Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What is r@w?

For all the engleejis, it's pronounced "rohw" and spelled raw.
I've been given several definitions ranging from "exceedingly tacky", "someone from the interior who is trying to act modern" and "Things that most Arabs like but that we don't like." 

Eithaar had a slightly more in-depth explanation.

 It's used much in the same way as affluent Columbian teens use the word "ratchet" as they walk through a Wal-mart and point out various bling-ful and weave-ful items. And if you're looking for raw, Lulu is the place.
If Wal-mart, a Dollar General, a TJ Maxx and a Food Lion had a baby in some kind of bizarre consumerism orgy, they would name it Lulu and exile it to the Arabian peninsula. It is a vast and shiny land, filled with bright colors, frustrated-looking workers who don't appreciate loud groups of teenage girls, and so. much. stuff. And apparently, a lot of it "raw" stuff. 
So far I've gathered that this is raw: 
This is raw: 
And this is very very raw: 
What looks like a vertical bed of gigantic flowers is actually a rack of these things that some girls put under their headscarfs to make their heads look big and poufy....because, I guess that's a desirable thing. Pretty much the definition of raw. 

Being an outsider, it's very strange to see the same genre of biases and stereotypes I see at home, but in a completely different cultural context. I have nothing hilarious or preach-y to say about this, frustrated and repressed sociology major inside of me (don't worry Dad, I promise to study something useful that won't have me working at Starbucks all my life) just finds it fascinating. It's very easy to see how natural the creation of an "other," an embarrassing or backward social group, is in a changing culture, I wonder if it's entirely unavoidable. 

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