Sunday, June 29, 2014

There is nothing uglier than cries for "real beauty"

Tell me you haven't noticed this:

A supermodel being fawned over in an interview throws some red meat to the cosmetic 99% by shanking her way through a rehearsed sentence about how "real beauty is on the inside."

We're so uncomfortable admitting what we find beautiful - models and model-caliber women - we have to offset it with lies about "real beauty coming from the inside." We must make a show of saying "all women are beautiful" or "real women are beautiful." Our allegedly high estimation of "real" women isn't self evident, hence the boosterism.

As it often goes with things we think we should believe but don't, we scream it at the top of our lungs.

Our preference for women like Gisele Bundchen is so categorical we even start campaigns to champion "real women" like Lena Dunham. It is telling that Dunham has to get naked constantly to be labeled a sex symbol; Gisele doesn't.

Real women aren't what men aspire to be with, nor what women aspire to be; any more than a man aspires to look like Jeff Garlin.

Notice there is never pressure for women to pretend to find Danny DeVito, Paul Giamatti, or the late Philip Seymour Hoffman sexy. No one praises Steve Buscemi for being "unapologetically ugly." The very fact that we campaign for Lena Dunham shows we think she's a lessor. Revealed preferences, as they say in economics. People worship beautiful women far, far, far more than handsome men. Men are much more comfortable with this inescapable fact than women (and are more in touch with reality generally), which is why you don't see lumpy dudes starting Facebook campaigns telling women to ignore six packs.

If models believe real beauty is on the inside, why do women like Gisele and Heidi Klum work so hard to keep looking beautiful? Maintaining beauty is a mountainous chore; harsh exercise and dieting is a lot to endure for something that supposedly doesn't matter. If they believed beauty didn't matter and real beauty came from within, they'd spend more time eating Snickers and sinking into the couch and less time gobbling Ex-Lax and doing squats.

No comments: