Also it's illustrated with (marginally NWS?) silhouettes of naked women, just to really class up the joint. Funny thing is, I can't really tell to whether the women are "beautiful" or not. They're just naked. If being pointlessly, even inappropriately sexual is beauty, then I can be beautiful too! Although I might get arrested.
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!"
The article kicks off with two of my favorite argumentative fallacies:
The Fallacy Of That's Just Life: "What do you mean, you have pneumonia and you want antibiotics? Listen up, sometimes you just have to cough and choke and wheeze, and that's just life. Suck it up, grow the hell up, and deal. Life's not fair, and sometimes life hands you infections. God, stop acting like problems can be solved."
This fallacy is excellent for dismissing any kind of social injustice whatsoever, or for that matter, any kind of statement whatsoever. There is absolutely no observation, no matter how banal or penetrating, that cannot be handwaved away with "whatever, that's just life." Thanks a lot for that insight, champ. Everything's life... and life can change.
The Fallacy Of The Completely Batshit Analogy: "If you want to change your clothes, you don't eat an entire bucket of red paint. So don't expect to start your car by turning the key!"
This fallacy is excellent for creating the outward appearance of a rhetorical point, but be aware that this appearance is only 0.013 microns deep, and even light fingernail scratches may completely rupture it. For example, it turns out that men are not bears or fish (well, some of them are bears, but bear with me here) and that beauty is not hamburger or nightcrawlers. Also, a dead man in a trap in my apartment would be both legally inconvenient and sexually useless.
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.
Fun fact: Ernest Borgnine is married. It's almost like he has something interesting or appealing about him besides his decorative value! Oh, but wait, he has a penis, so all the rules are completely different for whatever reason.
Also, if you look like Ernest Borgnine--if you literally look like him, rather than just looking like an average woman who's a bit slovenly and a bit overweight, which I'm sure is what the writer means here and is expressing in the most schoolyard-bully terms possible--ain't no beauty regimen in the world gonna change that, so you're not "going around" that way, you're stuck with it, and for the writer to rub it in that you can't possibly deserve love is just a pointlessly assholish move.
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.
Yeah, yeah, I get that, I'm a hilarious strawman for hallucinating that anyone cares about about the character of a
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.
That's fine, because I don't actually get much out of being ogled except creeped the fuck out. Ogling so rarely leads to a healthy long-term partnership.
I used to give sandwiches to homeless people every day. I worked at McDonald's as a teenager and I'd bag up my employee meals and give them to the local street people. And you know, it didn't get me laid. It got homeless people fed. Forgive me if I'm going off topic here, but there are things in life that can be important and valuable regardless of whether they get a dick stuffed in you or not.
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.
This again. I've never been convinced that these actually have anything to do with health and fertility beyond not having gross malformations, but what I'm noticing this time is how this doesn't even begin to cover the modern beauty standard. Try being a young hourglassy etc. woman who doesn't wear makeup, doesn't shave her legs, cuts her hair short, wears cargo pants and is overweight, and you'll... probably meet guys who are into that, actually, but that's not my point. You're not going to get a lot of credit from society at large for being "objectively beautiful" just because you look healthy.
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."
Well... yeah. Unfortunately. I guess the thesis of this article is "the concept of beauty exists, therefore it must be right."
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.
No he can't. An unattractive guy can get more chicks with a private jet, but the chicks are thinking "if I marry him I can quit my job and I'll never be hungry again, and he's not that bad," not "my vagina is responding directly to his wealth and I am so wet." And should a single woman ever acquire a private jet (they're letting us own property these days), I have a sneaking suspicion she'll suddenly have quite a few guys willing to overlook minor asymmetries.
An unattractive guy without a private jet can also take the here-unmentioned option of being an interesting and likeable person. Appearance and "status" aren't the only two dimensions of a human being.
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!"
That's because it's not the same thing. Beauty isn't the female money. Money is the female money.
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?)
The road to female empowerment is looking just like a hairy old woman, if that's what you look like. And still having some damn power.
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.
It's not that we don't want to acknowledge reality. It's just that we don't want to settle for the current reality, not when it's balls-terrible. (Particularly the "work and day-to-day life" bit.) The fact that discrimination exists doesn't justify discrimination.
I'm particularly bothered that the author isn't bothered that this is almost entirely a problem for women. Apparently the immutable, undeniable, writ-in-our-genes-for-eternity "power of beauty" just goes away completely if you have a wiener.
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?
Because knowledge is useful. Being someone who's read a ton of books actually isn't particularly desirable, but being someone who's read a ton of books and synthesized the knowledge into a new theory or invention is. Whereas you make yourself "beautiful" (by the standards of the editors of "Maxim" magazine circa early 2011, I'm guessing) and then... you stand around being all beautiful and stuff. Whoooo.
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!"
Is there a way to dress that advertises "I want a boyfriend"? Seriously now. I want diagrams.
Me, I kind of like dressing in the way that advertises "I want a boyfriend, but only if I can have one who will let me 'get away' with dressing in a comfortable and practical manner, the way he takes for granted when it comes to himself."
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.
Oh, ouch. The whole article up to this point was about "ladies, you only exist so you can conform to the beauty standard and you shouldn't expect anything out of life if you don't," and then there's this sudden swing to making fun of women who believed this and tried too hard. Apparently if I wasn't considerate enough to be born a supermodel and stay one my entire life, I should just... just... just fuck off, I guess, because the author's attitude here to people who don't look good even after doing the "beauty" stuff seems to be that we're so subhuman as to be unworthy of consideration.
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.
I'm not French or a Franceologist here, so I'm just putting this up in case I have any French readers--madames et mademoiselles, is France in fact the land of universal beauty, where all women have found perfect happiness through perfect femininity?
And if so, what do you do with the women who were just born funny-lookin' and don't have anything to "cultivate"? Do you ship them all to Belgium?
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.
I don't think male sexuality is evil. (I think it's kind of awesome sometimes.) It's just not my problem.
Most of my life, I'm not trying to get laid. I'm going to work, shopping, walking around my neighborhood, hanging out with friends, whatever. If beauty is all about giving dudes wood, I don't see why I should be beautiful at those times.
And while wood has its place in dating and sexual attraction, if someone tells me that I can't be hired or taken seriously or treated decently because I don't give him wood, he's an asshole. Male sexuality isn't evil; but believing that male sexuality should be catered to in nonsexual situations or determines someone's human worth is evil.
There seems to be a huge conflation in this article (and, unfortunately, in a lot of other places) between "you should be be beautiful to get a man" and "you should be beautiful all the time and everywhere, just because." The first is sort of true, with the caveat that men's preferences differ considerably and their attraction isn't purely physical. The second is complete sexist bullshit.
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.
But if I do forget to wear lipgloss, pssst... don't forget about my mind and character and rights and striving to make a difference in the world.