Why, hello there.
So Nyash and I need your help/wisdom with an little matter that has us at each other's throats (well alright, not really, but definitely loud and bratty). It's about a pesky little word that kept us arguing all night with failure to come up with any form of a consensus. I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me start from the beginning...
A couple of nights ago, we were out having dinner with a few friends from out of town. It was lovely, the food was good and the conversation was pleasant, well pleasant enough up until one of our said friends decided he would pay us a 'compliment' by calling us exotic.
I have no idea that rubbed me the wrong way. When I asked for further clarification, he said that we were different; with regards to general appearance (what the??) and demeanor. All this was said with a smile and received with a raised eyebrow and quizzical expression.
Correct me if I'm wrong but when I think of the word exotic, I immediately think of rare reptilian animals or breath-taking landscapes as seen on desktop wallpapers. I know he meant this as a compliment, but I still...
As far as I'm concerned, there isn't anything exotic about another human being... Cultures are exotic but not physical traits. We have been seeing the same thing for thousands of years via the world wide web and good old television. Animals are exotic, plants are exotic; humans are just people. Granted our attributes vary regionally and from continent to continent, but individually, we are all unique, and thus we are all the same. I hope I'm not losing you.
The Online Oxford dictionary defines exotic as:
So pretty much anything that's foreign or appears to be foreign can be termed as exotic. With regards to race and population dominance, I would agree to some degree. Imagine me and my afro-bearing black self walking the streets of North Korea (a country with the lowest black population count according to good old Google), I am pretty sure I'd receive a few odd looks and a couple of ooohs and aaahs (I hope). In any case, I would definitely be an unusual sight.
If you support the notion that unique physical traits dictate exoticism, I implore you to shine some light on the point for my consideration. I don't quite understand it. My problem with this vein of thought, as far as my cynical mind is involved, is that this word carries some sort of classification thought process (racial, aesthetic, or what have you). It dictates definitions of beauty and/or normalcy.... I have a serious issue with this.
No two people are the same (save for identical twins, something that is unique to the individuals in any case). So why call out certain individuals for being different? What is different? Africans with green eyes? Albinism? Freckles? Red hair? ... What's more, if you are NOT considered exotic by your peers, would you accept the term 'ordinary'? Like hell I would!
Is exoticism synonymous with beauty? What is the correlation? The images in the post are the result of my Googling the word 'exotic models' on the search engine. I'll leave that to your judgment.
What are your thoughts? As always we invite any and all opinions... Heck, correct my ignorance if that be the case! I welcome it!
This post has incited a lot of opinions, some we agree with and some we dont. BTW I have missed you guys (Nyachomba) but I am back! I consider myself to be very expressive about my own opinions and love how you guys have come out to defend your own thoughts
Mary has had to explain herself in the comments but I think we still have a lot of social conditioning to get rid of. I believe that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and colours, we have done a few posts highlighting how we think that Africa is so blessed because of all the different colours we possess in the continent and how each and everyone is considered beautiful
However, I feel some comments went on to insinuate that biracial people are exotic to the continent or maybe in particular to Kenya. This saddens me greatly because again social conditioning has made Kenyans make biracial people feel like they should be on a pedestal and they are more beautiful because of their skin colour and curly hair. Yes they are beautiful but so I'm I with my dark skin and kinky curly hair, so are you with the ebony skin and so are you with the caramel complexion. I may go to Korea and be as exotic as strawberries growing in Turkana, does that make me more beautiful than them, I doubt it. They may grab at my hair considering they may have never seen an African with kinky hair...but that does not make me more beautiful than them
Please note that we are not attacking anyone, merely stating that everyone is beautiful! Exotic is only used to describe a state that is far from the norm to a particular area or place.
Enjoy the day. X