Kink in exile

Notes from a kinky nomad

Beauty

[This was originally posted in my private blog, but I thought I’d share it here as well.  Apologies to those who read both. ]

When thinking about beauty there are a few things at play – one of them is beauty as defined by the society in which it is found.  This I think is a quantifiable thing, models either measure up or they don’t.  They are either tall enough, skinny enough, clear skinned enough, small nosed enough or they aren’t.  By these measurements a 6ft tall 120 pound blond blue eyed Russian model is clearly more beautiful than a 5’3” 250 pound American suburban housewife.  This is determined not so much by the people who have personal relationships with these women, but by art directors, fashion editors, photographers, and other people who are paid to know what beauty is.  To some degree this is biological (babies will reach for pictures of pretty ladies more readily than for ugly ladies) but a lot of it is cultural (those babies grow up to be women who are more likely to buy dresses modeled by size 2 women than size 10 women even if they themselves are size 12).

The other side of this issue isn’t so quantifiable in my opinion.  The part where I can say that beauty is not a matter of measurements but rather of attitude is in the personal and romantic relationships that these women have.  You see, it is fairly easy to find a beautiful woman, dress her up, get a good makeup artist to work on her, and photograph her from flattering angles.  However, if she continuously complains that she is ugly, if she in fact believes that she is ugly she will ruin the image.  Confidence is hot, and here is the kicker – confidence can compensate for imperfection.  No, this is not reflected in the beauty industry, but most of us don’t make money off of our beauty.  Most of us are worried about what our lover or the guy at the bar will think. 

I take a certain amount of interest in how I look, and I invest the time and energy whether through yoga or makeup to maintain that.  However, what I consider pretty is not what the girl next to me on the subway might consider pretty.  I am going for a look that appeals to a certain subculture, and beyond that I am going for things that make me feel sexy. 

Again, confidence is hot.  You’ve seen this before – you have seen girls who sizzle and sparkle; they are irresistible and yet they are not necessarily model material.  And you have seen girls who could be drop dead gorgeous become so neurotic about their imperfection that they lose any appeal they may have had.  Context is also important.  Some things are universally appealing (symmetry in the face for example), others are culturally dependant (American women use self tanning lotions while Asian women spend hard earned money on whitening creams).  Still some are personal (I have taken advantage of my petite frame when it comes to finding partners, but I’m sure there are plenty of people who think tall women are far more appealing.)

The beauty industry presents its ideas of the ideal form and the ideal woman, but real life and real people are far more nuanced and diverse in their interests.  This is not a flaw of the beauty industry – I like to see tall skinny models wearing impossibly high heels even if I will never be one of them.  What people fail to realize is that they are not obligated to imitate those models.  I don’t really think they were ever asked to do so in the first place.  People are shown a pretty picture but it is pretty in its own context.  You are not expected to imitate the image, only the concept or the mood, and even that only if it makes you feel hot.  You are pretty; pretty enough, in fact, to bring men to their knees, not because you are the right height and the right weight or because you have the right skin color, but because you found the right men with the right interests and desires.

Written by kinkinexile

July 23, 2007 at 3:03 pm

Posted in Beauty, personal, politics

3 Responses

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  1. What people fail to realize is that they are not obligated to imitate those models.

    Oh, very, very, very good point. This is the problem with all people who are, well, not very smart. That very instinct, to imitate rather than to think for oneself, is (broadly) the basis of all evil. I cite the crusades and the holocaust as perfect examples. And I’m sure there are others if I spent more than half a minute thinking about this comment.

    Speaking of beauty, it should come as no surprise to you that one of the things I deem sexiest about people is their smarts. It pisses me off, downright annoys the hell out of me, when people tell me that that sort of thing is ridiculous and of course I’m just being nice because everyone only really cares about looks, right?

    Like you said: the right men with the right interests and desires. The same is true for women. That’s the only way us computer nerds ever get laid. 😉

    maymay

    July 23, 2007 at 9:40 pm

  2. I think that before we place all the blame on marketing directors, women need to take some responsibility for being their own worst enemy – to themselves and to each other. Generally speaking, it’s never the guys I hear saying things like “Oh, she needs to lose ten pounds” or “Didjoo see that blouse? Somebody with her boobs should know better” or “Eww, she better lay off the Twinkies before she shows people her belly shirt.” Generally speaking, it’s almost always other women who are being catty and judgmental about how other women “should” be dressing.

    Tom Allen

    July 24, 2007 at 3:01 pm

  3. […] are talking about beauty. That’s got me thinking. What a surprise, really, that something would get me thinking. […]


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