It’s All About What’s On The Inside… Except For Women Apparently

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I was walking around campus the other day and I couldn’t believe how often I heard some one tell a woman things such as: “You are so beautiful,” “You are beautiful inside and out,” “big girls can be beautiful too,” “you can have beauty and brains,” “Always remember that you’re beautiful to me.”

That was a huge contrast to the things being said to men, but I guess that should come to no surprise. Honestly, how often do we hear people tell men, “you are just so handsome,” “big guys can be sexy too,” “you can be handsome and have brains,” or “always remember that you are handsome to me?” The answer is probably rarely do we ever hear the latter. As a society, we seem obliged to constantly have to assure or reassure women of their beauty as if it is the most vital part of their existence.

This sense of obligation to assure one of their exterior appearance is not mirrored towards men. That is because the value of men to society does not solely rely on their attractiveness, rather we value a man’s knowledge, braveness, adventurousness, and so on. At no point in a man’s life is physical appearance emphasized as a critical aspect of being worthy. Sure, some of you reading this can probably think of examples of times when men have been sexually objectified. And my response to that will be, “yup it happens,” but it happens far less often than it happens with women. So let’s stay focused here, ladies and gentlemen.

The problem is society considers women’s exteriors vital and terribly important to their worth. When women are reduced to being as valuable as their bodies make them, it is easy for people to demean them because they are objectified and viewed as less human, and less deserving of rights and respect that equate to that of men. We need to challenge and revamp this paradigm of women having to feel that their worth is defined by their exterior appearance.

Photo Credit: https://scribblingalchemist.wordpress.com/2013/08/05/how-advertising-views-men-vs-women/

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3 thoughts on “It’s All About What’s On The Inside… Except For Women Apparently

  1. I’m curious – how would you suggest we go about this “revamping?” Also, what would happen if we did start telling men how attractive they were on a regular basis? Is that something men would appreciate, or would they scoff and treat it as feminizing? (The blanket statement is not meant to offend anyone, simply to simplify the question.)

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    • I can’t speak for all men, but I really appreciate when someone tells me I’m attractive, regardless of my interest in them or my relationship to them. It’s nice to be complimented. Though, I think the argument this post is making isn’t so much that we tell women they’re attractive too often, but that we do so in a dismissive, reductive way.

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  2. “At no point in a man’s life is physical appearance emphasized as a critical aspect of being worthy.”

    I completely disagree. There is plenty of pressure for men to have certain physical characteristics. There is indeed an ideal that men are held to within our society. Men are told that they should be at least 6′ tall, with abs, maybe a decent beard, and nice eyes. If a man has small genitals then he is mocked, even though the size of his junk isn’t in his control. Men are expected to have a full head of hair–god forbid you go bald! Men are also expected to have tailored clothing (which is ridiculously expensive)–or at least every advertisement, fashion magazine, and television show seems to expect as much. Oh, and men are expected to be athletic, or to at least display an interest in athleticism. Hell, I’ve even heard people make fun of men for having small feet or small hands! These aren’t rare occurrences if you’re paying attention.

    If you’re a short, bald, overweight, beardless, man with ugly eyes, no nice clothes, small/average genitals, and no skill/interest in sports, then you aren’t considered worthy. You’re looked down upon.

    I think part of the reason that we do not constantly assure men of their handsomeness/beauty is that men are not “supposed” to complement each other that way, or to expect complements like that from women, and they are “supposed” to be confident. As a man, there is pressure to constantly act as though we are in control, as if we are perpetual experts. We are not supposed to cry or display emotion because that contradicts the tough-guy ideal that we’re held to. If we let people – men or women – sit there and speak to us in that way then it makes us sound like we need it, and even if we DO need it, needing it is a sign of weakness, and we’re not allowed to be weak.

    Socially speaking, women are not forbidden from being weak. Surely, our society often (wrongly) expects them to be weak. So all of these “You’re great! You’re beautiful!” phrases are meant to help cheer them up because at this point it’s assumed that they’re upset and that they feel inferior. Meanwhile, men are expected to feel like they’re number one. All the time. Every day. Until they grow old and die. Yes, this is arguably better than being assumed to be weak, but we can’t ignore it as an issue.

    We need to both place more faith in women’s strength and we need to apply less pressure on men to be strong. Both genders are getting screwed here, in my opinion, and people of both sexes deserve to be comfortable in their own skin–or at the very least comfortable with things they have literally no control over.

    (And I’m not trying to exclude people who identify differently here. I recognize that there are more gender identities than male/female, and that everyone deserves to be comfortable, etc.)

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