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Visions of Beauty


As I travel home on Royal Air Maroc, I have the opportunity to read a popular American fashion magazine. After a week in Morocco among mostly moderate Muslim women, I am struck by the brazenly bare outfits being modeled and the dramatically made-up faces staring out at me from the glossy pages. I am no stranger to the draw of the latest seasons' looks and own up to a few mini-skirts and pairs of gladiator sandals in my own closet, but in my short time in Morocco, I have once again become accustomed to a more natural, less flashy idea of fashion and beauty. While there are extremes, burkha clad women as well as Westernized, belly-button-baring girls, most dress with modesty and with care for their appearances. From the colorful, layered clothing of the Berber women of the argan cooperatives and the beautifully pure, untouched women of the mountain village (see in their traditional dress to the stylishly covered, more modern women of Casablanca, these women transmit pride in their heritage and confidence in their bearing. Even in the remote mountain villages, they have elaborately decorated their attire with great pride. Their pride comes from the craftsmanship of their work, the strength of their bodies that allows them to perform hard work, and the knowledge that their manner of dress reflects a connection to something deeper and age-old.
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