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The Real Truth About Beauty
There’s nothing I love/hate more than a shitty article that at first glance looks like it has some intelligent content with a decent ability to apply to the real world but on closer inspection you realise it has the same level of intelligence as a box of hair. I love it because they are easy to mock but I hate it because dildos-for-brains writers are writing this crap *and* getting it published. Thus continues the cycle of misinformed masses.
I was emailed this article yesterday published in Psychology Today which quite frankly has been going downhill lately. If I want to see Dr Phil-esque pseudopsychological quackery – I’d watch reruns of Oprah. Oh peer review journals! What has become of thou?
Note: This is going to be a long post so pull up a chair and listen to some Placebo while reading. I’m not the only one to be pissed off at this article.
On to the show!
There are certain practical realities of existence that most of us accept. If you want to catch a bear, you don’t load the trap with a copy of Catch-22—not unless you rub it with a considerable quantity of raw hamburger. If you want to snag a fish, you can’t just slap the water with your hand and yell, “Jump on my hook, already!” Yet, if you’re a woman who wants to land a man, there’s this notion that you should be able to go around looking like Ernest Borgnine: If you’re “beautiful on the inside,” that’s all that should count. Right. And I should have a flying car and a mansion in Bel Air with servants and a moat.
Fail 1: The only way to land a man is to be the authours perception of beautiful. This is why no “average” looking women has ever been married or had a partner and why they only people who are dating look like Tyra Banks and Brad Pitt.
P.S. Ernest Borgnine was married 5 times. That means at least 5 women loved him and agrred to marry him. I’m starting to detect the authour is projecting somewhat.
Welcome to Uglytopia—the world reimagined as a place where it’s the content of a woman’s character, not her pushup bra, that puts her on the cover of Maxim.
While beauty magazines employ models for their looks, they also spend hours in makeup to look coverpage ready. Not to mention airbrushing, getting their hair done and rarely eating. The aim of the beauty industry is make women feel inadequate about their looks so they’ll go and buy tons of beauty products.
It just doesn’t seem fair to us that some people come into life with certain advantages—whether it’s a movie star chin or a multimillion-dollar shipbuilding inheritance. Maybe we need affirmative action for ugly people; make George Clooney rotate in some homely women between all his gorgeous girlfriends. While we wish things were different, we’d best accept the ugly reality: No man will turn his head to ogle a woman because she looks like the type to buy a turkey sandwich for a homeless man or read to the blind.
You can stop with the mass generalisations of all men now and oogling is just plain fucking creepy. While some men and women are shallow *coughliketheauthourofthisarticlecough* there are plenty of men and women who date and marry women for their personalities. Women have those you know.
There is a vast body of evidence indicating that men and women are biologically and psychologically different, and that what heterosexual men and women want in partners directly corresponds to these differences.
Where’s your research?
The features men evolved to go for in women—youth, clear skin, a symmetrical face and body, feminine facial features, an hourglass figure—are those indicating that a woman would be a healthy, fertile candidate to pass on a man’s genes.
Have you not read your history? While it’s true that the hourglass figure is popular – it didn’t gain popularity until after the Renaissance.
Although there are some aspects of female beauty that are similar to today, there are others that are quite different. From what can be gathered, the ideal female had more flesh and thicker arms and legs compared to today’s ideal. The imagined woman would be voluptuous and have a full figure. Her bust would appear full with no signs of bones. The ideal female would also have pale skin, much unlike tanned look that is popular in our modern era. To accompany this desired skin was blond hair, which made women appear more youthful than dark locks.
These preferences span borders, cultures, and generations, meaning yes, there really are universal standards of beauty.
Only for the last few hundreds years in the West but certainly not across all cultures and tribes.
And while Western women do struggle to be slim, the truth is, women in all cultures eat (or don’t) to appeal to “the male gaze.” The body size that’s idealized in a particular culture appears to correspond to the availability of food. In cultures like ours, where you can’t go five miles without passing a 7-Eleven and food is sold by the pallet-load at warehouse grocery stores, thin women are in. In cultures where food is scarce (like in Sahara-adjacent hoods), blubber is beautiful, and women appeal to men by stuffing themselves until they’re slim like Jabba the Hut.
Fat shaming! I bet the authour was a fat kid who got bullied and had a lot of self hatred issues.
I’m guessing the title “my standard of beauty is the only correct one.” for this article didn’t win favours with the editors.
Men’s looks matter to heterosexual women only somewhat. Most women prefer men who are taller than they are, with symmetrical features (a sign that a potential partner is healthy and parasite-free). But, women across cultures are intent on finding male partners with high status, power, and access to resources—which means a really short guy can add maybe a foot to his height with a private jet.
Still not seeing any sources.
And, just like women who aren’t very attractive, men who make very little money or are chronically out of work tend to have a really hard time finding partners. There is some male grumbling about this. Yet, while feminist journalists deforest North America publishing articles urging women to bow out of the beauty arms race and “Learn to love that woman in the mirror!”, nobody gets into the ridiculous position of advising men to “Learn to love that unemployed guy sprawled on the couch!”
So basically what the authour is saying is no woman who is the authours version of ugly and no unemployed man will ever find a partner because all women are gold-diggers looking for rich men and all men are shallow jerks who only worry about how attractive his partner is.
Now, before you brand me a traitor to my gender, let me say that I’m all for women having the vote, and I think a woman with a mustache should make the same money as a man with a mustache. But you don’t help that woman by advising her, “No need to wax that lip fringe or work off that beer belly!” (Because the road to female empowerment is…looking just like a hairy old man?)
I’ve branded you an idiot, is that better? The road to female empowerment is not having idiots like the authour dictate how women should look in order to have value as a person or to progress in a career. The empowerment of women means looking like a hairy old man and that being perfectly acceptable.
But take The Beauty Myth author Naomi Wolf: She contends that standards of beauty are a plot to keep women politically, economically, and sexually subjugated to men—apparently by keeping them too busy curling their eyelashes to have time for political action and too weak from dieting to stand up for what they want in bed. Wolf and her feminist sob sisters bleat about the horror of women being pushed to conform to “Western standards of beauty”—as if eyebrow plucking and getting highlights are the real hardships compared to the walk in the park of footbinding and clitoridectomy. Most insultingly, Wolf paints women who look after their looks as the dim, passive dupes of Madison Ave nue and magazine editors. Apparently, women need only open a page of Vogue and they’re under its spell—they sleepwalk to Sephora to load up on anti-wrinkle potions, then go on harsh diets, eating only carrots fertilized with butterfly poo.
That’s what the beauty industry has been designed to make women do.
It turns out that the real beauty myth is the damaging one Wolf and other feminists are perpetuating—the absurd notion that it serves women to thumb their noses at standards of beauty. Of course, looks aren’t all that matter (as I’m lectured by female readers of my newspaper column when I point out that male lust seems to have a weight limit).
Tell that to the boyfriend of my fat sister. The guy has this thing, you know where he doesn’t give a flying fuck about her weight and cares about her as a person.
But looks matter a great deal. The more attractive the woman is, the wider her pool of romantic partners and range of opportunities in her work and day-to-day life. We all know this, and numerous studies confirm it—it’s just heresy to say so.
I’m not denying reality, I just don’t like it and won’t settle for a world where a woman’s worth and career advancement soley hinges on whether others find her attractive.
We consider it admirable when people strive to better themselves intellectually; we don’t say, “Hey, you weren’t born a genius, so why ever bother reading a book?” Why should we treat physical appearance any differently?
Knowledge is useful. Being knowledgable enough to invent something that advances society is useful. Being beautiful by this idiots authours standard provides no usefulness to society.
For example, research shows that men prefer women with full lips, smaller chins, and large eyes—indicators of higher levels of estrogen. Some lucky women have big eyes; others just seem to, thanks to the clever application of eyeshadow. As the classic commercial says, “Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline.” (If it increases her options, who cares which it is?)
You have no point and No. Fucking. Research. Evidence.
Unfortunately, because Americans are so conflicted and dishonest about the power of beauty, we approach it like novices.
Unfortunately, because Americans are so conflicted and dishonest about the power of beauty that society has constructed as the new ideal, we approach it like novices
At one end of the spectrum are the “Love me as I am!” types, like the woman who asked me why she was having such a terrible time meeting men…while dressed in a way that advertised not “I want a boyfriend” but “I’m just the girl to clean out your sewer line!”
There are clothes that advertise that you want a partner? Really? Are there examples? Is there a store?
At the other extreme are women who go around resembling porn-ready painted dolls. Note to the menopausal painted doll: Troweled on makeup doesn’t make you look younger; it makes you look like an aging drag queen.
“Going to clean out your sewer line” girl or “Porn ready painted doll”. Women just cannot win with this woman. Either we don’t adhere to the beauty standard and we’re losers or we do and we’re losers who are slut-shamed.
Likewise, being 50 and trying to look 25 through plastic surgery usually succeeds in making a woman look 45 and fembot-scary—an object of pity instead of an object of desire. Plastic surgery you can easily spot is usually a sign—either of really bad work or of somebody who’s gone way over the top with it, probably because she’s trying to fill some void in her life with silicone, Juvederm, and implanted butt cutlets. There are women who just want to fix that one nagging imperfection. For others, plastic surgery is like potato chips, as in, “Betcha can’t eat just one.” A woman comes in for a lunchtime lip job—an injection of Restylane or another plumping filler—and ends up getting both sets of lips done. Yes, I’m talking about labioplasty. (Are your vagina lips pouty?)
All I’m hearing is “Adhere to the beauty standards my way or get the fuck out”.
Once women start seeing wrinkles and crow’s feet, the desperation to look like they were born yesterday often makes them act like it, too. Women want to believe there’s such a thing as “hope in a jar”—and there is: hope from the CEO selling the jars that you and millions of others will buy him a new yacht and a chateau in the south of France. There actually is hope to be found in a plastic bottle—of sunblock, the kind that protects against both UVA and UVB rays (the skin-aging ones). But the Beauty Brains, a group of blogging cosmetic scientists, write, “The sad truth is that creams that claim to be anti-aging are not much more effective than standard moisturizing lotions.”
Wow. The authour is promoting the beauty standard yet complaining about what measures it makes women go to, to be able to adhere to it? Make up your mind woman!
French women, too, buy into the idea that there’s some fountain of youth at the Clarins counter. But, perhaps because feminism never seeped into mainstream culture in France like it did here, they generally have a healthier and more realistic relationship with beauty, accepting it as the conduit to love, sex, relationships, and increased opportunities. They take pleasure in cultivating their appearance, and in accentuating their physical differences from men. They don’t give up on looking after their looks as they age, nor do they tart themselves up like sexy schoolgirls at 50. They simply take pride in their appearance and try to look like sensual, older women.
All french women are hot? Nice to know. What happens to the ugly/deformed ones?
To understand what it takes to be beautiful, we need to be very clear about what being beautiful means—being sexually appealing to men. And then, instead of snarling that male sexuality is evil, we need to accept that it’s just different—far more visually-driven than female sexuality. To focus our efforts, we can turn to an increasing number of studies by evolutionary psychologists on what most men seem to want.
Beauty = what men want not what makes women happy in themselves? Beauty is apparently defined by whether or not the woman can give a guy a hard-on. This is problematic since every mans idea of beautiful is different.
For example, the University of Texas’ Devendra Singh discovered that men, across cultures, are drawn to a woman with an hourglass figure. Men like to see a wom an’s waist—even on the larger ladies—so burn those muumuus, which only reveal your girlish figure in a Category 5 hurricane, and if you don’t have much of a waist, do your best to give yourself one with the cut of your clothes or a belt.
Too many women try to get away with a bait-and-switch approach to appearance upkeep. If you spend three hours a day in the gym while you’re dating a guy, don’t think that you can walk down the aisle and say “I do…and, guess what…now I don’t anymore!” A woman needs to come up with a workable routine for maintaining her looks throughout her lifetime and avoid rationalizing slacking off— while she’s seeking a man and after she has one. Yeah, you might have to put five or ten extra minutes into prettying up just to hang around the house. And, sure, you might be more “comfortable” in big sloppy sweats, but how “comfortable” will you be if he leaves you for a woman who cares enough to look hot for him?
So we come to the crux of the article: Women need to be the authours standard of beauty all the time because it’s the only way she’ll ever get a man and keep him. How. Fucking. Sexist.
Like French women, we, too, need to understand that a healthy approach to beauty is neither pretending it’s unnecessary or unimportant nor making it important beyond all else. By being honest about it, we help women make informed decisions about how much effort to put into their appearance—or accept the opportunity costs of going ungroomed. The truth is, like knowledge, beauty is power. So, ladies, read lots of books, develop your mind and your character, exercise the rights the heroes of the women’s movement fought for us to have, and strive to become somebody who makes a difference in the world. And, pssst…while you’re doing all of that, don’t forget to wear lipgloss.
I’m going to forget the lipgloss and be content in the knowledge that my brains, my wit, my personality and my character is what is going to make me successful and loved because I already am both of those things.
As soon as women stop wrapping their self worth, self esteem and self confidence up in how other people view them, the better off we’ll all be.
I sincerely hope Psychology Today was trolling us but I sadly doubt it.
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