty and brain thing! I was mostly kidding, but anyway... I didn't use any smileys. However, extremely pretty women are often vain glorious. I fyou have not seen extremely pretty women spending $5000 (USD) on a saree everytime she buys one, you wouldn't know what I am talking about. If you spend that much money, time and effort in clothing and make up, anyone and everyone would be drop dead gorgeous, however I would not want to choose suhc a lifestyle for myself and I am overly content with the beauty that Allah has given me, Alhamdulillah!
And, yes I totally agree that a woman should do everything within her capability to please her husband's eyes, and likewise a man should do all that he can to do please his wife. But until he becomes a her husband, I don't know why women should be imposed to have certain standard of beauty by random prospects.
All right! =)

Anonymous said...

Good one!! As a girl, I don't mind the word hot. I love it. I am flattered if someone thinks I am hot. But there is more to me than that of course. But the whole breed of men do not have to appreciate the inner me. Why would it offend me?? I am hot but I am not yours :P

I find John Abraham hot...super hot...I love his half naked what!! I have a lovely bf whom I love a lot for who he is...not his body or his looks...and he can sit and stare at Angelina Jolie for all I care :P

Aunties...they are beyond my small brain. I am stupid, I admit!! I cannot take the aunty nonsense!! I want to be as far away as possible from such aunties from BD!!! They are scary!!

And those US nakhrawalis from BD...they are so annoying!! How can a decent guy like them is beyond me!! I am a girl alright...but I am with all the decent men who are stuck with annoying women who take advantage of feminism and always comeplain abt how unfair men are when they treat their men like shit!!

Zak said...

Yup, every guy wants a hot wife!

Eid Mubarak Mezba!

Anonymous said...

Salaam & Eid Mubarak!

I agree with Sabrina, and I also agree with Mezba in some parts. You don't have to spend millions to look good, there is beauty in simplicity after all. I think what he meant was look pleasant with whatever you have, and that is quite possible. Even with hijabis, while maintaining proper hayaa (NOT hijab + skin-tight jeans and top etc), one can look pleasing to the eyes. Ultimately we all need to find a middle ground, and therein lies the struggle. May Allah guide us all in our search for moderation, and may he save us from unwanted speculation/slurs from random strangers.
Eid Mubarak all :-)

Rawi said...

"mind you if a guy sees a guy and says that guy is hot,well, I would think that is weird"

Honestly, I think it's not all that weird (anymore), except of course for uptight males who're probably insecure in their masculinity. I am as straight as you can possibly imagine, but my friends have often heard me saying that Edward Norton is so hot, that if I were gay I'd probably have the hugest crush on him.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I don't mind. No one minds, as long as you're not a weird stalker. But it is so islamic to pretend you're offended :)