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War of the Genders

A confrontational soapbox for rants and politically incorrect manifestos regarding feminism, chauvinism, dating and gender issues.

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Location: Jerusalem, Israel

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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Power of Women

I keep thinking about a scene in the TV show Ally McBeal where Richard Fish, with his inimitable sophistry and amusing touches of chauvinism, argues in court that women are victims and must be protected. Later when he is confronted by Georgia in the elevator, he asks her to remove her high-heeled shoe and asks something like 'what person in their right mind would wear something like this unless they were a victim'.

So why do women wear impractical things and go to so much trouble and pain to be what the fashion world and society has deemed to be attractive? I've watched girls in amazement while they scream in pain and wax themselves, I stare at women almost spraining their ankles a few times a day because of high heels, and I wonder about ladies that spend hours applying makeup every day.

The fact is, women can attract men with one tenth of their arsenal and they know it. I'll never forget the time I started a mini-campaign to convince this female acquiantance that she looks attractive without all her makeup. I got her husband and another male friend whom we were hanging out with at the time to confirm this. Her facial expression said something like 'yes, that's all very nice but totally irrelevant and I have to wear this makeup so leave me alone'. Why?

My instincts tell me a typical woman loves attracting men not because she catches men in her net and gets many dates, but because their attraction to her makes her feel powerful and special. She attracts men solely for the looks and compliments.

In other words it makes them feel good about themselves and this deceives them into thinking that they do it for themselves. But you can't possibly convince me that wearing uncomfortable shoes or going through all this pain is for 'themselves'. If this were true, a woman would wear high heels on a desert island. Somehow I doubt this.

Of course one can argue that a woman does not get looks and compliments on a desert island and that perhaps she is doing all this out of insecurity, but again I must ask: why wear high heels when she can get the same attention in other ways? Society portrays attractive women as ones who wear heels and they all run to the shoe store to torture themselves. This has nothing to do with attracting men or getting compliments!

Other forms of behaviour are also too extreme to be explained away this easily. Case in point:

Nobody criticizes a woman's looks like another woman. Every time I hear a woman's unrestrained remarks about another woman, the harshness shocks me. If beauty was a thing women do for themselves, other women's looks wouldn't be so important.

For example, this thing about wearing the same dress as another woman at a party - what psychological drive does this come from? It's obviously not because this would ruin their chances with men; Many of the men wouldn't even notice what kind of dress they have on. Why are men content with wearing the same old elegant suit as 100 other men in the room yet women have to wear all the colors and shapes under the rainbow to ensure uniqueness?

Why this desperation to be unique and special in looks? Why do I get the feeling that women compete with each other for more and more sexual allure and power while men are an almost irrelevant gawking audience?

And why do women whine about being treated as sex-objects yet let themselves be exploited a million times a day for consumerism for a chance to be looked at and admired by more people? Why are many women so happy to pose for cameras? Have you ever looked at their behaviour in front of a camera and compared it to men's?

I'm almost afraid to take all this to one of two logical conclusions: Either it's plain vanity that is so strong it even pushes women to harm themselves in the name of fashion. Or it's the fact that many women feel their only source of worth and power is their sexual allure so they grapple for every ounce of it and it becomes a life-goal in itself.

This would also drive women to compete with other women to the point of knocking them down for every fashion faux pas. Fashion exploits this drive and gives women a weapon with which to rise above other women by buying a more expensive purse.

The argument that women are insecure, need compliments or are pressured by society may explain some behaviour but doesn't adequately cover the issues I raised.

And if the latter is true, then does this make the radical feminists, that out of idealism don't wear attractive clothes, makeup or shave, healthier than the rest? Or is this just another extreme? In some cases it may be a hateful reaction to a bad experience with men and has nothing to do with living an ideal. Some would even argue that the women who do this are the angry ones that aren't pretty in the first place and this is just a rebellious reaction akin to 'if I can't be the best then I'll live the other extreme and stick it in your face'. Or in other words it's a defensive behaviour that is instigated by the exact same pressure that other women are under to enhance their sexual allure.

As usual, I think the only healthy solution is the balanced one. In the meantime, I'll just gawk and giggle at you women while you flex your over-developed cosmetic muscles and knockout each other. Why not? After all, my opinion is irrelevant unless it's useful to get an edge over your competitor.

19 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a few thoughts after reading your post:

1. We are victims of fashion, aggressive marketing campaigns of the cosmetic + clothing industries, and above all we are victims of men who never stop looking for younger, prettier, skinnier, taller,... you name it, women.
2. We are insecure. Most of us aren’t CEOs, VPs or great career woman. And even when we are, we are judged over and over again for our looks. (By men and women).
3. Evil sexual scheme- maybe in some cases, sometimes. Sounds more like an argument made by one of our species in regard to possible competition:)
4. 90% of the time I’m in sneakers. My feet thank me, but I hate myself for it. I really wish heels were comfortable…
5. Makeup like clothes can serve as a costume and help ‘play the part’. Sexy makeup can help you feel sexier (remember Miranda’s lucky jeans from sex and the city?). But it doesn’t have to only revolve around sex. Makeup can be elegant for an elegant mood, rich for a fancy gathering, professional for a business meeting and so on. Even when it doesn’t make a noticeable difference to the outside world it can really make a difference in the mood of the person wearing the qook.
6. Like you said, I guess with makeup a healthy balance is the best. Probably buying some stock of cosmetic companies isn’t a bad idea either...

T-balagan

August 09, 2005 11:06 pm  
Blogger Baron said...

How can women be 'victims' of marketing campaigns unless the campaigns were exploiting a weakness in women? This weakness is what I was trying to define.

And I don't agree that men are the cause of women doing these things to themselves. A woman doesn't need waxed legs and high-heels to get a man. In many cases even smiling at him will be enough. Also, what about my aforementioned experiment that involved getting everyone a woman knows to tell her she looks better without her makeup to no avail?

Men, insecurity, marketing, society, etc. are all possible elements and there are other reasons for wearing makeup, but these do not answer all my questions. I think it goes much deeper.

August 10, 2005 1:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marketing campaigns are exploiting an existing weakness in women, but this isn’t a weakness that is exclusive to women. Wanting to look better, to be attractive, to be loved is surely a human weakness, shared by women and men alike.
So do women have an additional mysteries weakness or is it something else?
Why do woman go threw all the hassle and torture of makeup, waxing and high heels?
First of all it is not all torture. I enjoy coloring my face and painting my nails, now, as much as I did when I was 4 years old. It was fun then and it is now. And so is dressing up (to some extent). Waxing however is a completely different story. That is definitely unpleasant, a necessary evil if you want to feel sexy and are not ready to shave every day. And yes, you can get a man without waxing your legs, but that is just the opposite of sexy and we all know it.
True we can’t blame men for our weird behaviors. Most men will say they prefer a natural look, no or very little makeup, are not impressed by shoes and especially not by how high a heel is. But then you see how they look at and behave next to the girl with the streaked hair who is wearing the makeup, the heels, the pushup bra and everything else to accentuate that natural look of hers. The guy might not even be aware of what exactly he is looking at but he seems to like it.
Then he tells his girl she doesn’t need makeup…see it doesn’t work.
The experiment you mentioned, although a nice story, doesn’t prove at all that men are free of blame here. With this specific case it may have been a deeper issue, but tell me you don’t think her husband’s behavior in some way or another didn’t contribute to this insecurity of hers…

T-bear

August 11, 2005 3:16 am  
Anonymous peacefulwoman said...

Well said, T-bear.

I have to ask you, Baron, what is so wrong with women doing these things for added confidence? Why is this wrong?

What do you think it is that motivates those of us who wear make-up in moderation, wear skirts because they are cooler (temp)than jeans, dress up when we want that extra boost, and shave our legs.

By the way, waxing can actually be less painful than shaving. Many of us would rather the 10 minutes intermittent pain every two weeks or more to the 5 minutes of shaving daily.

August 12, 2005 2:31 am  
Blogger Baron said...

It's not 'wrong' it's just an interesting psychological phenomenon and one that, if true, means women are in bad shape, or being victimized if you will. The issue here isn't that they torture themselves, but that even when it isn't torture, it shows that women are valuing themselves based on their looks.

The weakness you mentioned does indeed exist to a certain extent with men, but it's more pronounced with women. The fact that women are insecure or just want that extra boost to get attention doesn't explain the other things I mentioned: The competition with other women, the harsh put-downs, the exploitation, the need to be unique. Like I said in the post, these explanations may be correct but aren't enough.

Regarding the fact that men will respond to aesthetics they claim they don't need: That's a good point and I agree that it can happen often. In the case of my friend however, I knew them extremely well and most of the important men in her life were in the room at the time and they all agreed with me that she looks better with less makeup. So perhaps she wanted to attract other men or had other considerations, but the fact remains that no matter what she was told by her closest male friends, the idea that she HAD to have makeup on could not be even partially dislodged. It had no effect whatsoever and I therefore concluded she was doing it for other reasons.

Then again, this raises another question: If what you say is true and women are doing it because of the better reactions they get from men, why do they go to so much bother just to get that improved reaction? You agreed yourself that she can get men in other ways. Why does a woman need that extra ounce of excitement from her audience so badly?

Of course we can push my theory one step further and blame it on society (OK and some men) that brainwashed women to value themselves based only on looks and sexual power. But note that this isn't the same as saying that women do it to look better and are falling for aggressive marketing. It's saying that it has affected a woman's core sense of self-worth to the point that she has to viciously fight other women in order to mentally survive. This is a lot more serious.

August 13, 2005 6:55 am  
Blogger Baron said...

A few clarifications:

It's one thing to say that men respond to things they don't notice consciously, it's another thing to say that men don't know how much makeup they prefer on their female friend and what looks better to them. So in her case, the logical assumption is that she deemed it crucial for going out, not for looking good to her friends.

Perhaps we can assume that she is simply used to it and would feel naked going out without all her makeup, but this uncompromising feeling and its source is exactly what I am trying to figure out.

High heels is a very good example because here we have women hurting their feet day after day just so that some men might give them a longer look. That's extreme and demands a better explanation than 'wanting extra confidence'.

And even more extreme is when a woman buys a [insert expensive brand name here] purse only to compete with other women. You must agree with me here that most men won't notice the brand of a purse even subliminally.

Did you see the scene in American Psycho where business men got very emotional over the font and paper quality of their co-workers' business cards? Ellis associates this behaviour with a serial killer.

Which leads to another provocative question: Why is it mostly the 'metrosexuals' and homosexuals who behave this way and why are more and more men judging themselves based on cosmetic minutiae now like women? I'll leave this question open.

Finally, I suppose one can say that my explanation is also 'insecurity' only of a much deeper, even existential, kind. It's more than personal; It's social and perhaps even gender-based.

Also you said women are insecure, especially ones that aren't VPs and that women are always judged by their looks. But this is exactly the problem! Why do they all give in to this pressure, resort to looks and conclude that their sexual allure is the only thing that makes them worth anything to the point of hurting themselves?

August 13, 2005 5:53 pm  
Anonymous peacefulwoman said...

Why do we do anything? We are getting something in response. Somehow, someway what we are doing is getting us something we want that is better or of more value than what we are giving up. Scary in some cases.

August 14, 2005 1:43 am  
Blogger June said...

In ancient Egypt both men and women were removing their hair and body hair every day, both men and women wore makeup. In 17th century both men and women used wigs and face powder.
In the 20th century women had complicated beauty routines, men used only soap and water, plus aftershave.
Now I meet metreosexuals (some of them remind me art objects, so perfect it´s scary) and girls who wear jeans, short hair, no make up, no nail polish.
I think it´s not so bad, I believe we have so much freedom regarding the way we look, like never before. I see variety of styles and attitudes. If someone must live like actors and actresses in ads, it´s their business :).

August 14, 2005 8:02 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Be it the makeup, the high heels or nice cloths, you are over simplifying when you suggest that we want to look good just to attract men or to get a better reaction from the male audience.

From the moment you are born and the look you get from your mother, father, aunts, uncles and strangers that see you for the first time too how you’ll be treated in kinder-garden, how popular you’ll be in school, how many friends you’ll have, will they make fun of you, how easy it will be for you to get a job, what kind of job that will be, what salary you’ll get, who will marry you and what your kids will look like. Looks will paly a big part.

May be out of all the things that make us up as human begins looks (sadly) are the most predictive of how our life will turn out to be.

Having said that, most women DO NOT value themselves solely on their looks, but that surely plays a big part. And may be it should since it is something that has an enormous effect on our lives.

Think about it, you may not know a thing about a person except the way they look.
Just by that you are pre-programmed to decide if that person looks like someone nice you want to be friends with, a serial killer you need to watch out from, or may be you will fall in love with that person at first site just because the way they look…. Later on, you might get to know that person’s name and slowly his/her personality, and how their mind works. You will adjust that initial impression you had of the person, but it will always remain just an ADJUSTMENT.

The wanna look good weakness - I think men have it just as bad as women do. It doesn’t manifest itself in the form of makeup because that isn’t socially acceptable now, as June stated, but you see it in different forms all the time.

You see 6 year old boys getting cool haircuts and putting gel in their hair, 13 year old boys wearing braces just like the girls do, 20 year olds going to the gym just for some muscle show-off, 50 year olds getting hair transplants, and I can go on.

In regard to women competition: If two women are after the same guy I can see how one of them will try to use a tactic like wearing a sexier dress. But if two men were after the same woman I can see how one will try to use the more sophisticated punch-in-the-nose tactic…

In regard to your guinea pig friend: It sounds like she had been putting on makeup everyday for a very long time. It is probably close to impossible to stop any habit so fast with no huge incentive to do so. My guess is that she did value all of your opinions, was not after another guy and just was used to makeup like an old habit.

T-bear

August 15, 2005 2:15 am  
Blogger Baron said...

To June: This very freedom is what makes it all the more puzzling. During those periods you mentioned and in those places it was not only social custom to put on that makeup, it was a necessity (correct me if I'm wrong). It is quite different to put on makeup because the social class you are in demands it as opposed to because the fashion industry says it makes you look sexier.

August 15, 2005 2:32 am  
Blogger Baron said...

To T-Bear:

First of all, you talked about how men react unconsciously to the little cosmetic things women do. This works the other way around too however. There are several things women do that not only do not affect many men (due to subjective aesthetics and sexual attraction), but they may even repulse them. I know many men that think some women put on too much makeup and that it makes them look ugly. Etc.

So the fact that men may not even see what some women do as attractive makes this even more puzzling. A woman may buy a bra or paint their face a certain way, thinking it's sexy because they saw it in an ad, and thinking that men react to it, but they don't. This happens quite often amongst guys who see women strutting around town obviously oblivious to what people really think.

Which shows that women aren't always doing it because of people's reactions. It's all in their mind.

Regarding my story with the woman and her makeup: I suppose it's one of those things where you had to have been there and known her. You can hypothesize endlessly as to her reasons but I knew her well and it happened as I described.

I agree that looks can be very important and that I undervalued their importance in society and that people may have many reasons to work on their looks, but I still claim that women emphasize it much more than men. I gave several reasons why I think this and none of your explanations are explaining this behaviour in a comprehensive way.

I did not say that attracting men was the only reason. In fact I concluded that women do it for everything BUT that reason. Read my original post. You are the one saying it's for men, not I.

And if men use 'nose-punching' tactics to get their women then that's behaviour, not looks. If women also used behaviour to attract men then that would be very different.

When women compete with each other I don't think they compete to get men. They compete because it satisfies the psychological drive I described.

I think I proved that it's a special case with women. If you disagree that women do it more than men then we'll just have to agree to disagree.

August 15, 2005 3:08 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. I agree with you that cosmetics work both ways, and certainly can make women look a lot worse or even ugly. Women who wear makeup that doesn’t complement them are just unaware of it.

2. I read the original post again. You are right. You didn’t conclude that we are doing it for men because you say what men think is almost irrelevant to us. You conclude that we either do it because of plain vanity or sexual allure: “I'm almost afraid to take all this to one of two logical conclusions: Either it's plain vanity that is so strong it even pushes women to harm themselves in the name of fashion. Or it's the fact that many women feel their only source of worth and power is their sexual allure so they grapple for every ounce of it and it becomes a life-goal in itself”.

Correct me if I’m wrong but sexual allure must have something to do with attracting men…

(And more: “My instincts tell me a typical woman loves attracting men not because she catches men in her net and gets many dates, but because their attraction to her makes her feel powerful and special. She attracts men solely for the looks and compliments”.

“High heels is a very good example because here we have women hurting their feet day after day just so that some men might give them a longer look”).

You never concluded that this behavior of ours was for everything BUT men.

3. “Women strutting around town obviously oblivious to what people really think”- If they didn’t care about what people thought they wouldn’t go threw that much trouble to look that way. If they thought (and were convinced) most men are repulsed by the way they look they would probably change it. (And I’ll leave your woman friend alone this time because I really have no clue about her motivations and personality).

4. Women today are emphasizing their looks more then men, but I’m not sure that research wouldn’t show that men care about their looks less then women do.

5. Applying makeup and dressing in a certain way is also a kind of behavior.

6. You portray us as victims, hopelessly trying to attract men with tactics they don’t care about at best, achieving the opposite a lot of the time and stepping on any woman competitor in the way. With this description you turned us into pathetic cartoon characters, and although some women may fit that description most don’t.

T-bear

August 15, 2005 2:44 pm  
Blogger Baron said...

This debate is starting to get bogged down by details and missing the main points. So just a few short remarks:

Obviously if you isolate all the symptoms I mentioned, condense them all together in one woman in their extreme form, then they don't paint a pretty picture. But all I was doing was pointing out symptoms that exist in various forms and degrees amongst women in general in order to prove my point.

Regarding #3: I said 'oblivious' not that they didn't care.

Regarding #2: Some sexual power has to do with men but I was pointing out that the GOAL isn't men.

August 15, 2005 4:58 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to enter this conversation a year late but I was searching online and ended up on this page by chance.

Baron is absolutely right and I don't know if he found the answer to his question.

But no, it isn't always about men. We women generally don't like to admit this to men because

a) it is not something women are proud of.

b) men would prefer to think it's always about them and women don't want men to get upset.

c) because some men think it's totally unimportant if it isn't about them, so why mention it in the first place?

But here's the secret:

Good looks equal STATUS among women. Not always, but often enough. Women respect and fear other women based on looks - and 'class' (which can be displaýed by wearing expensive clothes). Fashion is about status just as much as it is about attracting men.

Yet women do compete over men's attention as mentioned - often totally unrelated to whether they want to sleep with or start relationships with those men or not. My guess is that since women have been very dependent on men for their survival, male attention is one if the 'resources' women compete over.

Just watch any Hollywood High School movie if you want a good look at social patterns among girls. Usually a gang of 3-4 fashion conscious, rich and good looking girls rule the roost with more or less absolute social power, even over the guys. They have the power to say whos 'in' and who's 'out' and even seem to be in control over who dates who.

Immature, but this does carry over into adult life. The woman who feels she needs to wear make up may be wearing it out of habit as said. She may also be afraid of losing her power and status among women.

(examples) If you don't dress up/wear make up (or if you wear too much/the wrong makeup, unfashionable clothes or hairstyle or anything that could possibly be found any fault with), you are more likely to:

/experience putdowns or snide comments from other women (if they are cruel)

/being ignored or disregarded by other women (if they are competitive)

/have other women believe it will be easy to steal your man and possibly make a move on him (even if they are uninterested in him they may try to get his attention just to show you they can and to humiliate you)

So even a woman making a move on a man can be just a way of marking her status in front of other women.

Simply, no respect.

All in all, women are not always so nice to each other. Women are not always like this... but I think we grow up with strong lessons regarding learning the difference between true and false friends.

Dressing up and wearing make-up for some women is simply a way of self-defense against the above mentioned things. A great deal of women don't compete agressively and actively in this way against other women but are still aware of protecting themselves. Self-defence is a way to keep the agressive ones off your back since they tend to prey on other women who appear weak. Dressing up tells other, potentially agressive women that you are not someone to be messed with.

Yes, it's insecurity, but men have it too, better job, nicer car, beating up people down the pub or whatever men compete with. Things that traditionally have attracted women... but here again it's not always about a specific woman when guys compete with each other, either. Same, but different based on the roles we have had. It may change somewhat in the future.

October 12, 2006 2:28 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So be a little understanding with the opposite sex...

If your cat gets into fights with other cats, or your kids are bullied at school, it may seem irrelevant and trivial to you. But in their world and reality it's deadly serious and it would be to you too if you were a cat or a kid.

October 12, 2006 2:33 am  
Blogger Embar said...

I enjoyed this article, very thought-provoking. I (even as a woman) have pondered the very same issues.

It is in part a self-confidence issue and it is also about female competition. It is nice to be noticed by men, but it is also nice to be complimented by women...

...you will notice that it is common place at social gatherings for women to say to other women "Oh, I love your dress/shoes/bag - where did you get it from?" - I do it a lot at social events. I genuinely mean the compliment and I think that women feel good when other women notice their clothes (bizarre - I know)...of course you mention the other end of the scale where women are critical of another woman's dress sense. I think it has something to do with competition.. what women compete for I am not sure...perhaps the position of 'alpha-female'?? LOL

I went through a stage of wearing heels since I am quite short and felt that wearing them would increase the length of my legs. However as I get older (I'm in my mid-twenties now) I start to opt for comfortable shoes not heels as I don't like being in pain all the time - I'd rather be comfortable.

I knew a woman who wouldn't leave the house without makeup. I think with her it was a case that she felt naked without it on. Then again, she was quite insecure about herself and her body image too.

I have got to the point with fashion that I largely ignore it. I wear the clothes that make me feel comfortable and confident now. I have never been a fan of makeup... I can leave the house without it... I only put it on for posh occasions.

I guess every woman is different. :)

July 15, 2007 5:25 pm  
Blogger Baron said...

To embar:
From what you shared, I wouldn't conclude that 'every woman is different' (although of course they are), but that different women learn to shake off societal pressure and inner weaknesses at different stages in their lives. Perhaps some never learn to outgrow it at all.

What I claim about women identifying their self-worth with their unique sexual allure and fashion-sense obviously can be fixed. The question is how many fix it and how soon?

Another important question is why do so many women fall into this trap?

July 19, 2007 11:39 am  
Anonymous Enn said...

Fascinating article, and lively thoughtful debate. There are a few things I notice missing and one of these is the commercial viewpoint. Cosmetics and fashion today are absolutely huge business (emphasize the huge please). Billions (BILLIONS!) of dollars with the predominant part of the revenue of this fashion/cosmetic industry being a prime mover that supports a massive infrastructure designed to sell the Relationship Mythology (my term for it), rather than the Reality of Relationships. It's all about the surface manifestations, and not much about the realities at all. But I don't think it's fair to say that it's about being "victims of men". I think that's part of the mythology that I'll address in a moment.

Glamour, attention, sex, money and power a pretty powerful cocktail that exploits human sexuality, creates confusing signals that demand sophisticated approaches and which fuel fantasies for both genders.

Aesthetic considerations, like pretty much any other considerations of modern living, are created concepts that are marketed with a tremendous degree of sophistication to prey upon insecurity at one end of the scale and confident power that can “have anything” at the other.

Studies show that taller and more beautifully presented people are perceived to have status and be more intelligent, etc.; halo effect, it's sometimes called, but it's really about perception. And beauty does not always mean competence, and there are rare, in my experience exceptions to this, and there’s another factor that comes into play in this game of “catch-and-house.”

It's the manipulation of perception that is one of the key issues here. And that manipulation of perception is also to do with deception. The goods are packaged. Sometimes so artfully packaged that you don't really know what you're getting, so you are distracted by the outside surface appearance and don't notice the shallow decay and rot, or the beauty and intelligence and humanity, or the fragility and insecurity, or the tremendous capacity for man-ipulation on the inside. The book is being judged by its cover instead of by its content.

While one is filled with raging hormones between one's early teens until one's thirties (and beyond) it is hardly surprising that the new ability to procreate that a young adult body has just come into is going to be manifested in all its initial virility and vigor to fulfill its primary purpose of this new physical maturity. Once has to learn to control this heady mix of hormones, but to do that one must have experience. To have experience one must apparently compete. To compete one must be noticed. To be noticed one must present one’s strengths, and disguise one’s weaknesses. Enter the rabbit hole.

This manipulation of perception is also an example of materialism at its worst from one viewpoint and from another viewpoint may be perceived as elegance, and occasionally the latter is truly embodied when character and beauty come together and shine as grace, i.e. a fully integrated human being who is truly an embodiment of the ideal material (physical), intellectual, emotional and spiritual beauty. Most of what we perceive, however, is pure constructed mythology that is perpetuated to sell products and perpetuate lifestyles and the industry itself. And that's a material consideration.

High heels are erotic. They are meant to be. They are designed that way. It's about balancing on a point, and providing a tool that can perform practical erotic functions during the sex act for those who know how to use them in that context, though I suspect today that most who purchase them do not realize the functional aspects of this particular fashion accessory.

Survival for women is traditionally predicated upon having strong mates who can provide for the woman and the family while they are raised. But the last couple of hundred years has seen this unnatural (contra-to-nature) structure and institution become outmoded, though the ideal, the fantasy, clings tenaciously to a declining social significance and past glories that are part of the mythology of relationship (the handsome prince and sleeping beauty living happily ever after).

The world has been tamed by men. Tamed, meaning: made safe for women by men who have largely brought peace to the earth by mastering the environment to such a degree that there is no species able to threaten us. We are painfully aware today, that we can wipe all the threats out. All of them. However, this circumstance, the advent of a world that is safer than it has ever been from natural (not man-made) threats has made it possible for women to have a situation in which they could begin to assert their rights, and begin to question this role and desire something safer that enables them to fully partake of the new freedom their mates, the other half of the human race have created with them and for them.

The idea of civilization is that it is a safe environment in which to live and safety includes restraint and the testing of restraint as in the presentation of beauty on display in order to create tension, test power, and the ability to break power, break civilized restraint and toss a challenge, approach the daring through the risk of tempting exposure in public in order to hint at what in private may be possible if you would only dare to demonstrate the masculine power that feminine power needs to be fully powerfully feminine. This is about the game of allure. The game of power. The challenge to see if all the facets of being a human being are possible for either gender, so that each may fully know that power. This game is about possession and freedom. And it is about not only the power of women, but also the power of men. The problem is that the social, cultural, emotional, personal cocktail of sexuality is so distorted and out of whack with what is truly natural, that we have become confused and most do not know why they are doing anything any more and it is not logical or rational, nor even wholly emotional. And why does it need to answer up to any one of these contexts and constructs anyway?

It doesn't.

That's what keeps the game alive and interesting, and how we challenge ourselves personally to grow, or not, so that we become fully integrated human beings who know who we really are, and what we really like, and from this experience we form our personal lifelong values. Some will come down on the rational/intellectual side, some will be wildly imbalanced (but perhaps happy for the moment or that period of life), some will fasten on a purely emotional balance or imbalance (some thrive on drama), and others will fasten on the sensual side.

There is no one answer here, no silver bullet, rather there is a multiplicity of reasons which create a diverse set of often conflicting observations that don't necessarily have pat answers that tie them all up neatly in a rational package. There is an arsenal of human imagination to play with and bring into play to make life interesting, and worth living. One is as alive as one can be. Be what? Whatever you want.

Passion is a powerful force that can crack rationality, and passion is bound up with desire. Exploring the social boundaries and finding out who can break them with you—even as you both preserve them is part of this package in order to determine if you can have and live and share a life together that is free of restraint in the appropriate context that define public, social and private life.

I need a book to fully explore and expound upon all these ideas, observations, conclusions and so on that have come from a great deal of experience and consideration, and which here, I can only just begin to scrape the surface of.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that in some respects trying to reduce the observations made about the power of women and the apparent desire to dress-to-kill and hunt for sexual gratification, and other fulfillments is too complex an aim or goal.

As my colleague, Embar, has written at Engender Truth, the Sexual Revolution is revolting...er...evolving. Yes, it is. It is not over. It has gone from one oppressive extreme to another, where the rule of law itself has been subject to abuse as a tool of oppression by those newly liberated and empowered to use it as tool of injustice and extortion. Naturally, being caught out and exposed they are going to deny and be defensive, for this undermines their "equal rights" position and exposes it for the deception that it is.

But it's the deception we have to deal with if we are to bring peace to this particular war and end up with a society that is honest and can then enjoy the power that we generate together, in the full awareness that it is together that we generate it. Until that deception is admitted, embraced, accepted, forgiven and made a thing of the past, there will be no peace between men and women, and thus women will never truly know the power that men enjoy, and therein lies the clue to discovering the honor of women.

I realize that the above details some rather sweeping generalizations that are not applicable to all women at this time. But there are forces moving within society that need to understand what is written here. Women are new, NEW, to the idea of power and control and they lack experience. Men do not lack this experience, and they need to help women to learn from the experience men have had in order to bring about the balance we few openly desire, and to do that, we must trust and collaborate, so we can truly have a strong, just, fair and compassionate world. It’s what men want too.

September 28, 2007 1:22 pm  
Blogger Baron said...

I've read your comment five times and I'm still not sure I understand. Ill try to summarize what I think are your most important points and you'll correct me if I'm wrong:

Modern life is a safe environment for putting on different faces and testing the waters, playing with power to learn about what one can become and how things work. Sometimes, as in the case of the dating game, women even try to provoke men due to extinct urges to attract a strong protective male.

Enter the commercial industry, providing fake masks and fantasy facades. It feeds this need by painting fantasies and then selling what you need to become this fantasy, disregarding that it's all deceit and fakery.

If this is what you're saying then it isn't contradicting or explaining what we have argued about here. I.e. that women specifically seem to have an extreme and inherent (or brainwashed) weakness for trying on different looks for power. I think marketing rarely creates a weakness, it exploits an existing one and perhaps enhances it.

For example, if women are trying on fantasies then why this competitive behaviour with other women?

Also I think you are reading too much into it. What possible educational value can a woman get from posing in front of a camera in the latest fashion dress? What is she trying to become? What psychological fantasy is she testing exactly?

People play games and try on masks all the time, but in my opinion, this one about women and their looks stands out as extreme and out of control.

One good point I got from your comment though is that modern women are new to this power and freedom thing and therefore may be relatively more lost, easily tricked and prone to experimentation. This is a tricky statement because it sounds like women have always been repressed whereas men were free (which is a myth), but I agree that women have newfound power and choices in modern life which not only are they abusing, but which also are causing them to make more bad choices.

October 05, 2007 7:08 pm  

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