Ladies. Allow me to clarify a few issues. You have mistaken capitalism for beauty. There is nothing wrong with you, it’s just that companies cannot sell you what you already are. Their customers are either people who don’t like how they look, or people who are afraid of losing how they look. That’s what motivates fashion.
People selling something need to make you feel ugly or worried each season so they can sell you a whole bunch of pants, tops, skirts and dresses to replace the pants, tops, skirts and dresses you already worked hard to pay for. Otherwise you’d be out having fun.
It’s no coincidence that advertising by clothing and cosmetics companies etc. presents models so heavily photo-shopped, with pore-less skin and lengthened legs, that it is entirely impossible for a woman to actually look like them.
Men are also influenced by those images (as well as ones targeted at them). But the simple fact is that those aren’t intended as images of what men find attractive –they are only designed to be images of everything you’re not.
Yes most straight men will look at a woman who fits what’s advertised to them as pretty or sexy, but that still has little bearing on who a man truly values or wants to be with.
I remember hearing a radio interview about a study that was done where men were asked to identify ‘hot’ women from a series of thousands of photos. When they were asked to look again through the photos to identify who they would like to try dating, almost none of the ‘hot’ girls were included.
During interviews it came out that the men used ‘hot’ as a term for women who look like the ones who the media defines as sexy. But that did not mean they wanted to date them. They may genuinely like that look, or they may have wanted to sleep with them if they’re that type, but overall the ‘hot’ girls were not the ones they wanted to take home to introduce to Mom. They weren’t the girls the boys wanted to keep.
I love sexiness, but it’s become entirely over-valued. While sex is important in most relationships, even if you have it a lot it still only represents less than 1% of your time together, so it can’t be the basis of the relationship.
It’s true that a younger man will put up with emotional agony for sex with a ‘hot’ girl. But by the time he’s in his late twenties most guys know that the more a girl works to be beautiful the less likely she will be to feel beautiful.
The major downside to women striving to be some media-based ideal is that she’ll often look to the guy she’s with to bolster her self-esteem and eventually that gets tired. In the end the guy wants the confident girl who’s at ease with herself because she’s far easier to be around.
Advertising makes its money by hiding the truth from us. No woman truly needs men to tell them they’re beautiful. They simply have to love themselves and know that there is no shortage of men who love all kinds of women.
Lots of men prefer chubby women over skinny women. Or funny girls more than pretty girls. Or trustworthy ladies more than jealous ones. Or smart women more than shallow women. Or socially conscious women more than selfish ones. Or friendly women more than fashionable women.
Our lives are made up of what is in our own consciousness, so no one can really live with ‘skinny’ or ‘fashionable.’ But our psychology can certainly live with people who are funny, trustworthy, smart, social conscious or friendly.
Once people live long enough to realize that beauty really is just a social construct, then they can surrender their belief in it. When they do they also learn why a stretch-marked, confident forty year old woman is much sexier than a “hot” twenty year old with low self-esteem.
By forty a wise woman knows life is short and she wants to have fun, so she asks for what she wants and she doesn’t care too much about the details of any guy’s opinions. She’s focused on what she would like from the experience rather than on how some guy will judge her.
None of us should let our cultures convince us to stop being ourselves. Girls in Polynesia and parts of Africa had lovely Rubenesque figures. That was their version of sexy. That’s what they found natural and their men were attracted to. But then TV showed up and started pitching products.
Not surprisingly, those companies are always trying to get us to do the impossible —that’s what keeps us all on the treadmill and buying them. It’s like a carrot tied to a stick, strapped to our head. It’ll always be dangling in front of us. We’ll never get there.
The effect of commercialization and giant ad budgets is that now girls all over the world want to be just like Western girls. They want to be skinny, have whiter skin, whiter teeth, and no hair on their bodies. All because they got taught to be that way.
But do you want to know what a confident, clear-headed, truly desirable man finds attractive? I don’t know. Because it’s different for every man. Which is why a woman should be herself —an individual. Because otherwise the confident man who would be attracted to her won’t even be able to find her because she’ll be dressed like a mannequin.
We all need to stop thinking about what’s acceptable. Ladies; start having a strong woman’s confidence. People thought Madame Curie should be a housewife instead of a female scientist, but she was a scientist anyway. People thought Betty White should be dignified in her old age, but she was ribald and funny anyway. And you thought you should be fashionable, but your fashion should be what you like and feel comfortable in.
Modern society is cruel, judgmental, greedy and selfish. It is a product of its primary forces, one of which is advertising. No woman is ugly and none are beautiful because there are no such things. There are only perspectives.
It is only because of mass media that some perspectives were made to appear to be more valuable than others. The most important opinion about your life should come from you. The rest is just people talking, so do not turn their talk into your self-talk or you’ll lose yourself in trying to please others. There are better ways to live than that.
Following a serious childhood brain injury Scott McPherson unwittingly spent his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and the self. This made him as strange to others as they were to him. Seeing the self-harm people created with their own overthinking, Scott dedicated part of his life to helping others live with greater awareness. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB, where he finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.