Wired For Beauty
“Why do women hate their bodies so much?” This question appeared in my twitter feed yesterday, another discussion about women and our attitudes towards beauty and our bodies. A topic of discussion that’s been around forever and it’s never going away. We don’t hate our bodies, we’re “wired” for beauty.
Aristotle noted that “personal beauty is a greater recommendation than any letter of reference.”
The typical “women and their bodies” discussion usually covers things like: the influence of media on the development of beauty standards, unrealistic expectations, and double standards. But there’s another key component to the discussion that many of us do not want to dwell on.
We are wired this way, we can’t help it. Babies react to beautiful faces more positively than they do to the less attractive, and
“mothers tend to give more attention to their most attractive children, who then exhibit better traits and more socialized behavior than their less attractive siblings.”
As we all know, women with big eyes and breasts, and an hour-glass figure are considered the most attractive. (Read some more interesting and quirky things about human attraction here.)
It’s seems cruel, doesn’t it, being born with the predisposition to discriminate so early and so deeply? But there it is. Because this is true though, I’ve come to believe that most of us don’t really hate our bodies the way we are lead to believe.
We don’t hate our bodies so much as we love what the people with beautiful bodies have.
I’ve talked about how fashion is aspirational before, but when we look at Bella Hadid does anyone really wish they could look exactly like her? What we want, what we ever wanted was the life we imagine her having. Not only is fashion aspirational but life in general is.
An Armload of Books
An arm load of books and a “glossy” was what got me through a very rough youth.
I would go to the library and “load up.” I was indiscriminate in my choices, I read both fiction and non-fiction. My life was lived largely between the pages of books and magazines.
I would take myself, the girl with the knowledge of politics, into a “romance novel” set in France at the turn of the century.
I was able take what I had recently learned about Italian food from a cookbook, away into a story of Venice, with a stop in art history of course, and build on it.
Whether I was Jo, in Little Women, or Veruschka in Vogue Magazine, it didn’t matter, I was aspiring. With the help of those women, I became who I am today. I learned to be thoughtful, discerning, and appreciative.
Kids, Kitchen, Church
Allow me to make a sweeping generalization: young women today don’t hate their bodies as much as we did because they are able to be more ambitious than women ever have. They are no longer saddled by “Kinder, Küche, Kirche.”
Younger women today are more accepting of themselves because they aspire to more, and their bodies, they know, are only one of the things they need to achieve their goals.
While there is still lots of fascination with the perfection of the body in media today, there has never been more in media that rejects those old, unhealthy, and narrow “standards.”
All of the life I lived on pages has served me well. I learned not to always believe what I am told.
Speaking of Beauty
I don’t give beauty tips, but when I do they’re good ones. Here comes one. Take a look at this old post called “soul frames.” It’s pretty bad, I think, but nevertheless it’s about how our eyebrows tend to “washout” as we get older. And usually that washout is not flattering.
Probably like many of you, I’ve bought and used lots of products for the eyebrows: pencils, waxes, powders, and gels. Some worked better than others but all of them frustrated me. They resulted in a dark, harsh effect, or they blue or “melted” away too quickly.
Until, Tadah! the old, nearly spent, mascara!
It’s simple, when your mascara gets to that point where you know you should throw it away, but you also know you aren’t going to for a few weeks, start using it on your eyebrows. Brush lightly at first, brush up if you want, and go over the faded spots more than once.
For me this results in an eyebrow that’s the right color, that looks natural because it’s the hairs that are colored not the underlying skin, and that lasts until removed with eye makeup remover. Try it, and report back.
Love these simple pine hoops from Sophie Monet. It’s nice to wear less heavy jewelry that’s made from lighter, natural materials in the Summer.
Like the earrings, these “natural” colored sandals are a natural with the airy, light-colored linen or cotton that is summer style.
I know I “plug” M.Gemi a lot, but I like them, and no, I don’t get anything from them. But this to me is the quintessential summer style sandal. I can imagine wandering around Rome in these. And read about my “Roman Holiday,” here.
Sometimes it seems like every new store, that opens in New York, has its own accompanying café. Being a café lover from way back, I love it. This one, in the new, Alo Yoga store in Soho, is exceptional. A minimalist style, and filled with light, it’s nestled in one corner of the large, open shopping space. Perfect.