Friday, 5 December 2014
You hear it all the time when a girl makes non-mainsteam choices about her clothes/hair/make-up etc. "She'd be much prettier if....."
Maybe. But what if that's not her goal? What if being "pretty", or prettier doesn't interest her? What if she'd rather be seen as bold, funny, interesting, clever, unique, or whatever? What if her physical appeal to other people doesn't matter to her?
Turn this around. Men. I like men with beards, I also like men with long hair.
So, a man who has cut his hair short, and shaved his beard is failing to look pretty for me. He could look more pretty if he tried. But that's not his choice.
Or, he could grow a long, scruffy beard that looks like a rat's nest, and never brush his hair. It's very popular in some quarters right now to look like a sort of clean hobo (I'm never QUITE sure about the clean), are those men trying harder to be pretty?
As we all know...THAT'S DIFFERENT!
There are several things going on here, and only one of them relates to gender inequality, as annoying as that is.
But let's deal with that first. Despite all the adavances made in the position of women in our society, we still have this idea that she must "make an effort" to be picked up by a man.
It's worse in some places and some sub-cultures than others. In the more backward families, girls are still TAUGHT by their mothers that if they are not beautiful (which includes such things as slim, with long hair, perfect teeth, and preferably as little education as possible so they don't argue too much) they'll never get married, and that's their goal in life.
200 years ago it almost made sense (almost, because women always outnumber men, so finding a husband wasn't THAT hard) but today it doesn't unless you are very stupid and lazy. For women who choose to be stupid and lazy (both are optional) then getting a provider is probably still a good plan, but why should that force all other women to be "dolls" for selection?
Usually, when I write, I am aware that I'm preaching to the choir for the most part. Most of my readers are here because they are either my friends, who share many of my values, or strangers who like my values and have subscribed to my blog. But on this topic I KNOW many of you disagree with me. I KNOW some of you (male and female) looked at that photo at the top and thought "Oh dear" or worse.
It's not your fault. It's cultural, it's upbringing, it's been rammed down our throats by peers and media for so long, that it's actually really hard to think outside the box. But you must accept the following two facts:
1. Yes, some people really do dress to please themselves, not you, so your opinion is irrelevant, and
2. Your idea of what is attractive has been conditioned by experience
You may not realise it, of course. That's how it works.
In China, for a long time, women had their feet bound. I won't show photos of the tragic deformities, you can Google them if you wish, because even if you've heard of the custom you probably haven't looked at how it was done. These were NOT just tiny feet. You can't make Bonsai feet, it doesn't work like that. These were folded and twisted until they no longer looked like feet. Apparently one objective was to effectively hobble the girls so they were dependent on men. I need not comment on my views about that.
This practice is completely gone now (we hope) but to this day older men still find photos of these tiny feet in tiny shoes attractive. I stress IN TINY SHOES because if they'd seen them naked they'd have retched, and they knew it. Is it attractive to you? No, because you weren't trained to think it was. This training was so complete, so effective that old Chinese men can be AROUSED by these old photos.
Here, in 60 years time when fashions have changed completely there will be old men who are teased for being aroused by trout pout lips, or something else long gone. Mark my words.
However, this does not explain personal preference that defies trends, and it won't come as any surprise to you that I admire and defend sartorial rebels. I don't always like their choices, so let's be clear on that. But I defend their right to make them.
I don't like a LOT of sartorial choice. I don't like Dior. I don't like slicked back hair. I don't like skinny jeans. I don't like bow ties if they're not with a dinner suit. I HATE BURBERRY TARTAN WITH A PASSION. I could go on and on, about my preferences, but they are totally irrelevant.
They are as irrelevant as the taste of men who don't like punk girls. They're not there for you, you idiot.