Saturday, May 9, 2009

Guess Girls: "guess"ing was never good enough for me

I guess, "Guess"ing was never good enough for me.

Growing up, I remember walking through the Bay Center (our local mall) with some of my "bff's forever" and seeing this gorgeous skinny blonde carrying arm loads of bags from the local Guess store, with a boyfriend (who obviously bought them all for her) carrying even more boxes and bags after her. I doubt highly if he was her husband. One of me BFF's, let's call her K, announced to us that her new goal in life was to be as glamorous as the blonde and find a man to buy her tonnes of Guess (or anything else her heart desired---as she got older, her taste grew more expensive and evolved to Louis Vuitton). That had to be heaven she decided, as smart and talented as she was (School President, ballerina, and honour roll student). Thus her ambition (similiar to another friend's, we'll call her B, and another's, A [though those two usually just fall head over heels with any old boy and lose sight of their long term goal of getting a man to buy them stuff]) came to become affectionately known between the five of us, as "Guess-ing". To prove their affection for K, B, or A, a boy had to/or was supposed to buy the girl a Guess handbag, and work their way up from there. A always failed miserably, because she is a sucker for love-at-first-sight scenerios, and B pretty much got bored of a guy after one Guess bag and some concert tickets, and K, she graduated from Guess to Gucci.
Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, reported: Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said that there was a person who used to walk with pride because of his thick hair and fine mantles. He was made to sink in the earth and he would go on sinking in the earth until the Last Hour would come.
Hadith number in Sahih Muslim [Arabic only]: 3894

M and I were the only one's unconvinced. We wanted to be successful on our own, and never saw a closet full of designer clothes alone as particularily fullfilling. As a daughter of a bi-polar gold-digger who left my Dad after she spent most of his money and work was getting hard for him to find after the crux of the eighties interest rate high, my father taught me to value a man for his character, his kindness to others, and his patience. We went hungry and experienced welfare Christmas toys, and salvation army clothes that I turned into "vintage cool" before vintage WAS cool, and he worked really hard, and brought us back up to a normal family, and I have pictures of Versace and Oscar de la Renta prom dresses that will always remind me of how my father loved me in a way that no man that buys me a Guess or Balenciaga handbag ever can. I still have a plastic tiger and dinosaur from the dollar store that means more to me than my Versace, though both dresses still hang in my closet because (I love you Dad). (And I still love you mum but you have to admit you were suicidal trainwreck) but I wouldn't settle for money, like my Mum upgraded (she is currently blandly married to a millionaire from Texas who looks quite a degree less handsome than Dr. Phil who has a ranch in San Fran, maids in the Gulf, and a mansion in Huston, travels the globe, and still she sits all by herself playing Solitaire on the computer all day). M came from a strong family-focussed background, and she saw that a strong relationship came from a partnership of equals, and not a dependancy.
Of all five of us, though I remain friends with A, an aquiantance of B, lost M's addy completely, and have been disowned by K, only M and I are "successfully" married. A is always searching for love with some guy that turns out to be loony-jealous or a cheating loser [or both] (one of her boyfriends B and I had to break his nose with a frying pan to warn him not to beat our girl). B is a material girl and her consumerism for the latest fad is similiar to the way she goes through men. Some of B's boys have been creeps (but hey, they bought her a lot of nice stuff and she played them before they played her), and some of them have been sweet nice guys that I liked and have no doubt that they have been traumatized about women for the rest of their lives like my dad (who never dated again after my Mum because he is afraid he will never find a woman that loves him just for who he is, not just what he can do for her).

K got addicted to anti-depressents and drugged-up ran over the line crashed her car into a former "popular girl" who was the sweetest creature ever, ruining that girl's figure-skating dream and career. Nonchalant and bragging about how she got away with it, I questioned our friendship. Even though she was my friend, I was starting to like the other girl more. K still managed to run away with the school election, buying us all ice cream and being the leggy glam ambitious creature that she is. After I converted to Islam, B and A were upset that I quite drinking and clubbing (I liked dancing and astighfurallah was nigh an alcoholic but I never did date) but A got over it and even wore an abaya with me once, and B and I still talk (but B is a club bunny and it is hard for us to meet without alcohol). M was a sweetie so I'm sure she wouldn't have minded and she never drank but I heard she got married and moved away.

K saw me in hijab and acted all two-faced about how happy she was for me, while she talked behind my back and basically said to another friend that I am "offensive to all womenkind", willingly "submitting" to a "culture", "dumb", "misguided", "backwards"... She "disowned me" reports my milk brother, who still keeps in touch with both of us. I am okay with that. I hope her life turns out okay. InshaAllah Allah guides her. Indeed all my former BFF's, ameen. I love them for the sake of Allah subhanhu wa ta'ala and also for my own sake.

She married for money, got all her designer clothes, plus a settlement from a lawsuit, and she has money and friends and a career in public relations, but she's been divorced already, and her addiction to drugs made her look alot rougher the last time I saw her, when she came into my work. Beauty that she depended on fades all too quickly, same with youth, and brains can be attractive if they are paired with kindness, but not when they are married to greed and ruthlessness. I've never seen "Guess-ing" work out too well for anyone.

I didn't think Muslim women would do such a thing, but my husband and Aalia's husband say "Guess-ing" is common and more expensive in the Gulf. Authoobillahi! Khalid, in Oman, told me he couldn't afford to get married to a Muslim girl, so he was looking to find a chaste and decent Christian woman. HOW SAD IS THAT FOR OUR UMMAH? Sighhhhh.... And the fact that I could truly be a chaste and decent Christian woman to him. I was chaste, but decent and ``Christian`` I could ONLY HAVE BEEN by association of my ancestry and skintone , not my faith and good works.

Walking downtown the other day, two other sisters (Boxie and Megan) and I commented on how needlessly sexual the adverts outside Guess were:I know is it is horribly cliche for a Muslim woman to say, in her clothes, and in her hijab, she is not a marketing object, but looking at these adds, half-naked women and men often engage in soft-core porn to sell handbags and denim. They are too sexual even for the clothes, which can be worn in a respectful and decent manner at ladies-only functions. Or vamped up for deserving and HONORABLE Muslim husbands. I`d totally wear this look below when no one`s around but my man though I won`t be hiking it up to my crotch while someone takes a picture that`s for sure.: I don`t think a woman`s worth is in her ability to sell clothes and handbags and perfumes in magazines. MashaAllah there is one African sister in our city who scrubs the floors in the hospitol here as a janitor who was approached by the same modelling company that discovered Canadian supermodel Daria Warowby. When they asked her if she`d become a model she said she would rather scrub floors for the rest of her life than objectify her sex into mindless things to attract likely undeserving men in order to survive. May Allah reward her, because He knows I struggled more when I was approached to act on TV sans hijab, though I eventually turned that down, alhamdulilah. I don`t have a problem with models, or tv, or the Guess brand, what I have a problem with is ``Guess-ing`` and media that promotes and flaunts `Guess-ing``, using young women up and convincing them that they are nothing without things and a man. You need at least one, they whisper, through billboards and telly adverts.
I came very close to trying to make myself look like this particular Guess model pictured above. Her name is Megan Ewing and her face looks alot like mine and we both has long black-brown hair back then... of course she is taller than me. I used fake tanner one summer to get my pale skin to glow like her`s in this particular Guess compaign. Yet, I did not aquaint her with true beauty, or the add to success. So I was safe, albeit a little orange-er. LOL. All praise be to Allah.

When my little sister covets Guess handbags I resent that these handbags make her ``safe`` from schoolyard bullies. It reminds me of a sahih hadith provided Ayan that I hadn't quite memorised but had heard: Narrated Abu Hurairah, Allah's Messenger (sallalahu allahi wa salaam) said, "Ruin be to a slave of the Dinar; the slave of the Dirham, and the slave of the striped silk cloak. If he is given anything he is pleased, but if not, he is unhappy." (Al-Bukhari) It is not the fine clothing itself that is haraam and likely to bring harm and ruin to mankind, but the dependence on it.

I want warn my Muslim sisters about dependence on anything other than Allah subhanhu wa ta`la. Everything, and everyone, but He, the Exalted, will fail you inevitably. I do want to add, it is indeed too cliche, for us as Muslim women wearing our hijabs, to say that we aren`t a peice of marketing. My father, disbeliever that he is, has always been a wise man. When I tell him I am not selling my body in by hijab, he tells me, everbody is selling something.

He`s right. We are. We are selling Islam---which is our ideal.
We aren`t ``selling out`` when we buy a name-brand hand-bag if we aren`t being arrogant or wasteful or dependent in or with or because of the brand and the rest of our hijab meets its Islamic requirements. We just have a more fulfilling intepretation of this dunya than `Guess-ing` to market to other woman and non-muslims in general. So I don`t think there is anything haraam about brands if your aren`t being excessive or extreme and don`t become dependent on it, and still pay your zakat. I DO think if you are Guess girl under your abaya, you can still express that IN your abaya. Just remember that hijab isn`t supposed to be sexy or exploit you as a ``Guess-ing`` girl.
The following is a hijab look dedicated to my little sister and girls like her who I want to see respecting themselves and not looking to their closets for rolemodels:
The only denim abaya I have ever ever liked from for $67.90 USD.
Get the cute loose wraped hijab look with this purple al-amira hijab covered partially underneath (to give you the needed Islamic coverage) for $5.75 GBP, and this pink shayla to somewhat pin overtop for an effortlessly chique look $4.75 GBP.
All other accessories--- and of course the jeans--- by Guess.


Aalia said...

--- Wanna leave a detailed comment but already running kinda late to meet up with Vali for `abaya-choosing!!!

Looooove uuuuuu xoxo

Mishu said...

Aaaaaarrrrgh. I just can't take the borderline soft porn on this blog anymore! There are just better ways for muslimahs to make points than through vivid, explicit displays of what's wrong.

Pixie said...

Mishu: Excuse me? There isn't any other explicit images on this blog at all. And yes, I am saying these images are bad---but they are around you when you walk down the street girl. Don't complain to me. Why don't you complain to Guess and express your concern for their advertising?

Pixie said...

Mishu: btw, you've offended me. What I have posted isn't off a porn site. It is off a sidewalk. And it IS necessary to show because SOME GIRLS don't get it without the push and the shove.

*~Ange~* said...

yah i agree. pix isnt posting it so men will have something to fantasise over - she is doing it to prove a point.

btw i friggen LOVE that abaya and pink hijab look!

Anonymous said...

That's totally why I include it in the first place. Not everyone is raised to be modest. Sometimes, after being taught and inaundated with the wrong thing for so. long you need a blatant comparison.
And I guess I am not really offended, its just me reacting too quickly without thinking.

Ayan said...

MashAllah, great post sis! Indeed any other dependency other than Allah (swt) will fail you.

Did you mean this hadith:
Narrated Abu Hurairah: Allah Messenger (saw) said, "Ruin be to a slave of the Dinar; the slave of the Dirham, and the slave of the striped silk cloak. If he is given anything he is pleased, but if not, he is unhappy." (Al-Bukhari)

Pixie said...

Yes, Ayan, I did!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! JAzzakallah kheiran ya ukti!!!!!! Yay, off to edit the post now.

CareMuslimah said...

Asalaam alaykum sister!... you're so right. What an interesting post by the way, I really liked it!.. Because I think we all go through that. At least us reverts, we have friends who wear miniskirts, etcetc. They don't think the same. I really want to meet sisters!.. it'd be great.

And all those guess-ing girls.. how sad. May Allah guide them inch'allah.

Ayan said...

wa iyyaki my dear :)

Amina said...

Salam alaykum my dear.

YOU NEED to send this to GUess and have them feel ashamed of what they are doing for young womens self esteems all over the world. husband and me sometimes avert our eyes from certain advertisments because they are just too explicit.

I love your style of deliverance. You sure do get your point accross (at least to me).

Kisses and salams from USA'

Megan said...

I'm on your blog! hehe :)
Sad, especially because I know who most of those girls are. A lot of people went downhill or just nowhere after highschool.

Your Dad's right, we are all an advertisement for something. As Muslims, we must be especially careful of the message we send people.

aida said...

yes brands are nice and so are cars and beautiful men and women but all these thingd fade away within time clothes go in and out of style, cars do the same, and people get older, wrinkle, etc. so i think it is important to focus on the things in life that truly matter like god and family because god will always be there when the fast cars and high fashion aren't.

Anonymous said...

I see some hypocrisy here. If you don't like the sexy ads buy Guess or how they exploit sex through sexy models then WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD YOU APPROVE OF SUPPORTING THEIR COMPANY BUY PURCHASING THEIR PRODUCTS. lol....doesn't make any sense to me. I see you are trying to excuse your lust for high priced material possessions. We ought not love or desire the material things of this world but rather cast our desires on Heavenly things which last forever. May God bless you with wisdom and peace. In Jesus' name, Amen.