Thursday, September 22, 2011

Are Women Addicted to Beauty?

I came across this post over at the Good Men Project a day or so ago. Tom Matlack has been pondering about women and beauty and asked a (rather) small sample of women a question:
I have written a lot about the acceleration of pornography and the sex trade in our country and its impact on both boys and girls. I am currently researching and just trying to get my arms around a related but different question: what is the relationship between the fashion industry and our concepts of gender? Specifically, how does fashion relate to the more obvious ways in which female sexuality is objectified?

The thing I am beginning to try to unpack is just how much of fashion occurs in an orbit that is unrelated to men. I am thinking of things like handbags, shoes, and the red carpet. Men truly don’t care or see it as a form of female sexuality. Many women care a lot.
An interesting and worthwhile question in my opinion.

There's no question that men play some role in why women put so much into fashion and beauty however I (and probably) don't believe that all responsibility for the relationship can be laid on men.

To any woman that answers this here I only ask that in the interest of fair play you also head over to Tom's post and respond there too.


Clarissa said...

Of course, an interest in beauty and fashion has very very little to do with a woman's desire to be liked by men. As I person who is very much into fashion and who is also very uninterested in attracting any men (since I'm in a blissfully happy relationship), I can tell you that it's just a hobby, an area of interest, like any other. Saying that women who are very fashion and beauty-conscious do it to attract men is the same as saying that playing video games is something many men do to impress women. :-)

rox said...

I have so many thoughts on this. I was one of those "Never should a woman seek beauty"! Sorts of anti-fashion people in my youth. In fact I was against counter culture fashion too. (Theoretically) I sort of had weird ways of being ok with things like wallet chains or orange hair or black nail polish, but I was also really anti creating a fashion identity that was so punk rock it alienated others without that identity. I think TO ME the motivation in being against these things in women was when I saw it as a manipulation tactic towards men or other women, to get more attention, be seen as more beautiful, have more friends, have access to more romantic partners, do better in job interviews.

I witnessed how people who fit the model of attraction were more alienated and there fore I didn't want to use any techniques to one up other people and leave them behind. If anyone is left behind, I'm hangin out with them.

I do feel that in an environment where everyone is TRULY treated as an equal--- judged by the merit of their actions and behaviors toward others rather than their appearance--- then it doesn't matter how people decorate themselves. Pink hair, girly make up, manly man stuff, transgendered people embraced stereotyped clothing of the gender they identify with etc etc. None of that matters. It's as relevant as putting up art in your house. This is pretty, or this means something to me! I like it and I want it on my wall/on my body etc!

So I've lightened up a bit about caring what people wear but I do still think that when you present yourself as well dressed or fitting a "type" you are saying that you have the money to do that, you have the judgement to see what others of your chosen type find acceptable, you accept those social norms-- and it's symbolic to people that you are part of their tribe. Because of social inequality there is no way this wouldn't alienate some people who don't know how to dress well, weren't taught that dressing "well" means anything, don't value dress over getting to know a person, don't have the financial access to that type of dress or experience being comfortable choosing outfits that match that type.

I dunno. Just rambly thoughts.

Danny said...

Good point.

Saying that women who are very fashion and beauty-conscious do it to attract men is the same as saying that playing video games is something many men do to impress women.
I guess that's why profession gaming hasn't taken off in the US like the NBA or other pro sports that make billions a year.

Thanks for the input.

Danny said...

Thanks for commenting and don't worry about feeling rambly.