Women Across the Globe
This Bollywood beauty is a shrewd businesswoman, raking in the American equivalent of about $15 million a film. But you will not see sex in her movies. Not even a kiss. "I come from the land of the Kama Sutra," Aishwarya says. "So we obviously do have a normal, healthy sex life. [Kissing] is a more private expression of emotions. So I guess art imitates life and that kind of comes across in our cinema as well."
Oprah: I think you're gorgeous. When you look at yourself, do you see that?
Aishwarya: To me, beautiful is as beautiful does. I think that's what speaks volumes. It isn't about the apparent gig. It's about what you do.
Ash also follows tradition and lives at home with her parents like most single Indian women. "Back home, you're a loser if you say, 'Mom, I'm out of here,'" Ash says. "In India it's more about the family, about living together, about remaining connected, and that's probably the most beautiful special thing about it."
Oprah: We did a show recently where we were looking at women around the world, and we were talking to French women at a cafe. ... They said [Americans] are all fat.
Aishwarya: I'm from India, I wouldn't say that because Indian people, Indian people eat well, we're well endowed.
Oprah: Do they say we're rude?
Aishwarya: No, Indian people are very hospitable.
Oprah: Do they say we talk too much?
Aishwarya: Opinionated maybe.
Oprah: Do they say we get a lot of divorces?
Aishwarya: Ah, that could be a discussion.
Oprah: You know what, you could be a diplomat!
"Ireland is a country steeped in tradition, myth, legend and storytelling. We also have our native language, Gaelic. Goodbye, slán!"
"You Americans, you've got the French fries, but originally it comes from Belgium. You know you eat them with tomato ketchup. But we Belgians, we eat them with mayonnaise. Lots of mayonnaise. We are very proud of our beers. We are really a beer country. We have more than 200 different kinds of beers. We also have beers with fruity taste...especially made for women. Cheers!"
Iceland is known for its tall, blonde, blue-eyed women, and when it comes to fashion, it's at the top of the world. Designers like to use natural materials from the island like wool for unique sweaters and fish skin for handbags. Iceland is also one of the safest places in the world. "We have a very low crime rate. In fact, our police officers don't even carry guns," Thorunn says. "And we're quite comfortable leaving our children on the sidewalk by themselves while we go in to shop. We also make sure our children sleep outside for at least an hour a day. Even in the winter. The fresh air is very good for them. Oprah, you should try sleeping outside. It's positively invigorating!"
During the winter months, the sun only shines for a few hours a day in Iceland but during the summer, they have 24 hours of sunlight! Reykjavik has the reputation of being the party capital of the world and the nightlife year round makes it the city that never sleeps. "We don't even start to go out until after midnight and we stay out sometimes until 6 a.m. at least," Thorunn says.
Asking someone out on a date is easy to do in Iceland because there is one phone book for the entire country—home, work and cell phone numbers for just under 300,000 people! "I guess we're a bit liberal about things because we have a much lower threshold for beginning new relationships," Savhildur says. "We don't have this kind of a dating thing. You don't have to go on a date number one and two and perhaps on the third date you ask him in. We don't have rules like that."
And what does Svanhildur think of American television? "We have a lot of news coming from America in Iceland," Svanhildur says laughing. "And we often have photos of obese people walking down the street—people that are so fat that you couldn't find a single person in Iceland that would be that fat. Anyway, even though you have really obese people, you've also got the rest [who are] really good-looking. I've been watching a lot of American television for the last days and I think you have too many commercials trying to make you lose weight."
According to Marta, how do people in Portugal perceive Americans? "Most Portuguese," Marta admits, "think Americans are ignorant about countries outside the United States—like the United States is the whole world and you don't know much about the culture of other countries."
Singapore is known for its strict laws and penalties. Spitting on the ground, littering, jaywalking and failing to flush a public toilet are illegal actions and offenders are subject to stiff fines. "Oprah, I hear you're not a big fan of chewing gum," Tara says. "Then you should come to Singapore! You won't find chewing gum here because it's illegal to sell it."
Singaporean women share Americans' passion for get-thin-quick schemes. "Slimming salons" promise weight loss without dieting or exercise. Electronic wave therapy and anti-cellulite massage are two of the most popular treatments.
Gruesome photographs of Rania's injuries were printed in newspapers worldwide. She became the first Saudi woman ever to publicly show her battered face. Her husband was convicted of severe battery and sentenced to six months in jail and 300 lashes. In publicizing her private struggle, Rania became the first face of domestic violence in Saudi Arabia. The story of her beating and courage swept the globe.
"I don't feel like I'm a hero," Rania says. "... I feel that no woman should be a victim to her husband, or a victim in anyway. A woman should have the ability to choose her own destiny."
Their organization JustVision.org raises awareness about Palestinians and Israelis who are building a base for peace in the Middle East through educational resources and documentary film. Visit www.justvision.org to learn more.