Attractiveness and Aesthetic
14 - I'm beautiful Some women have an appearance which is classical. Some have aqualine noses, or baroque figures. The most appreciated female forms have varied throughout civilizations and times. In our western cultures, today, there is a narrow but widely accepted definition of what the most appreciated female appearance should be. This is what you would call stereotypical beauty. It is defined by all the women you see on television and in print media. Any visual representations of women, with few exceptions are situated somewhere within this narrow aesthetic. The lips are voluptuous, the body is slender with little to no excess fat etc... You can easily see this aesthetic around you if you live in a western city anywhere in Europe, the U.S. or Canada. Countless books such as Gloria Steinem's beauty myth (have not read it) address the issue of women's beauty. The other day, i was on the subway and a girl, 18 years old, maybe younger walked on the platform with a young man with whom she appeared to be comfortable. As she walked past, i became interested in her and followed her with my eyes along the platform for a couple of seconds as i sometimes do when a woman catches my eye. Quickly, i looked around the the inside of the stopped subway car and observed that just about every man who had a direct line of site to the girl was intensely focused on her, whether they were conscious of it or not. In the same moment, i had time to shift my gaze back to the girl and observe her sending a look back to what seemed to be every man in that subway car, including myself. Like machine gun spray, we were hosed down by the object now person. I thought to myself that this girl seemed to possess an extraordinary amount of power. I thought to myself: " how does she manage that power?" "how does it affect her development, her consciousness, her actions?" It was much easier for me to understand how it affects us men because i believe myself to be a fairly ordinary man when it comes to being curious about the opposite sex. But to understand how it affects a woman, that i can not fully do. it seems to me there are those women who learn to be apprehensive and mistrusting about the gaze of men, others who learn to use that same gaze towards earning rewards. Some women seem to be destroyed by it literally. Their souls wither away as a consequence of living in a world where only the object seems to matter. When there is no use for a soul or when it is not validated, maybe it kind of dies or at least goes silent. Still, some women seem to have integrated the reality of being sex objects in the eyes of men by accepting it and finding some type of inner balance or harmony with that reality. As though this last group says: "Well, my body is what it is, i might as well just get on with it" These women are perhaps the most attractive because they avoid extreme narcissism or extreme defensiveness in the form of audacious hostility towards all men. Whatever the case, it seems to have been a right of passage which most if not all women go through in our culture. Muslim cultures have found other ways of managing this astronomical force of nature which is the reality of women's beauty in men's eyes. I often wonder what the world is like for those cultures who have done away completely with the issues of women's attractiveness to men as we know them.