(VIDEO) Psychology Today on The Beauty Myth. Again, Seriously?
By Suzanne Reisman on November 04, 2010
BlogHer Original Post
According to Amy Alkon, either my husband is not biologically/genetically man or he is blind. That’s because I managed to “catch” (or “snag” or “land” -- she uses all of these hunting metaphors in her article ”The Truth About Beauty" in Psychology Today on why you better be attractive if you don’t want to die alone and poor with 17 cats who eat your face off before anyone even notices that you are missing because who would care about you anyway if you aren’t physically attractive according to a narrow set of standards) him while I was 35 pounds overweight and did not wear make-up.
Excuse me while I stroke the chin hairs that I missed with my tweezers this morning, because according to Alkon, he should have also left me years ago for an attractive woman who spends his money on laser hair removal or waxing. Yet we’ve been together for over 15 years and celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary this summer. Something is obviously very wrong with him (or me), so clearly any woman who wants a real man should not do anything I’ve done to find a partner who makes me happier than any other person on this earth.
Whew! Now that we’ve got that cleared up, don’t let me confuse you by saying that a surprising number of guys have been interested in me and my usually unshaved legs and armpits over the years. Alkon assures women not to be fooled by feminists like me who say that having something interesting to say and being a good (enough) person is as important as spending lots and lots of time on grooming! No! She notes:
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.
So I guess Neal, John C, John K, John B, John W, John E, (yeah, I tend to attract a strange number of men named John - maybe men named John are genetically predisposed to like mouthy, hairy, short, chubby Jewish woman?), Peter, Matt, Eugene, Dan, and Alex were not male, either. Sorry dudes. Of course I was not interested in all of them, and there are many guys whom I pined for who may or may not have returned my affection if I was prettier or thinner or less hairy. But at the end of the day, I suspect that I wouldn’t have really liked them because we’d probably not have as much in common as I did with the guys who were blinded to my terrible appearance by my sparkling wit and charming crabbiness.
OK, so now that I get that “being beautiful means—being sexually appealing to men,” what should I do about the fact that I’m not getting any younger and one day -- GOD FORBID -- something might happen to my husband and I won’t ever get so lucky to find another guy like him but obviously I’ll need another man because clearly the whole point of my life is to look good so I can get men? Alkon advises me not to try to look stereotypically appealing to men by buying into a confusing “beauty myth” because seriously, is anything more pathetic than older women trying to appeal to men by doing whatever they can to look young? No, she concludes. I should “try to look like sensual, older women.” Riiiiiight. -- all those genetically programmed men love cougars! Thank goodness!
There is some hope. Alkon reminds the ladies that we should not throw all our eggs in the looks basket; it’s OK to “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.” It’s just that I better use every second my spare time and lots of my income to make sure that I look good while I do it. Otherwise, who will care about any of that? Men won’t want to fuck me (or marry me). And if men don’t want me, then what is the point?
As usual, I have so lived my life completely wrong. I am obviously not taking good care of myself because I do not wear makeup or remove body hair on a regular basis. When I go to the gym, it is to improve my general health, not burn off the rice cakes that I ate for lunch with a salad (although I'm always glad to burn some fat, too). Damn those tricky feminists for fooling me into thinking that is really is OK to be myself and that the people who like me for it are actually the people I want to spend my time with! I know it seemed like that worked out thus far, but obviously I’ve been deluding myself.
I am not the only silly woman out there. Rita Arens from BlogHer and Surrender, Dorothy made this completely brilliant movie based on Alkon’s article:
Of course, her time might have been better spent finding the perfect lip gloss, but whatever. I like it. (Then again, we all know that means nothing because I am not conventionally attractive and the males I attract are really not males.)
The fools at Jezebel make their digs, too. I guess we are just angry, bitter feminists rather than people who seek balance in life. Whatevs.
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