Posts Tagged ‘attractiveness’
Angelina Jolie is in the headlines again. The 38-year old actress, whose last notable screen work was as the voice of “Tigress” in Kung Fu Panda, is once again a media darling. This time it isn’t her relationships, children or humanitarian efforts creating the buzz. This time she is in the spotlight, because of her decision to have a double mastectomy.
Her her choice to go public with this decision is laudable, but it is lamentable, that the actions of celebrities are often out of scale with their real significance. Case in point, Todd Essig’s article suggesting, Jolie’s decision should influence public policy on climate change. According to the writer’s tenuous point of view, Angelina is so inspiring, by following her lead, we should do all we can to prevent always lean toward prevention, even in regards to things that may not happen. Unlike Octomom, Nadia Sulliman, most of us aren’t taking cues from Jolie, if we were, there’s be an abundance of faded “Billy Bob” tattoos, and Billy Bobs-once-removed. By Essin’s logic, women should carry an umbrella, not in case of rain, but to prevent rain. Read the rest of this entry »
Growing up hearing “gentlemen preferred blondes,” it was easy to believe white girls with blonde hair were more attractive than girls like me, but I came to realize, blondes hadn’t cornered the market on attractiveness, or anything else.Which is why I was fuming recently, when I read an article in a local arts tabloid, in which the author, wrote about her daughter’s African-American hair, because as she wrote, “nobody likes black girls.”
This mother was tying hair to her perception of racial bias against black women. Through my eyes, it seemed the story of a woman passing her hang-ups about race, hair, and attractiveness to her daughter, then blaming others.
We all face prejudices and we all have them. Some exist because of what we have experienced, others are the result of views we haven’t tested. We may not be able to control how others view us, but we can’t blame others if the prejudices that hold us back are our own.
We all have things we’d like to change. Things like skin color, can’t be changed, but at least with hair we have some options. I won’t pretend to understand the hair troubles of black women, but I know how much hair can impact the way we look or feel. Even so, hair can only enhance our attractiveness in a superficial way.
On the heels of that story, came a slew of petty remarks about the hair of Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas–including a tweet from Gabby’s Olympic role model, n Dominique Dawes. In the blogosphere and on social media, her hair had become a topic of discussion. convincing me, there IS a bias surrounding Black women’s hair–at least among other African-American women.
My reaction, was the same as Gabby’s, when she said, “Are you kidding me?“
This charming young woman just awed the world with her gold medal performance, and people picking on her hair???
I shouldn’t be surprised. Though The Olympics were established to promote excellence, friendship and respect, it is a time, when we all enjoy critiquing people, doing things we can’t. It is a time when we are comfortable talking about the athletes of other nations, in a way we would never talk to people from those nations.
(Excuse me while I calculate what I could buy, if I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard a snarky remark about the sturdy women athletes of Eastern Europe.)
It’s probably more nationalism, than racism, but here at home, we were reminded of our own ideas of race, as the media focused on Gabby being the first African-American to bring home the All-Around Gold in her sport. She won a place in national and international history, but the focus at home was on her place in African-American history. This puzzles me. It isn’t as if we haven’t seen history-making athletic excellence from African-Americans before. It seemed like a bigger deal to the media than it did to her. When she was asked how it felt, she responded, “Oh yeah, I forgot about that.”
Is there something about her being African-American that made her win more remarkable or less likely? Is it more amazing for Gabby Douglas to raise the standard of athletic excellence, than it is when Michael Phelps does?
YES and NO.
Yes, we should be surprised. Gabby was never expected to outperform her teammates. Coach Bela Karolyi called her a “good average gymnast”. (Obviously that phrase means something different to him, than to the rest of us.) But more than that, she had the kinds of disadvantages, that make it difficult to dream as big as she did. She was an African-American female, being raised by a single mother of four, struggling to make ends meet, while living on disability. Her father was not a doctor or lawyer, in fact, he was away on military deployment. She wasn’t a child of privilege, but she believed she could rise above her circumstances.
When she moved to Iowa, to train, she was plunged into a predominantly white community, where folks preferred Country music, and didn’t understand the rap music she’d enjoyed. She had left her family and everything comfortingly familiar, because she was ready to make the sacrifices necessary to become a champion. If others harbored prejudice toward her for being black, her friendly smile, buoyant spirit, and relentless determination would soon win them over. Because of this, she came out of nowhere to surprise everyone without Affirmative Action.
So should we be surprised? Absolutely not. She is an amazing young American with the kind of drive and attitude it takes to be great. She is a girl who dared to dream, then busted her butt to see if she had the stuff to make her dream come true. My guess is that she cares about her hair as much as any other girl her age, but the vision in her head, was important than what was on it.
Undoubtedly, she will inspire other African-American girls, in the same way Dominique Dawes once inspired her. She will also inspire other athletes and other Olympic hopefuls at home and abroad, but equally important is what her success can teach the rest of us. She has shown what can happen when we rise above the prejudices of others, or our own self-doubts. More importantly Gabby Douglas reminds us we are more than our skin or hair. How attractive we are or what we can become isn’t about how we look or how others see us, it’s about what we have inside.
Deb’s Note: My goal in writing it was to emphasize that we cannot be beautiful without self-acceptance. In this age of race-baiting, many are sensitive to any discussion of race. If anything in this article is misconstrued as being racist, this was not my intent. Racism is abhorrent, and its practice hurts us all.
At an age when a girl has hardly known the joy of walking or running, both her feet are broken. To those of us in The Western World breaking the feet of a small child would be justifiably called child abuse but to deliberately break the feet, then purposely stop them from healing, is unthinkably barbaric, yet the custom was practiced in China for hundreds of years.
The agonizing life-long process of foot-binding was performed to make women more attractive to men, giving them better marriage prospects and insuring they would spend their lives closely tethered to the home. Also guaranteed were a lifetime of pain, the stench of rotting flesh and maimed feet which would impair the ability to walk. Once the weight-bearing and balancing properties of the feet were altered, a girl with bound feet would never enjoy more mobility than a horse with hobbles. Like livestock branded and penned, husbands need never worry about their wives wandering far.
As the Chinese practice of foot-binding became an integral measure of desirability, the deformed foot and it’s accompanying odor became integral to the erotica of the age. The men of that era were even convinced foot-binding strengthened and enhanced a woman’s sexual response.
Eventually, foot-binding was banned, mostly because, in the age of communism, the women’s role as laborer superseded her role as sexual vessel. Women who had been the property of men, were now property of the state.
To us in The West, the practice is repulsive, cruel and bizarre, yet it is just one of many culturally-based beauty practices of unnatural body modifications and/or mutilations practiced in the world. Unusual practices like the lip-stretching of the East African Mursi tribes or the use of metal coils to elongate the neck by The Karen tribes of Thailand and Myanmar, seem strangely primitive to us, but are they really so much different from the practices of our sophisticated use of silicone and other materials to change the shape of our faces or bodies?
Nips, tucks, lipo, piercings, gauging, tattoos . . American women are no longer strangers to body alterations–with one big difference…we alone decide what we will do to be attractive. Whether budgeting for Botox or choosing a tattoo, the decision is our own. While our media and culture may indoctrinate us with ideas of beauty, we are not under an edict to conform.
Nevertheless, it is almost impossible to determine how much of what we do for ourselves is really a response to those who will see us or evaluate us. The need to be accepted, the hope of eliminating perceived flaws or the choice to conform to an ideal, fuel our decisions, but they also express our desire to be desirable. Even powerful women, who reject being subjugated by society’s expectations, may not realize the extent to which external messages become part of innermost feelings.
I know of what I speak, for as I write this, my mouth is filled with inconvenient metal and wires. Though they will eventually correct legitimate alignment problems, I’d by lying like a bad hairpiece if I didn’t admit, only the prospect of a better smile, makes the trade-off, worth the discomfort.
For more on the history of foot-binding: http://www.angelfire.com/ca/beekeeper/foot.html
Water pressure issues required a house call from the utility company. The serviceman was a 40-something. He was well-built, handsome and had dreamy green eyes, but when he left the thing my girlfriend & I couldn’t stop talking about was his teeth. His mouth was full of uncommonly white teeth, a study in symmetry, surpassed only by the sincerity of the way he showed them.
Everyone finds certain traits appealing. I have a weakness for a good smile. Always have. Back in college, on those odd occasions (like Sadie Hawkins Day) when I had to ask a guy for a date, I always chose the guy with the nice smile. I didn’t realize it back then, but it was a smart move, as those who smile are generally better company.
I wrote about teeth several months ago, and have sometimes regretted it. (Oral Fixation) Since that post, some of my guy friends have become apologetic about their teeth. I love good teeth, but also realize everyone isn’t lucky enough to have them. Many factors can prevent us from having the smile we’d like, but because a pleasant smile is about so much more than just teeth, even those with imperfect teeth, can have a charming smile.
A few years ago, a change in my outlook caused me to start smiling more. It wasn’t anything I did intentionally, but as I evolved into a “smiler“, I realized the impact. Smiling does more than change one’s expression, it changes one’s life.
I started paying more attention to others who smile. During that time, I learned things. People who smile look younger and age better. (Smile lines are much more pleasant, than frown lines on a mature face.) People who smile are perceived to be more friendly, approachable and likeable. Smiling makes it easier to meet people and/or make friends. Smiling alters the voice, making us sound more animated and pleasant. When we smile, the body reacts with a mood-enhancing effect. In other words, smiling makes us happier.
Recently, my mood & personality were feeling flat, and I couldn’t figure out why. It was hot & humid, but not enough to sap my energy. I wasn’t tired or stressed. Everything around me was great, yet, I was feeling very blah. Then it hit me–it was the braces. All the new stuff in my mouth had made smiling less natural. I didn’t feel myself, because I hadn’t been smiling as much.
It might seem insignificant, but to those who recognize the complicated mind/body connection, it’s hugely significant. I started to think about the biology of the smile as the subject of a blog post. Writing that post would require delving into the science of stuff that isn’t fully understood. So I turned to the guys at The Perfect Male Blog for help. They expertly decipher the science & psychology of behavior on their blog. Fortunately, they were kind enough to agree to write about this topic for de blog. This made me so happy, I almost forgot about the braces.
Deb’s Note: I am in love with The Perfect Male Blog. The Perfect Male’s perspective is a perfect compliment to the imperfect female’s perspective as given on de blog. Just as de blog attracts many male readers, The Perfect Male Blog, though written for men, is great reading for women too. I am sure you’ll agree when The Perfect Male visits de blog next week. Check out their site and be sure not to miss their take on smiling, next week on de blog.
I have just returned from Stagecoach at Coachella, a two-day country music festival presented in the dusty desert near Palm Springs. The things seen & heard would be enough to provide material for a few blog posts, but two things stand out in my head. Today I’ll share first.
The Coachella festivals are about sun, fun & music; but the scene is also about seeing and being seen. Many women are hoping to catch mens’ eyes, but the competition is stiff. I’m unusual, in that it doesn’t bother me in the least if Beloved Soul Mate is looking at other women. (In my book, his sexuality would be suspect if he didn’t.) Fortunately, he’s an equally good sport, when I occasionally admire the bodies of well-built men. (I say occasionally, because there are far too few well-built men for this girl with a weakness for a manly chests, shoulders and arms.) Arriving at Coachella, it was quickly apparent, we’d both get our fill.
So while, I was admiring a few chiseled pec-decks, he was pretending not to see the thousands of girls who were sashaying around the campground in cut-offs and bikini tops or undersized swimsuits. I considered adopting the mode du jour, of topping a pair of Daisy Dukes with a teensy set of “Dixie” cups, afterall, if Beloved Soul Mate is going to be looking at all the sexy women, there isn’t any reason I can’t be one of them, but going out mostly undressed isn’t me. No matter, even with me dressed there was no shortage of near-nakedness. Every red-blooded male, Beloved Soul Mate, and I were all checking out the girl bods on display. Everywhere one looked, there there were small tops and small bottoms, some of which barely covered large tops and large bottoms. Girls of every size, shape and shade of tan were on display. A percentage of those girls looked amazing, but the greater percentage looked desperate.
Maybe I’ve turned into my mother, because I found myself feeling sorry for some of the young girls hoping their bodies would attract a man. I felt sorry for the ones who would wake up after the weekend feeling used, because they’ve yet to realize the fleeting attraction of flesh, sorry for girls who don’t yet have the confidence to trust the other stuff they have to offer, and sorry for the ones who don’t realize they are encouraging men to take advantage of them. It made me thankful for my age.
It doesn’t seem long ago, that I was one of the younger gals in any group, but time passes much faster than an inexperienced girl can imagine. Fortunately, with time we learn a few things–including what makes for lasting attractiveness. Though it’s isn’t likely I’ll be mistaken for a 20-something, I love and admire the face I see in the mirror. If I don’t look too closely, or too early in the morning, I can convince myself I’m beautiful. More than that, the woman in the mirror, knows stuff. Her face is full of joy, strength and the wisdom of lessons-learned. The innocence of the face that used-to-be, has been replaced by one that is the product of life-experiences–a substance sort of like cosmetic fillers for the psyche. My vintage face is not nearly as perfect, as the face I wore at 25, but it isn’t a bad substitute for the one that preceded it. Truth be known, I like this one better.
The attractive young girls, compare themselves to older women and can’t imagine ever being one. They look at the aging bodies of their mothers and are justifiably smug about their bodies and fresh faces. Why not? To young women, external appearance is beauty. What they don’t know is while they are feeling smug about their attractiveness, I am feeling equally smug.
If any one of those young gals woke up tomorrow with grey roots or crow’s feet, she’d be lost, devastated. She wouldn’t know who she was. She might readily trade her soul for the perky breasts or pouty lips she once took for granted. Those young girls might be beautiful, but they know little of the kind of beauty that lasts.
One of the best things about being a woman, is men generally like us for no better reason than our female-ness. So . . I was at the U.P.S. office, with a heavy parcel–no waiting in line for me today. (Did I mention I was wearing shorts?) It’s been said that all is fair in love and war, but is it ethical to deploy the WMD’s (Weapons of Mass Distraction)? Is it ethical to feign weakness in an attempt to get some guy to flex his muscles by carrying something heavy for us? Is it wrong to ask questions we know the answers to, just to give a guy the opportunity to demonstrate that he knows stuff? Probably, but most men don’t seem to mind the ambush.
In our age of political-correctness, we often operate in a gender-neutral fashion. Women pretend they don’t want men looking at them and men pretend they aren’t looking. We try to keep our interactions as neutered as our men have become in an era when a false step might set off a landmine or be misconstrued as an” offensive”.
Women realize early, the many strategies for gaining the upper hand with men, but some tactics work better than others. Utilizing the best of Victoria‘s secrets and ignoring Geneva‘s conventions, women often wage an unfair war against those of the other gender. In an attempt at détente, let’s examine a few of the weapons most-often used by women in the war between the sexes.
Strategically, the side with the best weapons has the greatest advantage. A woman with a disarmingly beautiful face or atomic anatomy can neutralize the one in her sights almost effortlessly. However, once she has rendered her target helpless, she must have more in her arsenal, if she wishes to successfully detain her prisoner.
The effectiveness of chemical weapons like perfume have been overstated, but pheremones have proven effective–especially in close encounters, such as hand-to-hand engagements.
Reserved for guerilla warfare are the biological weapons–including but not limited to the biological clock. While the biological clock and the “Forgot the Birth Control” bomb can provide temporary coercion, neither are effective long-term. The worst of all biological weapons is use of offspring. Though offspring can be used effectively as battering rams (especially during and post-divorce), the use of said weapons can cause long-term harm to non-combatants and should therefore be avoided at all costs.
Most effective in long engagements is intelligence. The more you know about your opponent, the more effective your campaign will be. Strive for that oldie-but-goodie goal of winning the hearts and minds. It doesn’t always work, but when it does, you can declare a victory.
If women were committed to fighting fair, we would consider complete disarmament, but I don’t think men want to live in a world where every woman looks or acts like a 19th-century schoolmarm. Until further notice, women will stick with the established tactics.
fondnesses–we all have proclivities.
Unless you are possessed by sordid curiosity, you’d probably rather I don’t share mine.
Sorry, but I’m sharing.
It’s show & tell time for grown-ups.
Some women get weak at the sight of a great tush. Some swoon for a nice chest or broad shoulders. Some can’t resist facial hair. (I don’t share their enthusiasm, but I admit a weakness for men with long hair. In my opinion, there are far too few of them out there. ) Wanna know what else turns me on?
This is going to sound like a lame cop-out, but near the top of my list is a great smile.
Okay it’s out there. You know my secret.
I’m a tooth freak.
I love clean. I love groomed. Fresh & clean are always sexy–especially in the mouth.
Oral hygiene turns me on and a great mouth causes my imagination to run wild.
So I when I told a a friend about my plan to review a toothpaste. The response was, “Geeez, you’re such a mom!.” Kids, it’s ain’t like that.
Here’s my take. Teeth are important. It’s just basic quality of life stuff. The use of the mouth for stuff like eating & talking should really have a rank on Maslow’s Hierarchy. All that aside, teeth are aesthetic. If it weren’t so, most of us wouldn’t have sprung for the orthodontia of our offspring.
No matter who you are, or where you find yourself in life–married, single, looking; your teeth are in the equation. Unless you’re not smiling enough, everyone sees your smile. Baby, trust me on this, smiles open doors!
There’s nothing quite like scary teeth to guarantee you personal space. On the other hand . . . .
Sorry, my mind was wandering.
Unless you’re hoping to never be kissed, you really should take care of those pearlies. Most of us don’t have spectacular teeth, but it’s in our best interest to do what we can to make them their best. It can only help your social life, and no matter what they look like, the ones you’ve got are better than the ones that sleep in a cup.
So now that you know my little secret, you’ll understand why I chose my new toothpaste as the very first product to debut on de blog. You can find it under “debuts“.
Deb’s disclaimer: I’m working with the teeth God gave me. Together, they add up to a pretty good smile–despite the fact they aren’t Hollywood. So? Is it hypocritical for me to be judging other people based on their teeth? I figure, men lust after stuff they don’t have & gals like stuff they don’t have. There’s no double standard here.
One more thing. See that photo up top? That’s my kind of porn!