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Old 10-17-2006, 07:10 PM   #46
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On a related note, my coworkers and I were discussing at lunch today how it's more common to see a good looking girl with an unattractive guy than an attractive guy with an average or unattractive girl.

For the record, it was one of my male coworkers who brought this up.
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Old 10-17-2006, 07:28 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally posted by lmjhitman
actually, i disagree with that.

i think, in general, men are able to overcome not being good-looking by being wealthy or powerful or athletic or, ehm, a rockstar, or even just by being funny or sweet.

for women, it's be pretty or go home. no amount of money, power, or charisma makes a woman attractive, to the general population that is.
I disagree too, although I'm not sure I fully understood, Lies, quite what you're suggesting, since to my ear your qualification that men's standards "aren't nearly as outrageous and hyper-sexualized" seems to contradict your assessment that the amount of pressure is the same.

I do think it's important though to keep in mind that we're talking about these pressures as individual men and women experience them, which isn't necessarily the same as how others (particularly of the opposite sex) imagine the pressures on said individuals to be. I know plenty of female academics who feel quite pleased with their professional achievements but regularly beat up on themselves for not being attractive enough, and I know plenty of male academics who seldom despair over their appearance but see themselves as losers compared to their (male) friends who've made much more money in other careers. I wouldn't say most in either group dwell on these things to the point where it just cripples them emotionally, but both kinds of pain are real, and both seem pretty sad and wasteful from my POV. In neither case are these self-perceptions in line with how most students and colleagues of these folks actually perceive them--I don't look at the woman whose office is next to mine and think, "Great teacher eval scores, shame about the legs," nor do I look at the man whose office is next to mine and think, "That article he just published was great, but what a loser, barely supporting his family on that pathetic 30K income." I know for a fact that they have these thoughts about themselves, though, and I also know for a fact that both have family members who lecture them for these "failings." They shouldn't listen to them, and most of the time they do argue back, but unfortunately they've internalized these voices (and others) to the point that it melds with their own sometimes.

But again, I find it particularly upsetting when verbalizing these kinds of sentiments becomes some kind of social rite of passage--"let's all sit around bemoaning how inadequate and unworthy we are". It's good to be able to express your feelings, many men in particular don't do it enough, and if my sense in a given situation is that here's someone opening up about things that trouble them deeply and seeking advice and support, then of course I'm going to listen sympathetically and offer what help I can. But collective self-loathing isn't always therapeutic and, IMHO, sometimes it's better to encourage everyone to stop fixating on imagined inadequacies and talk about more positive things instead. We're all going to succumb to invidiously comparing ourselves to ideals from time to time, but like Lies said earlier, ultimately you DO have a choice not to drive yourself into a tailspin over it. It simply isn't true that no one will love, respect or admire you because of these "failings"--yes, some will be shallow or thoughtless or just plain blind enough to do so, and the incentives from media and elsewhere to compare yourself to the Rich and the Beautiful aren't likely to disappear anytime soon, but that doesn't mean you have to listen, and you shouldn't.
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Old 10-17-2006, 07:55 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally posted by Headache in a Suitcase
this may sound like a stupid question, but i don't mean it to be...

is there any research about wether or not the same thing happen in the animal kingdom... i.e. being attracted to better looking, more fit, and/or pack leader, king, whatever, etc. type of thing?

i know certain animals will, um, procreate with anything that walks by... but then again, so will some humans...
I'm sure there has to be. Many male animals look different than the females for no other reason than to attract females. I can think of many birds and fish species where the male has crazy colors and patterns and strange ways of displaying themselves, just to attract the female.
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Old 10-17-2006, 08:03 PM   #49
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Originally posted by yolland

I disagree too, although I'm not sure I fully understood, Lies, quite what you're suggesting, since to my ear your qualification that men's standards "aren't nearly as outrageous and hyper-sexualized" seems to contradict your assessment that the amount of pressure is the same
Yeah, I can see how what I said might not make sense. I'll try to explain it better. I maintain that in my experience, it's just as important for a man to be "hot" or "good-looking" than women. But the desired standard of "hotness" for women is like a physically unachievable body proportion. "Hot" men have nice smiles, bright eyes, groomed hair, buff arms, and six-pack abs. It's not really THAT difficult for a guy to achieve this, just by working out and keeping himself clean. Like I said, for years girls have come to me to ask how they can get with my brother and to say how hot he is. My brother shops at Goodwill, he doesn't work out ever (he works construction), and he's got acne. Now for me to get to the point where I felt as "hot" as what the guys I met in college were looking for, I'd literally have to starve myself, spend 5 hours a day in the gym, and spend hundreds of dollars on prescription meds for my face/skin. So, while I spend money on trndy clothes, spend time in front of the mirror doing hair and makeup, spend time working out, I'm not nearly as close to the "hot" ideal for my gender as my brother is to his and he does nothing. Basically, I feel that the capacity for a guy to be "hot" is actually what in psychology they call "perfectly average", whereas a "hot" woman is a very unrealistic, unhealthy ideal.

I think that the expectation for members of each sex to meet the ideal for their sex can be the same, even if the ideals themselves are not. Does that make sense? I guess I'm speaking more in terms of expectations of the other sex and not so much on the pressure that people actually feel.
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Old 10-17-2006, 08:45 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally posted by Headache in a Suitcase
this may sound like a stupid question, but i don't mean it to be...

is there any research about wether or not the same thing happen in the animal kingdom... i.e. being attracted to better looking, more fit, and/or pack leader, king, whatever, etc. type of thing?

i know certain animals will, um, procreate with anything that walks by... but then again, so will some humans...
Oh yes, sexual selection is a tremendous factor in the animal kingdom - the classic example is the peacock using elaborate plumage to attract the peahen but it may also have cues in human attraction.

The traits that we consider attractive are related to reproductive fitness - so clear youthful complexion, facial symmetry, 0.7 hip to waist ratio and sexual dimorphism in women are positively selected for. It is no coincidence that human females have enlarged breasts relative to other primates, they are a secondary sexual character.
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Old 10-17-2006, 10:35 PM   #51
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Quote:
Originally posted by LivLuvAndBootlegMusic

"Hot" men have nice smiles, bright eyes, groomed hair, buff arms, and six-pack abs. It's not really THAT difficult for a guy to achieve this, just by working out and keeping himself clean.


i will say that, in general you're right, but there are certainly exceptions.

there was a point in time when i was swimming 10 workouts a week, at 2 hours a pop, and i never looked quite like Michael Phelps. not even close. yes, i was robust and athletic and still have the shoulders, but i never ever looked like this, despite my best efforts:



so ... well, not totally sure what my point is, since one not need to look like an olympic swimmer to be "hot," but i suppose i am saying that despite our best efforts, despite our irrational efforts (just who has time to swim 20 hours a week?), not all men are going to get anywhere near what is considered an ideal male figure.
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Old 10-17-2006, 11:19 PM   #52
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Well, if it makes you feel any better, I've always felt Michael Phelps' body is a little over the top.

And going along with my point, I pic-googled "hot guy" and several of the first images looked exactly like 2/3 of the guys in my high school class. Then I pic-googled "hot girl" and most of the first images were anorexic looking girls or pornographic poses. It seems that the ideal for women is far more polarized and sexualized than that of men.

Why this is, I don't really know...
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Old 10-17-2006, 11:34 PM   #53
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That may be more of a terminology issue--"hot girl" tends to be an online code word for "masturbation material," while "hot guy" is just as likely to mean "dude I've got a crush on." Which in a sense probably helps to explain the "more sexualized" part...although it's a mistake, I think, to completely conflate sex fantasy imagery with "beauty" ideals.
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Old 10-17-2006, 11:38 PM   #54
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Hmmm, unfortunately changing the terminology to "attractive girl" yields the same results - walking skelatons, lots of boobs and nipples, and plenty of busty blondes in stripper outfits.

The one thing I do notice is that the images from the word "attractive" are mostly from girls' Internet profiles of themselves, like they're using a more tasteful word but playing into the same old stereotype.
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Old 10-17-2006, 11:40 PM   #55
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First a shout-out to Irvine. . .love that song. . . "Paradise City"

I just now noticed the irony of commenting on a song that contains the line in the chorus "Take me down to the Paradise City where the girls are pretty. . . ." That wasn't intentional.

I've been lurking on this thread for awhile but I guess I'm ready to "weigh in."

I see what Lies is saying but draw different conclusions, I think. First off I'm not sure the standard for male "hotness" is as quite as high for most women as she suggest (at least I hope not since I once worked out with weights six days a week for about a year and only got up to 133 lbs. No six pack, no buff arms. And as for "groomed hair", I'm not sure that dreads count. I've been told I have the bright eyes though.) I think it's mabye a little lower and I think that this lower "hotness" standard means that physical attractiveness is less important to women than it is to men.

I've heard my wife and other women comment about a guy that "he's not really that great looking but I was attracted to him anyway because he's a nice, funny, charming, etc." In my experience, guys don't really think that way. A guy is not going to say "she's not that great looking but I was attracted to her anyway." Physical attraction is always a huge factor for men in initial attraction, AND if a guy doesn't percieve a woman is attractive initially he will BEGIN to percieve her that way as interest grows and develops. I think it's just the way men are built.

However, I also think that most men have a much broader standard for what they find attractive in a woman than women do for themselves (and certainly much broader than examples held up by the media). I think that if a guy is attracted to woman it also means he thinks she's "hot." I for one tend to find that most women are beautiful each in their own way. I think a woman's intelligence, personality, personal style etc do a lot to enhance her PHYSICAL attractiveness.
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Old 10-17-2006, 11:43 PM   #56
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Quote:
Originally posted by LivLuvAndBootlegMusic


And going along with my point, I pic-googled "hot guy" and several of the first images looked exactly like 2/3 of the guys in my high school class. Then I pic-googled "hot girl" and most of the first images were anorexic looking girls or pornographic poses.
here are the first two google images I got

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Old 10-17-2006, 11:47 PM   #57
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Originally posted by AliEnvy



Truly confident people are also not generally overly arrogant, obnoxious or aggressive.
I think that this is the conventional wisdom, but I don't think it's always true.

I believe there are plenty truly confident people who are overly arrogant, obnoxious, and aggressive. I read recently that many bullies actually have great self-esteem, despite the stereotype of the bully who pushes others around out of insecurity.

There are those who bully just because they can and because it's fun.
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Old 10-17-2006, 11:50 PM   #58
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Quote:
Originally posted by LivLuvAndBootlegMusic


Why this is, I don't really know...
As I suggested in my earlier post, I think it's because physical attractiveness is a bigger part of sexual attraction for men than it is for women. That reality is obviously exploited for profit in our society all the time.
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Old 10-18-2006, 12:06 AM   #59
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As I suggested in my earlier post, I think it's because physical attractiveness is a bigger part of sexual attraction for men than it is for women. That reality is obviously exploited for profit in our society all the time.
But then I wonder why women spend so much time, money, and energy obsessing over it. Do we really care that much about how sexually desirable we are to guys?

I think a lot of women use the same standards to judge each other, unfortunately. I don't know about the rest of the women here, but when I was in high school and college, I didn't give a flying fuck what the popular jock guys thought of me. The people I listened to, the people who could really hurt me were my closest friends - other young women.
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Old 10-18-2006, 12:45 AM   #60
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This discussion is great, but i want to bring in one of my original points again. I understand the whole 'got to be beautiful to be worth something', but my point is, these girls ARE beautiful. They are all slim (and slim is beautiful as we are told a million times!) they earn nice money, and dress really well, have impeccable makeup, beautiful smiles, not "physical" defects, healthy hair, bright eyes etc etc. They may not be models (though models today, i think are quirky and not beautiful) but they are all quite stunning in their own way. So you think this would then give them a healthy self esteem. That they would feel worthy of attention, and when looking in the mirror be happy with what they see, but they DON'T.

It just shows that even women who are seen as an ideal beauty in today's world can not be happy. And its scary to think that people spend their lives dieting and killing themselves to get to an 'ideal' but then...when you get there...you're not happy. So where do you go?

See i dont have an ideal body shape. I'm 6 foot 1, solid build, too tall for any clothes to fit me properly without my tummy or ass hanging out of things, and i dont really dress like a girly girl. I am ignored by guys looking for their ideal look, and frankly, im happy with that. I dont want to be with someone who is obsessed with looks and wants some eye candy on his arm. I love who i am, am happy in my life, and enjoy what i do. Yes i have a boyfriend who loves me, but i was like this before him and it just makes me wonder, that someone like me, who is seen to be "imprefect" in the beautiful standards, can be happy, and someone who ticks all the boxes can feel such self doubt and hatred.

Why is this?
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