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Men are in constant competition with each other, trying to assert dominance, or at least a place on the upper rungs of the hierarchal ladder. Men are motivated by a multitude of punishments and rewards to compete in this game of being a “Man.” This game is unwinnable though, and being successful at the patriarchal version of manliness is not the same as being a successful person. Or a good person. Or a happy person.

Men compete with each other in many ways, like how tall they are, how athletic, prestige of their job, how much money they make, how expensive and fast or large their car is, how large their house is, and other trappings of power. Men also use the woman at their side in this competition.

I have heard many men say that physical attractiveness is very important, if not the most important thing, when choosing a girlfriend or wife. I think this is mostly/mainly conditioned and a response to the constant competition they are in with other men in the patriarchy system.
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I believe men can be and are actually attracted to women of all shapes, colors, and sizes. I have come to this conclusion by reading lots of book set in different lands and different times, as well as just living life and seeing it with my own two eyes.

First of all, what do we mean by attraction? Do we just mean sexual attraction? Do we just mean what we see can see with our eyes? Like roundness. A smoldering stare. The fine curly hairs at the nape of the neck. All the beautiful tones of skin color. A shrug of possibility.

What about your other senses? The texture of skin on different parts of the body. The sound of a gasp. A scent that smells like coming home or visiting a foreign territory. The taste of a warm, hungry, wet mouth.

What other aspects add to attraction (def. – 1. providing pleasure or delight, pleasing 2. arousing interest or engaging one’s thought)? Are they funny? Interesting? Smart? Do they share your interests? Do they inspire you ? Do they support you? Do you feel safe to be vulnerable? Do they excite you with the promise of something you can’t get by being alone? Are you sexually compatible? I would say that all of these things are more important to a happy relationship than physical attractiveness.

Even if we are only talking about a one night stand there are more important things than physical beauty. Good looking doesn’t equal good in the sack, or up against the wall. A symmetrical face and shiny hair don’t necessarily bring fun to the bedroom, or sexiness, playfulness, shared kinks, stamina, imagination, tenderness, or intimacy.  Men are severely limiting themselves when they make a certain kind of physical attractiveness (young, thin, bosomy, long hair, blond, etc)  a priority in a relationship, even just a sexual relationship.

So, why do men make such a big deal about the physical appearance of women? I think it is in part because physical beauty is easy to see and judge and so easier to make use of in their competition with each other.

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For women to be useful in their competition they have to be flattened out, compartmentalized into various pieces so they can be more easily compared to each other. Then the judges (other men) know how many points of power to add to or subtract from the man to whom the woman “belongs”. Common attributes to be judged are:

weight (we all know thin is a win)
height (not taller than the man because men reserve height to compete with each other)
breasts (C and D cups get the most approval)
skin color (White in the western world, and we are unfortunately exporting that prejudice around the globe)
hair length (long is traditional and conforms to gender norms, so, of course, the patriarchy rewards it)
age (youth ranks higher than maturity)
and averageness of facial features (nothing too ethnic, and it is better for the nose and mouth to be too small than too big, but large eyes are a sign of youthfulness)

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Other aspects about a women like her intelligence, sense of humor, kindness, interests, ambitions, and  creativity take too long to ascertain. It is much too complex to compare personalities of one woman with another and also take into account personality compatibility with her partner. So those most important aspects are disregarded and physical looks, which are quick and easy to judge, are prioritized.

Of course men do take personality and compatibility into account. But there is enormous pressure put on them by the patriarchal society to compete and they worry that other men will add or subtract points of “man power” based on the physical attractiveness of the woman they are with.

Yet, many men have opted out of this and other areas of patriarchal competitions. They are honest with themselves that they can be and are attracted to women of all shapes, colors, and sizes. They long for something more than a trophy. They want intimacy and friendship and good sex with an equal partner.

Actually, I think pretty much all men would want that if they could have it. But some are afraid to give up whatever trappings of power they think they possess. They are afraid of being on a lower rung of the ladder than the other men around them. They are afraid of losing the competition. But life doesn’t have to be a competition.

Men who are reading this, wouldn’t it be nice not to have to worry about that shit anymore? Wouldn’t it be a relief to just stop playing a game that limits your choices, wastes your finite time, and hurts you? Not to mention oppresses the lives of half the population, including your mother, your wife, and your daughter. Because, while focusing on a narrow definition of physical beauty limits your choices and chances of a happy and healthy relationship with compatible partner, that focus affects women in much more damaging ways. Women are bleaching their hair, their skin, and their vaginas, cutting up their faces, their breasts, their stomachs and butts, straightening, flattening, botoxing, suctioning, starving themselves to death, dieting themselves into depression, hating and shaming themselves every time they look into the mirror. In a patriarchal system men’s attempt to feel powerful and secure makes women literally depressed, disfigured, and dead.

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p.s. I use Barbie Doll in the title as shorthand for young, thin, bosomy, long hair, blond, etc. If you are young, thin, bosomy, long hair, blond, etc I am not judging you. Young, thin, bosomy, long hair, blond, etc is one of many ways that women can look. I do not mean that you are a doll, that you are fake, or that you are less than other women. I am not actually talking about you. I am talking about men and how they are conditioned to find a specific look attractive.

p.p.s. I hope that as you read this you understood that when I said men or women I didn’t mean every single man and every single woman but that I was speaking in generalities and talking about a system to affects all our lives to some degree. If you are a guy that does not feel like you use woman in in your competition with other men that is a good thing. I hope more men make the choice. We don’t have to argue about that. If you disagree that that is a thing that happens, or that it is a bad thing, or that the majority of men should and can opt out of that competition then we can continue the debate in the comments.

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