Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What went wrong?

Since cavemen and clubs, women have sought the attention of men. This innate desire is clearly tied to survival of the fittest and procreation - we must be more attractive than other women in order to be chosen for reproduction. Fair enough.

Since we've evolved past seeking a mate based solely on their physical ability to hunt for food or protect our offspring from wild animals, it's only natural that the definition of attractive should evolve as well.

But has it?

While we might work at developing qualities that make us good candidates for life partnership, most of us are also guilty of focusing on - with or without actually achieving - the extreme physical qualities that are considered attractive. Extremely thin. Extremely large boobs (even if they're fake, erasing the original basis for their appeal - reproductive ability). Extremely white teeth. Extremely young-looking skin. Extremely expensive clothes, jewelry and shoes.

While we might strive to become dynamic, rich with life experience and develop true confidence from the inside out, we also buy into the message - which is constantly being shoved in our faces - that in order to be the most attractive, we must be waifishly thin with big boobs and a perky butt, have a glow-in-the-dark smile and wear $300 jeans.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to pretend that my sunny disposition, compassion and intelligence make me feel any cuter when I'm standing in a bar full of Malibu Barbies, but I'm certain that we can all agree that one of the most attractive qualities a woman - or man - can have, is confidence. The extremes will certainly stop traffic, but they don't stand a chance of covering up insecurity that presents itself in the extremely unattractive neediness, jealousy and desperation.

The era of extremes doesn’t stop at injecting poison into our bodies to stop the unthinkably unattractive signs of age. Between the acceptance of random hook-ups and the abundance of mid-drifts, cleavage and micro-minis, being slutty has become standard, trendy even.

High school, college and twenty-something women are making out with each other in bars to win the timeless battle of “who can get the most attention.” It’s commonplace to share the epitome of intimacy with a complete stranger and not even greet them when you pass on the street. How have we managed to convince ourselves that running into a one-night stand at the gym, and not feeling like you know the person well enough to say hello, isn’t weird? Where being a slut used to be associated with shame, it’s now a symbol of feminism; proof that, like men, women can satisfy their carnal needs without emotional attachment. Sleeping with men for sport has become an aspirational quality, something that makes a woman independent and strong.

I'm certainly not the Yoda of life or love, but I have learned that confidence, independence and strength have very little to do with receiving attention from men or achieving certain physical standards. These lofty attributes are even more hard-won then a perfectly taut tummy - they come from self-acceptance.


Unknown said...

Great post! I love it! You make some very good points here.

Anonymous said...

Self-acceptance. . . why is it that its so hard to attain? I love your wit and insight!

Laurie Stark said...

Amen, girl. A-freakin-men.