Young women and their obsession with how they look

Discussion in 'Daily Living' started by Excellent21, Jan 20, 2014.

  1. Jan 20, 2014 #1

    Excellent21

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    I really don't get it. It makes no sense whatsoever for women to always worry about being too fat, too short, too dark skinned, too tall, too pale skinned, too (insert physical characteristic). It is especially wierd given that men have a far harder time getting a partner than women for equal effort, and that all kinds of men are with all kinds of women; why don't young women (around my age: I'm 21) realize this and think about other things more and about their bodies less? Or stop trying to look "perfect" and just get a partner who they like and enjoy?

    Just one example: I always see women my age wearing elaborate makeup and applying other cosmetics; I have also seen very sexy makeuples women my age, which makes me wonder why women my age even bother with cosmetics given that they have no skin features that (my Californian) society considers offputting (leaving aside acne). So I simply don't get why women my age even bother with makeup, given that they already look so attractive (both to me and, from what I can tell, society at large)? Now, I have nothing against women wearing makeup per se but, when a women is my age, it does seem a bit odd.

    Even given the mainstream media's (in the West, at least) propoganda promoting slender and (mostly) white and blonde women as the ideal, it still seems that girls would realize that the mainstream media's propoganda is little more than BS.

    So, what do you all think?
     
  2. Jan 20, 2014 #2

    Dr. Feelgood

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    I think there are many different ways to be beautiful: you choose the look you like. :)
     
  3. Jan 20, 2014 #3

    Tad

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    The great white north, eh?
    I think that you are looking at it too much from a male point of view :)

    In communication theory I've heard of "Miller's Law" which reads: "To understand what another person is saying, you must assume that it is true and try to imagine what it could be true of."

    ( And of course, you can say things without words :) )
     
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  4. Jan 20, 2014 #4

    Webmaster

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    Congrats, Tad. You did the 2,000,000th post!
     
  5. Jan 20, 2014 #5

    Yakatori

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    Coming from the other thread, where you announced it in the title, I was half imagining/wondering if it might be some kind of ridiculous necro-post. To the effect of "Wow, whose butt is that!?" Just because of how you chose not to name the "2M-author" directly.

    But to find that it actually works out to a comment of some quality, I will take that as a credit to us all...
     
  6. Jan 21, 2014 #6

    ConnieLynn

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    Congrats Tad!

    I confess I came to this thread just to see what Yakatori had to say about the topic :)
     
  7. Jan 21, 2014 #7

    penguin

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    I think you're suffering from male privilege and haven't actually looked into how society is structured, how media is produced and what it is saying, and that assuming your opinions on what a woman does or doesn't do regarding her appearance are important.

    Go look at a few magazines, watch a few movies or tv shows, and look at the ads and what messages they're sending. Media still sends forth the message that the most important thing a woman can do is be pretty for the menfolk, and that we should be in competition with other women, especially for the male gaze. It's changing, but that belief is still ingrained in a lot of people.

    You're assuming that all women do this for men - they're more likely to do this for themselves, or to impress other women. Another thing you're assuming is that women are only thinking about their appearance. While women are judged - often harshly - on appearance, it's not all they think about.

    You need to educate yourself more, because while your post has good intentions, it's coming from a privileged and ignorant point of view. Asking questions is a good place to start, but I suggest researching more.
     
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  8. Jan 21, 2014 #8

    KittyKitten

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    It's been like this since humanity began. Women dress up and wear makeup because many of them know that appearances matter in the world. People treat you based on how you look. I don't go to work looking like a slob, I want to convey professionalism and for people to say, "Yes, this lady has her shyt together." I don't want to look like anyone else in the world, I never think of myself as 'less than' because I don't have certain features.
     
  9. Jan 21, 2014 #9

    BigBeautifulMe

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    Society's obsession with appearance is so ingrained it affects even how much people get paid. Did you know that studies show obese people get paid less (with obese women being almost twice as underpaid as obese men) and that women who don't wear makeup get paid less?

    Hope this opens your eyes a little.
     
  10. Jan 21, 2014 #10

    Marlayna

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    When little girls see that the prettier ones get special treatment, we figure out that prettier is better, and that life can be unfair. By teenage years, we learn that make-up can make us look sexier, and get us dates on Saturday nights. Too much make-up says the woman is insecure, or doesn't know when to stop piling it on. Less is more, especially on a girl your age.

    When women get really old, a little make-up livens up our faces, and makes us easier to look at. :D
     
  11. Jan 21, 2014 #11

    Yakatori

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    Great stuff. I've always wanted for a source to attribute something like that-to. Thus far, I've only had this one professor; for a semester-length seminar type of class that just seemed to attract a lot of bright but a bit haughty kids. Whenever we'd all get to really arguing, he'd invoke this practice he'd picked up from a mentor of his to the effect of whoever would next speak would have to try to say something about how to defend what they thought the last person meant. Which, of course, worked magnificently at getting everyone to just shut-up for about half a minute.

    Ahh...depends more on precisely what you mean by "partner." Partner for the next four or five minutes? Or four or five years? Or life-time partner/s? Big, big difference.

    I think it's fair to say that using make-up well depends somewhat on a mastery of both styles and techniques. And applying them to individual faces or looks. If even just for yourself. I mean, there are people who make their living just selling it. Or applying it.

    However, the younger & more traditionally attractive you are, and the better condition your skin happens to be in at that particular moment on that particular day, the less efficiently any kind of drastic maneuver is going to enhance your own natural beauty. So, yeah, it's sort of a cliche to see these young girls, naively emulating older peers who-themselves are often consciously or sub-consciously trying to look younger. And kind of just being a little silly in the process. No differently than a very young kid seems imitating his dad's shaving. Which is perfectly fine, especially if the the alternative is for that same kid to get to be a few weeks past actually needing a shave of some sort of very cheesy-looking mustache or beard.

    So, the point is that you tend to learn by doing & experimenting. On yourself. And, these days, watching YouTube videos. So, hopefully, by the point that you can both actually benefit from and afford to buy some of the higher quality-stuff out there you will know how to best use it. From one type of situation to the next. (e.g. job interview versus night of celebratory clubbing versus nursing post-celebratory hangover with potential future in-laws over next day's brunch)

    As far as the noticeable preference for blondes & fair skin, there's been some attempt at a scientific explanation. Having to do with how people with lighter hair and complexions tend to reflect their age differently. And how the general appearance of your skin and eyes can, on an implicit-level, signal towards your past overall health & viability as a potential mate.

    Of course, in 21st century, we've moved a bit past this. Even if some of our evolved traits haven't quite yet caught-up.


    Right, these practices & dynamics haven't arisen overnight; but, in some cases, reflect thousands of years of human civilization. The rules, whatever they are; and specifically to mention all of the accompanying vested-interests and mechanisms through which they're reinforced; don't just magically change or suddenly disappear or retreat just because one person says "Hey-look, the emperor's not wearing any clothes!" Indeed, things tend to seem to evolve quite slowly, as many quietly ask & answer many, many questions just within themselves. Until...
     
  12. Jan 21, 2014 #12

    Tad

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    The great white north, eh?
    Wow, freaky!

    then again, I apparently have over 10 000 posts here (I'd missed noticing that milestone going by, doh!), which means I have over 0.5% of the total posts, so I suppose the odds were a heck of a lot higher than of winning the lottery :p
     
  13. Jan 21, 2014 #13

    ashmamma84

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    This is true to a degree. Fat folk do tend to earn less. However, for black women, wages aren't necessarily affected. Anecdotally, in my experience as being a fat black woman and knowing plenty of other fat black women, many are well paid and highly educated. Two (one is an ssbbw) off the top of my head are school administrators who make over 200k a year. Personally, weight/body size has never been an issue for me so I was allowed to focus on my education and career since I wasn't spending time and energy trying to garner love and acceptance from my family and peers. There's also a class issue too since I was raised upper middle class and had/have access to resources some people didn't.

    I didn't know the second bit about women wearing makeup though. That's disheartening.

    http://www.ibtimes.com/fat-people-dont-earn-fat-paychecks-385572
     
  14. Jan 21, 2014 #14

    Tad

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    The great white north, eh?
    Just remember that correlation doesn't always mean causation. For example, it could well be that many of the the personality traits that may lead a woman to regularly use make-up may also either lead her to do things that are apt to lead to higher pay, or which are of themselves of value in a work-place and are apt to lead to higher pay.

    For that matter I'm sure that some of the same applies to the being fat and lower pay correlation -- in our society if you are really focused on getting ahead, one of the things you will very likely do (at least in many professions) is try to keep your weight down. That drive for advancement is apt to lead to higher pay, so people with high levels of that are apt to make more and be lighter, on average, than people without as much concern for getting ahead.

    And of course, people vary so much that trying to nail down anyone via just one or two traits is a) foolish and b) pretty much useless. Which doesn't stop us from trying anyway, of course.
     
  15. Jan 23, 2014 #15

    Excellent21

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    Thank you for your thoughtful response. While I consider myself a gender-egalitarian, I do indeed realize I could always learn more.

    Yet still, I do not understand why popular culture makes such a huge impact on people even when it goes against common sense - like bleaching skin one's to look in what is socially considered more attractive, as many dark skinned women in much of South Asia, for example. But then again, I do not have television, listen to mainstream radio or read pop-fiction at home: I only have high speed Internet and a vast private library of non-fiction and technical books and scholarly magazines.

    Indeed, I have read that women are often most harshly chastized for breaking the social status quo by their female peers; this perplexes me just as much as the infamous paper bag test among African-Americans does or for that matter the infighting amongst any oppressed group: What good does it do one woman to lash out at another who does not comply with the social standards of beauty? To me, it seems it would actually help the socially compliant woman by having less competition for sexual partners (amongst people who also where compliant with the society's norms, of course) as well as for employment and so on. Even if socially non-compliant women end up pushing the system forward or even (ideally) abolishing it, the compliant women still win, as they are less or maybe even no longer oppressed. The only way the system of internal female oppression makes any sense is in the same way a colonial system makes sense: Divide and conquer. But then collaborating females are not the ultimate source of oppression, in the same way that puppet rulers of many European colonies were (and still are in some cases) oppressors only in the sense that they collaborated (like with the British Raj's prince's), for in the end, it was the European elité who were the source of the oppression (thus making Queen Victoria the source, for example).

    Finally, I realize that I am priveleged, but I do not see how I am ignorant, at least on the whole: In any system of organized social inequality, the higher up one is (as with males ranking above females in Western or East Asian societies, for example), the higher one's access to education, and hence information are; basically, I am saying that I respectfully disagree that I am any more ignorant of female oppression than the slavemasters of pre-revolutionary Haïti were of their slave's oppression. And, while I obviously do not experience the sexist opression as women do, I also have access to things they do not, such as male friends making off-handed sexist and offensive comments (which I have a habit of calling them out on, for the record) or the access to power and, as you said, priviledge that women simply lack in the West (or East Asia or the Islamic World or most of Africa or South Asia, and so on...).
     
  16. Mar 17, 2014 #16

    BigCutieAspen

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    i honestly felt like that for years.. took me quite awhile to embrace my curves. i used to be obsessed but i guess thats what happens in high school.
     
  17. Mar 17, 2014 #17

    Excellent21

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    It's really nice to hear about women like you how can embrace their beautiful bodies. I know, high school was rough for me.
     
  18. Jun 16, 2014 #18

    pagan22

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    I'll be labeled all sorts of things if I state what I perceive the truth, but look at the people who own big media and think deeper about this. It's propaganda that has been going strong since the 1930s or so.
     
  19. Jun 20, 2014 #19

    EMH1701

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    I wear makeup because I work in a corporate environment and it's an unwritten rule. Granted, I wear very neutral colors and/or pastel shades, but I still wear it. I think it's kind of sad that we have to in this day and age.
     
  20. Jul 27, 2014 #20

    imaginarydiva21

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    i can go without wearing make up but when i put it on i like the way i look personally as a woman i want to make my own choices in my appearance i dont put make up on for other people i put it on cos i like it
     

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