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Why is beauty STILL the primary virtue of women? (rant)


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So, I was reading about how France is trying to stop people from "inciting excessive thinness" by putting a stop to pro-ana and pro-mia websites and setting some standards for models on the runway.

That's enough for a thread in and of itself, but it got me to thinking. Why, in a supposedly advanced civilization in the 21st century do we still think the Beauty is the highest ideal to which a woman can aspire?  Fine, beauty is important for mate selection, I get that. What the hell does that have to do with the workplace, or any other aspect of life? Why can't I show up to work neat, well groomed and tidy instead of dyed, painted, trimmed, swathed in the most fashionable clothing and uncomfortable shoes money can buy?  Men get to show up neat and tidy and then excel, or not, based on their effort and skills. God forbid I try that though...people will think I'm depressed, a lesbian, or am too "lazy" to care about my appearance. I'm not a model, so why does my appearance matter, anyway?!

Why haven't we gotten past this? Why can't we judge women on their kindness, generosity, thoughtful insights on the issues of the day? On their skills or hard work?

Aaargh, I say!  Argh.

Well, enough of that. I have to go shave my legs and pluck my eyebrows. Thanks a lot, enlightened 21st century {stomps off muttering}

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Eyebrow plucking, ouch :(

I have no doubt that being beautiful is still a big part of modern society, but like a few of the things you mentioned, it's all about status now. It's about having a two hundred dollar hair cut and fashionable clothes and the trendy shoes. It's about appearing like you can keep up with the Joneses, or at least his wife. I think that this kind of thinking only thrives because people allow it to. No one is suddenly going to stop wearing those uncomfortable shoes because the woman down the aisle isn't going to either. It would take society as a whole taking down an entire industry to change any one's thinking. Everyone wants to be accepted, everyone wants to be a part of something, it's peer pressure.

I don't think it's just women anymore either. The whole metro thing has really taken off and it's expected that guys be not only clean but can also put together a fashionable outfit. And while I think it's a lot easier for men to excel based on their work ethic and skill, it's also about how they look and present themselves.

Everything today is about labels and appearances. My ten year old sister was picked on by a girl at school because she doesn't have designer clothes or purses, and that of course must make us poor.

But anyway, yes, it is apparently the enlightened 21st century we live in.  

Original Post by noelle31:

 I'm not a model, so why does my appearance matter, anyway?!

Why haven't we gotten past this? Why can't we judge women on their kindness, generosity, thoughtful insights on the issues of the day? On their skills or hard work?

Aaargh, I say!  Argh.

why can't you? 

why don't you?

it's got to start with someone - there is no one who can stop you

(and I think there are women who are successful in their careers who are tidy, neat, and well groomed, not judged solely by their appearance - 16 women senators and 71 women representatives are just one prominent example, plus there are millions of women who are self-employed and who get to decide for themselves what their work attire will be)

stop caring so much what other people think about you and just be who you really are

to thine own self be true

:)

I think there's always going to be shallow idiots, both men and women, who judge people based on the way they look.

I don't know if that will change. I know it's true now.

I know there's a number of us who judge women by more than their appearance.

Maybe you're with the wrong group of people?

Great post, Noelle. Today, just for you, I'm going to wash my face, put on my favorite jeans and a clean tank top and go to work. No heels, no makeup, just a clean and tidy me. I'm also going to kick butt at my job and be friendly to my colleagues.

About the metro thing - when did men stop wanting to be men? You know they have their own makeup lines now? Platform shoes and control garments? Geez. Find me a man who is strong and a bit stoic and not one who spends longer on his hair than I do.

Interesting..

So.. you aren't willing to play out the typical 'female' role, ser25, but you expect men to fill out the typical 'man' role?

Its hard wired from about 6 months old.

Reasearcher have studied a babies response to pictures of attractive people and the opposite.

They hold up 2 pictures with faces on them one pretty one not. babies will stare 2x longer at pretty picture!
I personally like making an effort with my apperance, if that helps me move along in my workplace quicker, great, if not i'm not fussed because it makes me feel better and more confident in myself, I'm just not as proactive when i'm dressed like a slob. In the same way that i can't motivate myself to work if there is a television on, i'm not motivated if i'm not dressed for the occasion.
Original Post by lifeizsweet:

I personally like making an effort with my apperance, if that helps me move along in my workplace quicker, great, if not i'm not fussed because it makes me feel better and more confident in myself, I'm just not as proactive when i'm dressed like a slob. In the same way that i can't motivate myself to work if there is a television on, i'm not motivated if i'm not dressed for the occasion.

 It's a false dichotomy to assert that there are only two choices:

  • primped, preened, made up, dressed to the nines
  • slob

the OP is not suggesting that she appear slovenly or unkempt

Neat, tidy, well groomed - what is the problem in that?

hkellick, I do play the typical female role. Are you saying that jeans and a t-shirt and a lack of makeup is un-feminine? I love wearing skirts all summer. I enjoy special occasions when I dress up with makeup and careful attention to my hair. However, this should not be required every day in order to get recognition in the workplace. It's not in my job description. We should have as much value to our employers regardless of fashion choices as long as we show up on time, clean and presentable, and not wearing anything offensive or distracting.
Original Post by ser25:

hkellick, I do play the typical female role. Are you saying that jeans and a t-shirt and a lack of makeup is un-feminine?

Are you saying that men who wear silk shirts or take care of their nails or even the Emo Eyeliner around the eyes is un-masculine?

That was kinda my point.

Yes, I do think it's un-masculine to wear eye makeup. Taking care of nails is general hygiene and not gender specific unless you're talking about putting on nail polish.

Silk shirts can be very attractive and masculine depending on the shirt. Does it have any pink lace?

Did you know that 50 years ago men didn't wear watches? "jewlery" was considered feminine. Before.. i think it's World War II, men didn't wear deoderant either... because scents were feminine.

There must be a happy medium for both sexes.

Gender Roles change, with time, with culture, etc.

I mean.. hell... in the 1500s in Europe, men WERE wearing makeup, and wigs, and frilly outfits. That was what was in.

Original Post by noelle31:

 Why can't I show up to work neat, well groomed and tidy instead of dyed, painted, trimmed, swathed in the most fashionable clothing and uncomfortable shoes money can buy? 

That's an excellent question - Why can't you?    Will someone actually accuse you of being lazy if you show up to work with unplucked eyebrows and not dressed in Donna Karan?  (And who's forcing you to wear uncomfortable shoes?)

I gotta wonder what industry you work in.  The world you seem to indicate is fictional is the one I work in everyday.

Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission. -Eleanor Roosevelt

Why is beauty STILL the primary virtue of women?

There are two equal primary virtues of women IMO.

Beauty - because it's the first thing males notice and attracts our attention. The average woman is extemely beautiful when she's fit and healthy. This is true almost without exception. The process of natural selection has ensured if you exist - you are beautiful. Many women get side tracked and live unhealthy life styles and as a result their "beauty" becomes hidden. I think the winner of the "Biggest Loser" is very much a case in point. She always was an extremely attractive woman. When the show started much of that was hidden due to her prior lifestyle choices. Now once again it is very obvious to all how beautiful she really is.

Personality - because it's the first thing males consider when we decide if we are going to stay interested. This is what either makes or breaks a woman in a man's eyes. If a beautiful goddess has traits of bitterness in her personality she's nothing in the eyes of an enlighted man but a twisted pretty face.  

That's the way the male brain is hardwired in the vast majority of cases. It's due to natural selection and evolution. It won't change anytime soon either.
hmmm interesting topic. i think my views are mixed on this. on one hand, i think it's a load of BS that women are judged so much on their appearance. then again, i put on make-up every day for work, like to look good, and love nice clothes and cars etc...

so does that make me a hypocrite? i don't know. i also don't think we can just blame men for it. a guy friend of mine and i were discussing it. he pointed out that when an attractive woman walks into a bar, he'll check her out, and if she's attractive he'll notice and that's that. but when other girls check each other out it's more "is she prettier, better dressed, more attractive?? etc etc etc." we tear each other apart!

i check out girls all the time. i check out their clothes and shoes and bags and hair and make-up. i suppose at some level i judge them on it. most of the time i think "wow, great shirt" or "i wonder where she gets her hair done?" but then there are times when i think "ugh, what was she thinking?" i can't help it, and i know i'm not the only one who does it!

i don't think it's fair that appearance plays a part in success for anyone. but i think it does, and i don't think it's changing anytime soon unfortunately.
Original Post by trainwreck:

Why is beauty STILL the primary virtue of women?

There are two equal primary virtues of women IMO.

Beauty - because it's the first thing males notice and attracts our attention. The average woman is extemely beautiful when she's fit and healthy. This is true almost without exception. The process of natural selection has ensured if your exist - you are beautiful. Many women get side tracked and live unhealthy life styles and as a result their "beauty" becomes hidden. I think the winner of the "Biggest Loser" is very much a case in point. She always was an extremely attractive woman. When the show started much of that was hidden due to her prior lifestyle choices. Now once againg it is very obvious to all how beautiful she really is.

Personality - because it's the first thing males consider when we decide if we are going to stay interested. This is what either makes or breaks a woman in a man's eyes. If a beautiful goddess has traits of bitterness in her personality she's nothing in the eyes of an enlighted man but a twisted pretty face.  

That's the way the male brain is hardwired in the vast majority of cases. It's due to natural selection and evolution. It won't change anytime soon either.

 I'm not sure what you're saying.  You're saying that men need to see coworkers or subordinates as potential sex partners in order to work well with them or hire them?

Original Post by nomoreexcuses:

I'm not sure what you're saying. You're saying that men need to see coworkers or subordinates as potential sex partners in order to work well with them or hire them?

Not as I read it..

He says.. yes, we do judge women by their beauty, but the average typical woman IS beautiful. But also that we judge women on their personalities and prefer women who are beautiful in and out and aren't Beautiful "Mean Girls"

About the metro thing - when did men stop wanting to be men


hahahahaah Who said "metro" guys didn't want to be men? Not all metrosexual guys wear makeup. I'd say that's not common. What's wrong with guys wanting to be fashionable and dress nice? Coming to Korea has made me realize how sloppily we all dress in the US and Canada, on average. The women are always dressed nice, even if it's just jeans. Same with the guys... It's a nice change of pace.
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