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Old 02-11-2012, 11:54 PM   #1
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Default Beauty is the Beast

A stranger had helped me get a tire aired up and in the process he asked my neice "Don't I know you from somwhere at the bowling alley two years ago". Seriously who would freaking remember that? Apparently some guy who had the hots for my neice. I found out later the stranger was a guy I went to school with and hunts with my brother. Small world eh? Except I live in a county of 18,000 people. I looked him up on fb and chatted a bit and he brought up having seen my niece at the bowling alley and how she had talked to him and his date while she and her ex husband bowled. My niece is very pretty, long blonde hair, natural big boobs etc. She also is very outgoing and friendly to people. So I get it I am sure there are lots of guys who are holding on to a fond memory of her.

My point is this. Who would really want that? I mean my teen years I longed for anyone to pay attention to me romantically or find me hot. I had those fantasies where you walk into a room and everyone buzzes "ohh who is she?"

I think to be fair a lot of women have this need to be admired and I am not poo pooing that at all. I will say after having watched my niece deal with constant unwanted attention and just people being weird about wanting to be her friend it gave me a new perspective.

I grew up resenting girls just like her and thinking of her body type as the enemy. My neice even drives a pink car, had Barbie plates the entire cliche. So along with the male attention she gets a lot of hostile female attention.

Having witnessed some of the things she has to deal with I realized that being the societal ideal comes with a lot of negative stuff too. No one is perfect and no standard of beauty is going to let you go unscathed from negative feedback.

Beauty can be the beast that causes just as much damage as being the beast that everyone wishes would be beautiful.

I have had guys tell me they would "do me" if I lost weight. In other words I wasn't fullfilling my destiny of being their sperm recepticle. My mom trying to urge me to get thin so I would be beautiful. Commericals etc. The entire world always telling me to change and become a butterfly.

In the meantime women tear each other down in an attempt to make themselves feel better or share a common enemy with their peer group. My friends and I would constantly rip on the Barbie types in our group bitch sessions. It's not something I am proud of, but I was a teen and not my most shining moment in time. None of that resentment or hate ever made me skinnier or prettier. It just made me a bitch.

What perspective have any of you had in regards to standards of beauty that have helped you on you path to self-acceptance city: Population *you* lol sorry couldn't help putting the cheese at the end. hmmm cheese.
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Last edited by Lamia; 02-11-2012 at 11:58 PM.
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Old 02-12-2012, 09:00 AM   #2
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No one is exempt from feeling "less than". Even those that seem to have it all (the body, the money, the lifestyle) can be feeling worthless and vulnerable. You just find ways to deal and move on.

I had friends in school whose bodies I was drooling over and wanting so bad for myself and in private conversations with close friends who DIDNT have that body, of course we griped and groaned. We were angsty, pissed off teenagers!
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Old 02-12-2012, 09:29 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Lamia View Post
Having witnessed some of the things she has to deal with I realized that being the societal ideal comes with a lot of negative stuff too. No one is perfect and no standard of beauty is going to let you go unscathed from negative feedback.

Beauty can be the beast that causes just as much damage as being the beast that everyone wishes would be beautiful.
Everything in life comes with a flip side - that's normal.
Too much positive attention is just as bad as none at all.

But I disagree with your conclusion: Being the societal ideal comes with so many perks - positive attention, more chances, higher income (many empirical surveys prove that), etc. etc. - that in balance the advantages outweigh the disadvantages simply by sheer number.

In contrast being unattractive, not conforming to what society considers to be beautiful (especially for women) is a constant uphill battle, even if it just means you're overlooked and disregarded. The pain and psychological damage inflicted by having to fight against negativity and neglect is far worse and denies people chances in life.
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Old 02-12-2012, 12:13 PM   #4
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I can relate to a lot of your feelings, Lamia.

I remember one of the jobs I worked we got a new girl. She was gorgeous, thin, dressed beautifully. All of the guys were gaga over her and the women used to talk about her behind her back, because they were jealous and resented her. She was actually really nice and I used to talk with her here and there. I felt bad for her in a way. She didn't act like she wanted attention; she was just a beautiful woman who liked fashion is all, but she was being discriminated against because of her looks. I so related to that, because of my own experience of a lifetime of discrimination based upon my weight, so I reached out to her.

Each situation -- hers and mine -- deal with discrimination based upon visuals and what the world sees. Neither one is fun, but yeah, obviously hers has more perks overall. Still, hurtful.
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Old 02-12-2012, 02:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fritzi View Post
Everything in life comes with a flip side - that's normal.
Too much positive attention is just as bad as none at all.

But I disagree with your conclusion: Being the societal ideal comes with so many perks - positive attention, more chances, higher income (many empirical surveys prove that), etc. etc. - that in balance the advantages outweigh the disadvantages simply by sheer number.

In contrast being unattractive, not conforming to what society considers to be beautiful (especially for women) is a constant uphill battle, even if it just means you're overlooked and disregarded. The pain and psychological damage inflicted by having to fight against negativity and neglect is far worse and denies people chances in life.

I know that "pretty" people get better opportunities and in general get treated better by the majority of society. I wasn't implying that their suffering was comparable to ours. I also know that at 400 lbs I have been disregarded and underestimated, but my perspective has allowed me to move on and the negativity doesn't hold me back. In my teen years and 20s I let all of that anger and resentment boil inside me and it kept me in a dark place.

Learning to accept myself and more importantly OTHERS. It's been almost 20 years of being free from that resentment and making snarky comments about women I was jealous of and I don't miss it.

All of the BS that I've went through has sculpted my personality and hopefully made me a better person.

My point was do not think that everyone has it better than you and let it color your perception of the world. Don't let your own bitterness poison you. Don't put your life on hold waiting to meet an ideal that isn't all that ideal.
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Old 02-12-2012, 02:41 PM   #6
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Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
And yet he fluttered pulses when he said,
"Good-morning," and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich -- yes, richer than a king,
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.

-- Edward Arlington Robinson
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Old 02-12-2012, 02:45 PM   #7
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I can relate. I had many friends that were the ideal girl, and random men adding me or messaging me, or even approaching me in public, to ask about my friends, and not me. And yet the female friend of mine who gets the most male attention of all is the one with the most warped and sad amount of self-confidence. Incredible amount of body issues. She always said she envied me, and I never really understood until a few months ago.

As for being "that girl" who enters a room and everyone looks... it's not so fun. I've been that girl, oddly enough, and as much as women may fantasize about it, it's rather uncomfortable and comes with the burden of having to live up to the "omg wow" that people expected. It's even worse when a celebrity's family thinks you're a celebrity as well because you walked into the room and stole everyone's attention. It's hard to live up to the expectations of that.

I think as women, we're always going to struggle. We'll never accept ourselves as we are, but we're definitely going to have better days than others. I do think us women beat ourselves up (self and other women alike) over beauty. I've had conversations with straight men who swear all the gussying up and perfume and all that is just for women to impress other women. The men swear they don't care about it as much as the women think they do. Which is kind of refreshing and is what helped me, as well, to start accepting myself more just as I am.

It's a long road. One, it seems, that might never really have an end.
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Old 02-12-2012, 03:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Feelgood View Post
Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
And yet he fluttered pulses when he said,
"Good-morning," and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich -- yes, richer than a king,
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.

-- Edward Arlington Robinson
That poem and this thread brings to mind the book, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
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Old 02-12-2012, 03:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Feelgood View Post
Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
And yet he fluttered pulses when he said,
"Good-morning," and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich -- yes, richer than a king,
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.

-- Edward Arlington Robinson

I hear Simon & Garfunkel...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwqwAy85CgY
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Old 02-12-2012, 03:47 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Dr. Feelgood View Post
Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
I did not know Richard Cory was a fat woman! You learn something new every day.


Lamia--I've made this comment before and it's someting I was thinking about just the other day. My Mom said something once about her cancer diagnosis (yes, it's related, trust me!)--'I accepted that I might hear the worst news from the doctor, and letting myself think that made it easier to accept anything short of that.'

In other words: starting from the worst point makes it easier to work backwards and be in a better place.

Some years ago, I just had this moment of realization: Let's say I'm ugly. Let's just start from the point that there's some objective thing out there that says I'm ugly. Hideous even.

...What then?

I mean, does life change in some major qualitative way? I still have a career, and I still need to work at it so that I can pay my bills and buy t.p. to wipe my ass. I have friends. I have hobbies. I have responsibilities and obligations and things I like that don't go away, that I can't get out of, just b/c I'm ugly. It's not a death sentence. It's just being ugly. The world doesn't care in a larger sense. Being beautiful isn't a free pass and neither is being ugly.

Now, do I think I'm ugly? Or you're ugly? Or people think we're ugly? Eh, that's not what i'm saying. But starting from that extreme point, facing it and asking: And then what?: kind of put it into perspective for me.
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Old 02-12-2012, 03:57 PM   #11
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Richard Cory is "the grass is not always greener on the other side".
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Old 02-12-2012, 07:22 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Jes View Post
I did not know Richard Cory was a fat woman! You learn something new every day.
We're all fat women. Even if we're skinny men. Some of us just don't know it yet. At least, that's what this thread seems to be saying to me.
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:59 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jes View Post
I did not know Richard Cory was a fat woman! You learn something new every day.


Lamia--I've made this comment before and it's someting I was thinking about just the other day. My Mom said something once about her cancer diagnosis (yes, it's related, trust me!)--'I accepted that I might hear the worst news from the doctor, and letting myself think that made it easier to accept anything short of that.'

In other words: starting from the worst point makes it easier to work backwards and be in a better place.

Some years ago, I just had this moment of realization: Let's say I'm ugly. Let's just start from the point that there's some objective thing out there that says I'm ugly. Hideous even.

...What then?

I mean, does life change in some major qualitative way? I still have a career, and I still need to work at it so that I can pay my bills and buy t.p. to wipe my ass. I have friends. I have hobbies. I have responsibilities and obligations and things I like that don't go away, that I can't get out of, just b/c I'm ugly. It's not a death sentence. It's just being ugly. The world doesn't care in a larger sense. Being beautiful isn't a free pass and neither is being ugly.

Now, do I think I'm ugly? Or you're ugly? Or people think we're ugly? Eh, that's not what i'm saying. But starting from that extreme point, facing it and asking: And then what?: kind of put it into perspective for me.

It's like when I think logically about beauty I am like and then what? You're still going to get old and die. This especially comes to mind when people tell me I should lose weight for my health. As if their health is a free ticket to immortality.

Do all the push ups you want there champ you're still going to push up daisies.

Which brings me to something else the sadness when beauty fades and the people who are ill prepared to navigate the world as we are used to doing. I used to go out to my park for my LARP and there was a lady pushing her 50s who was a great beauty in her day (her words) and she still flirted and flitted and acted in that same "cutesy" manner and it wasn't working and it was uncomfortable to watch. It was like she didn't know how to communicate with the opposite sex in a normal way. She would head tilt and pout and giggle.

She was still attractive, but she had slipped out of that standard where she was accustomed to being and it was like watching a round peg try to make her self fit into a square hole.

She would always take me aside to bitch about her boyfriend who I was friends with and to tell me about all the "whores" who were jealous of her. It seemed really important to her that other women envy her and try to steal her man etc.

I think I enjoy the freedom of not having to compete because I never was in the race to begin with.
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Old 02-13-2012, 11:54 AM   #14
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This is kind of a timely topic for me. I was just talking to an acquaintance (not really close enough to call a friend) from grad school the other day. This woman is extremely attractive by conventional standards (very small waist, large breasts, long dark hair). She also is pretty smart, so when she decided to go on and get an advanced education, lots of people encouraged her and she did get some of the "special treatment" we talk about being reserved for "attractive" people (got a teaching assistantship before finishing her Master's, which NEVER happens).

However, I think her looks (and people's perceptions of her looks and treatment she got because of them) really negatively impacted her in the long run. A lot of the women in the program wouldn't befriend her--like Lamia was saying, I was never in the "pretty girl" race, so I had no problem talking with her. Even the guys who would drool over her and kiss up would also talk smack about her behind her back because they didn't see her as a serious student. Probably the biggest problem was that, because she was seen as so attractive, it kind of lowered the bar for her intellectually. What I mean is that, because she wasn't a total ditz (which is what people expect I guess from people this attractive), she was seen as a GENIUS (I believe this is kind of like the Sarah Palin effect). But when it came time for her to take objective exams, she didn't pass, I believe, in part because she had gotten so much praise on her intelligence she didn't get how much more she needed to know.

Anyway, I had been thinking about how lucky I was to not be seen as one of the "cute girls" so I could just focus on my work. Probably not coincidentally, I was one of the few people in the program (men and women) who finished on time and got a job in the field.
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