Let’s talk about wanting to be attractive. Amy Alkon got me started with her piece (worth a read) The Truth About Beauty. In a nut shell Alkon asserts that looks matter and that it is important to talk about it: “ The real beauty myth is … the absurd notion that it serves women to thumb their noses at standards of beauty. Of course, looks aren’t all that matter … But looks matter a great deal. The more attractive the woman is, the wider her pool of romantic partners and range of opportunities in her work and day-to-day life. We all know this, and numerous studies confirm it—it’s just heresy to say so. ” “[We] need to understand that a healthy approach to beauty is neither pretending it’s unnecessary or unimportant nor making it important beyond all else.
By being honest about it, we help women make informed decisions about how much effort to put into their appearance. ” Alkon breaks down the science of how and why humans are attracted to each other and speaks practically about characteristics that are traditionally attractive to western heterosexual men. She is sort of even handed in her treatment of men noting: “Just like women who aren’t very attractive, men who make very little money or are chronically out of work tend to have a really hard time finding partners. There is some male grumbling about this. Yet, while feminist journalists deforest North America publishing articles urging women to bow out of the beauty arms race and “Learn to love that woman in the mirror! ”, nobody gets into the ridiculous position of advising men to “Learn to love that unemployed guy sprawled on the couch! ” Here is where she lost me: “Too many women try to get away with a bait-and-switch approach to appearance upkeep.
If you spend three hours a day in the gym while you’re dating a guy, don’t think that you can walk down the aisle and say “I do…and, guess what…now I don’t anymore! ” A woman needs to come up with a workable routine for maintaining her looks throughout her lifetime and avoid rationalizing slacking off— while she’s seeking a man and after she has one. Yeah, you might have to put five or ten extra minutes into prettying up just to hang around the house. And, sure, you might be more “comfortable” in big sloppy sweats, but how “comfortable” will you be if he leaves you for a woman who cares enough to look hot for him? ” I wholeheartedly agree that a woman must come up with a “workable workable routine for maintaining her looks throughout her lifetime and avoid rationalizing slacking off,” BUT the reason is health, confidence, dignity, self love, self care and ultimately self preservation NOT taking five or ten extra minutes to “look hot enough,” to keep your man. Wanting to appear physically attractive in life is a very powerful motivator. It is a positive motivator and we should be talking about it.
It is important for a woman to feel that she has the means to look her best. It is true that as a woman you will have more success romantically and in everyday life if you are attractively healthy. It is important to acknowledge that when you do not take care of yourself there are probably deeper issues that are stifling your success across all aspects of life. It feels bad to be overweight and unhealthy. It feels bad to feel invisible when you are seeking a romantic partner. It is OK to set a weight loss goal based on vanity. It is OK to tend to your appearance in order to bolster life success.
Do, however learn to love that woman in the mirror. Get healthy. Screw your head on straight. Know your worth. Develop your confidence. Develop your mind. Demand excellence.
Be authentic. Create your own version of beauty; one that works for you, one that reflects you, one that feels good to put on. In the end, authenticity, health, and smart personal style will do more for you than any amount of lip gloss.