Buried Alive


Physical Appearance by pisaquaririse
June 3, 2008, 4:50 pm
Filed under: Antibodies, gender pimps, Grab a shovel, Interconnected!, PUKE

I’ve technically already done this post.

But.

Am I the only one who views appearance standards, or appearance preferences as a part of a privilege/oppression system that is, yes, cruel, and is, yes, damaging to people’s self-esteem and, yes, values people for something that is utterly useless?

Do we really need more categories for humans?  Pretty, handsome, beautiful, ugly, sexy, hot, fine, stacked, etc. (don’t even go there with the “I was talking about their ‘insides'”–this post is about physical aspects only).

And let’s not even ignore how often our own personal standards do not deviate from the typical societal models which include a host of sizeisms, ageisms, colorisms (made that up, yep), classicisms,  and gender constructing.

FFS, I get that many people have physical attractions and that it does not make them bad people.  But are we not to the point yet where we are willing to call physical attractions a construct? And a really awful and hurtful way of assigning accolades to some?  A terrible system of assigning a lesser appealing judgement to something as stupid and usually involuntary as someone’s fucking genetic externalities?

And an empty method of choosing people to associate with on any level?

Do people not see this as inane and horrific as a whole host of other isms?

I am just baffled right now.

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17 Comments so far
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As far as I can see, people refuse to accept the bleeding obvious because they don’t want to accept it. Seeing this implies trying for change, seeing people as whole human beings and seeing sex as a possible part of life, NOT the whole of life. It threatens conventional thrills, it threatens people’s sense of self. Denial by the boatload.

Comment by Laurelin

I know, I should keep lowering the standards :/ !
The thing is we have selective acceptance. We want it when it benefits us and complain when it doesn’t.
But that’s the f*cking nature of a privilege system: sometimes it may work to your advantage and other times it will hurt you.
But you can’t have both.

Comment by pisaquaririse

I think it’s funny how beauty has come to = sex. I mean, someone might look really hot, but maybe they smell bad or they have a horrible personality. IME, men are really good at projecting their sexual fantasies and proclivities onto women, who are (or I am) sometimes like “huh?!?!?”

Comment by L.M.

“I think it’s funny how beauty has come to = sex”

Yes, it’s hard to differentiate anymore. But I take that back to power. Because “beauty” is supposed to hold more power because it’s more sought after. The more “beauty” a woman has the power it takes to *conquer* her via sex.
Masculinity loves this stuff.

“someone might look really hot,”
Of which you mean look really close to what has been preset as “hot.” 😉

“IME, men are really good at projecting their sexual fantasies and proclivities onto women, who are (or I am) sometimes like “huh?!?!?””

I usually say “wtf is ur problem ew get away I’m leaving u luuzer.”
Just check that computer hard drive LM (no pun)! It’s a much better encyclopedia for that burning question so many women want to know: “Why does he do that?”

I’ve circumvented many-a-awful request from ex lovas in the bedroom with this method. After surprising him that I *do* know my way around his “hidden files” I point out all his little video clips and say “yea, that? Never. Not in a million.”
And then I break up with the little liar because I always go over the porn thing in first *15* minutes.

(Totally-tangential-reply Award)

Comment by pisaquaririse

No beauty doesn’t = sex, men just like to pretend it does to boost their egos “I’d do her” – In your dreams maybe. Men like to maintain the delusion that they have the power to pick and choose which they don’t (unless they’re hawt themselves). I don’t think beauty in women means privilege necessarily. Conforming to patriarchal standards means privilege, but I’ve seem some really beautiful women get shit. I had a lecturer at college who was gorgeous and the male students gave her shit, because I don’t think they could cope with this beautiful woman being in a position of authority over them. Beautiful women are only ‘privileged’ if they ‘know their place’. Generally speaking women will be successful in business say, if their appearance meets standards of grooming etc, but they’re not too good looking. Strange but true, menz can’t handle it, it’s too much of a threat.

Comment by Polly Styrene

“No beauty doesn’t = sex”

Right, not inherently–I was speaking to how the menz act: “men just like to pretend it does to boost their egos “I’d do her””

Because I wouldn’t have to deal with all this shit if it weren’t for the menz.

“Beautiful women are only ‘privileged’ if they ‘know their place’”

Absolutely (see my linked to post from this one to see more of my thoughts on that).

“Generally speaking women will be successful in business say, if their appearance meets standards of grooming etc, but they’re not too good looking.”

Yes–there is a continuum. Men want certain *levels* of “beauty” for different situations. As in, what they expect their wife to look like/present as is likely a whole lot different than the way they want the women they envision as their “fantasy” to look.

“Generally speaking women will be successful in business say, if their appearance meets standards of grooming etc, but they’re not too good looking. Strange but true, menz can’t handle it, it’s too much of a threat.”

Yeah, see this to me goes back to beauty= sex, though. As in, if a woman is presenting as too beautiful (choice or not) then they start thinking of her sexually and because men have so much of their sexuality steeped in believing they are “dirty” or “nasty/bad” (which they use to their orgasmic advantage) they become uncomfortable for these sexual feelings in such a non-sexual environment.
Yes, that was a run-on sentence.

Comment by pisaquaririse

““Beautiful women are only ‘privileged’ if they ‘know their place’””
IME, it’s been the opposite. Sometimes I’m unladylike, but I’m pretty sure it’s only tolerated and accepted because I conform quite a bit to standards of femininity (not beautiful at all though). It’s easier to handle even a little bit of gender subversiveness if it’s covered in non-threatening packaging. If – for example, I was a lot heavier than I am, a lot older, didn’t wear any makeup, was really hairy and dressed in the feminist uniform of MRA legend – people, particularly men, would find it threatening to their male privilege. But even though I’m acting against feminine stereotypes, I’m clearly (at least in physical, appearance oriented terms) accepting another aspect of patriarchy.

Comment by L.M.

Hmm I have read stuff though LM which backs up my point, that very attractive women will be hired say as secretaries, but not for senior positions, which is what I meant. If you are going to get a senior position you actually have to be a ‘pseudo man’. Which means you can’t also be sexually attractive. There was a huge fuss in the UK recently because the (female) home secretary (It’s one of the most senior positions in the government) wore a low cut top.

Comment by polly styrene

Polly Styrene – Oh, I can totally see it in corporate culture. When I’ve gone for interviews, I always have a hard time choosing what to wear, because my very “nice” clothes and shoes (that have to double for event clothes and shoes) are too feminine, and though I’m not attractive, I’m afraid I’ll look like a bimbo. If my hair isn’t short already, I’ll usually be very careful to pull it back.
In the case of corporate culture or politics, I can see that sexiness or femininity would be a major no-no, but perhaps being attractive but not “sexy” or “feminine” would be more acceptable. (We had a “low-cut top” panic in the US too, because Hillary Clinton showed a little bit of cleavage – but I think it was more physical femaleness that made people uncomfortable, because most of the misogynist twits here think Clinton is a fat, ugly old hag.) For example, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino or Blanche Lincoln. And I can’t imagine that someone who’s not just “plain” or “average”, but is actually considered “ugly”, would have an advantage.
It could be a little different here because of the American media’s obsession with telegenic politicians, which is oft criticized, and usually the UK news coverage is compared favorably.

Comment by L.M.

You’re right LM, there’s a window – you can’t stray either side of it -either into ‘too ugly’ or ‘too sexy’. Curiously on my post also about beauty (written before I’d read this one, great minds think alike/fools seldom differ, take your pick), I think the issue is that for women comparing to an acceptable appearance (particularly weight wise) is actually represented as a matter of morality. And that’s why it’s seen as acceptable to discriminate on looks.

Comment by Polly Styrene

Well ever since the Renaissance in Western Europe people believe that someone’s outward appearance reflected their soul or character. In many Renaissance portraits you’ll see, especially with the portraits of women, whole little notes or painted words describing the person’s incredible physical beauty, and how it reflects her likeable character (calm, obedient, graceful, religious, etc.). Still today, “evil” characters in stories, film, and media are almost always physically ugly (by society’s standards) while the “good guys” or heroes are conventionally good-looking. And because women are a sex class we are the ones who are REALLY judged by the way we look.
Just yesterday I was at work (I work at an art gallery) and one client came in looking for a particular artist that has figural work (women) and eventually said “if you grew your hair longer you could easily be a model.” Even though this was meant to be a compliment, the amazing and disturbing thing is how entitled people, and specifically men, feel to comment on your appearance or rate how you look.
I think as far as “ugly” or “pretty” women in the workplace it’s damned if you do and damned if you don’t. People here in the U.S. hate Hillary Clinton because she’s “an old hag” or not feminine enough, and yet if she was slightly more feminine-looking people would criticize her for not being “man enough” to run the country.
People fuckin suck, really.

Comment by Lara

“someone’s outward appearance reflected their soul or character.”

Yes–still true. How often I’ve noticed people will assign someone as “nice” or “kind” or a “good person” very quickly because that person has a smile with preferred physical characteristics: dimples, wide jaw, white teeth, having all their teeth, the way the rest of that person’s face changes to accomodate the smile.

I’m getting that picky because that’s what it comes down to and it’s friggin dumbdumbdumb.

“Still today, “evil” characters in stories, … while the “good guys” or heroes are conventionally good-looking. ”

Yes, yet you will notice evil women are as many times conventionally “sexy” (as in, all sorts of sexual undertones) as they are conventionally not good looking.

““if you grew your hair longer you could easily be a model.” Even though this was meant to be a compliment, the amazing and disturbing thing is how entitled people, and specifically men, feel to comment on your appearance or rate how you look.”

Oh ffs (you’ve just incited my next blog post!). How annoying. So many responses, so little time.

“People fuckin suck, really.”

Which is generally what I am getting at on this blog. 🙂

Comment by pisaquaririse

“Yes, yet you will notice evil women are as many times conventionally “sexy” (as in, all sorts of sexual undertones) as they are conventionally not good looking”
Hmmm – thinking back to Disney movies – they do have quite a few female villains who are older and elegant, though not pretty (like the Wicked Stepmother in Cinderella, Malificent in Sleeping Beauty, the Evil Queen in Snow White, etc).
Good looking men who are evil are almost always “effeminate” or “pretty boys”.

Comment by L.M.

Eek, sorry for the double post, but I’m not sure where the older and elegant villainess fits into this paradigm? Thoughts?

Comment by L.M.

“Innocence” (sexually) is connected with youth/goodness. Women who are sexually experienced are “evil”. There’s a great quote from Hugh Hefner in female chauvinist pigs where he says playboy centrefolds are innocent girl next door types, whereas older sexually sophisticated women are ‘mentally filthy’. And yes there’s more than a hint of paedophilia in this…

Comment by polly styrene

And, this is why I love you all!!!!! What a great post, and great responses. Holy cow. It’s like a slap upside the head, but in a good way. I spend too much time with brainwashed people who think I’m crazy for saying stuff like this. So refreshing to come back here.

I am guilty of “not wanting to see” that physical attraction is just bullshit. I don’t want to lose that feeling of being attracted to my boyfriend- so I don’t want to really “go there.” I was noticing that this weekend, that is the inevitable conclusion, but I’m scared to go there. What will I lose out on? And what if he realizes that his attraction to me is based on bullshit? Ack!

Comment by buggle

“And then I break up with the little liar because I always go over the porn thing in first *15* minutes.”

oh thank you for that much needed laugh (whether you meant it to be humorous or not). And it was Buggle who reminded me to come over here, afraid I’m turning into a totally unsocial crazy person.

Not positive, but wondering if women are more obsessed with youth and beauty nowadays then they used to be? Seems so many young women are confiding how “old” and “ugly” they feel, when they look freaking beautiful to me.

What with all the air-brushed perfection and plastic surgery advertisments on every street corner billboard, it seems women’s standards for themselves have become almost impossibly high. Women can only do so much, and then it becomes an insane obsession. What could women accomplish if they took that time and money and learned a new skill instead? As if women skilled in anything besides sluttery would be valued, of course.

Comment by m Andrea




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