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Men vs Women gymnastics-why different clothes/moves?


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23 minutes ago, kdsuomi said:

Only a sports thread about females can devolve into a discussion about their being sexually available. The fact that that came from a discussion about the disparity in uniforms between the sexes says a lot about why this is actually a thing. When you have girls who love a sport but won't play it (know a number of girls where this is the case with volleyball) because if the ridiculous uniforms only for females,  that's why the original discussion has to happen. 

Seriously??? A whole bunch of us were pointing out why the uniforms are functional, how they were designed for the sport(s) involved and that women have a choice about what they wear (particularly in volleyball!) and not primarily sexual and no one on the other side of the discussion will even grant that as a possibility. You (general) can't insist that the uniforms are sexual in nature and then claim, "See, this discussion turned into being about women being sexually available!"  Well, yes, yes it did. Who brought that into the discussion? 
 

Edited by EmseB
removed snark.
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1 hour ago, hshibley said:

Basically we have to dress like men. We’re going to throw off the shackles of patriarchy by aligning our personal dress decisions to those of men. 

Some men: We like it when women wear clothes that make them look sexy.

Some women: Cool, when we want to feel sexy, we'll wear sexy clothes, and the rest of the time we'll wear whatever makes us feel comfortable and attractive in a nonsexual way.

Other women: You can't wear sexy clothes! Men will look at you and think about sex! You can't even wear makeup or dye your hair or wear stretchy clothing like yoga pants or fitted tee shirts or tank tops because men might look at you and think about sex even though you're not trying to be sexy! If you're not wearing a sack and Ugg boots and no makeup and unstyled hair, you're just a brainwashed tool of the patriarchy. Don't let men control your choices — let US control your choices, because we know what's best for you!

Edited by Corraleno
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7 minutes ago, Corraleno said:

Some men: We like it when women wear clothes that make them look sexy.

Some women: Cool, when we want to feel sexy, we'll wear sexy clothes, and the rest of the time we'll wear whatever makes us feel comfortable and attractive in a nonsexual way.

Other women: You can't wear sexy clothes! Men will look at you and think about sex! You can't even wear makeup or dye your hair or wear stretchy clothing like yoga pants or fitted tee shirts or tank tops because men might look at you and think about sex even though you're not trying to be sexy! If you're not wearing a sack and Ugg boots and no makeup and unstyled hair, you're just a brainwashed tool of the patriarchy. Don't let men control your choices — let US control your choices, because we know what's best for you!

 

Yes.

If people had posted that they, personally, don’t wear makeup and they never wear tight clothing and they don’t want men to look at them, I would have been fine with that. If someone had posted that she, personally, is over 50 and she feels like she looks ridiculous in fitted dresses and high heels, and she doesn’t want to attract men because she has no interest in sex, I would have thought that was just fine, too. 

It’s the generalizations about the female population that bother me. I feel like there is a lot of moral judgment going on, and I don’t think it’s right for any of us to assume that our own personal standards should apply to all women, and that women who don’t live by our personal standards are somehow inappropriate or degenerate. 

 

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1 hour ago, Where's Toto? said:

I understand that some of you feel you are only talking about trends, not individuals but the world is made up of individuals.  It's individuals that decide what to buy, what to wear, how to put on make-up, etc.    And the trends of what is sold in ordinary stores where ordinary people shop is for more options so it's very easy to find whatever style you feel comfortable in.  

Plus, as others have said you seem to be getting your idea of trends from beer commercials and Cosmo, and I'm really not seeing that in the real world, which is made up of individuals who are mostly not models getting paid to dress ridiculously.

 

 

I agree. Where are all of these women who regularly dress in tight, skimpy, low-cut dresses and six-inch heels? I’m not seeing them, and I’m out of the house every day. 

What I am seeing is women of all ages who are dressing more casually than ever before, and they are obviously dressing for function and comfort, not because they are trying to show that they are “sexually available,” whatever that is supposed to mean.

And they really aren’t trying to flush their lips and cheeks so they look like they just had sex. They just aren’t!

 

Edited by Catwoman
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I have known some petite women who like to wear heels because they make them look taller.  I don't care how tall they are, but if they feel better when they are in heels, why should it be any of my business to criticize it?  I know another board member (who is no longer here) who loved heels and collected them.  She liked them.  She didn't need a reason beyond that.  I know her in real life - she's a lovely woman and doesn't deserve a scrap of judgement about her clothing or shoe choices.

Younger people in general tend to have rosier cheeks and rosy lips.  I don't think that it is about sex.  I think it is about looking healthy.  I actually have been blessed to have good skin even in middle-aged but I don't think that middle aged women who want more color in their faces are all about getting a romp in the hay.  Maybe they just don't want to look as washed out.  The "natural" look in make-up tries to mimic a no-makeup look while still adding some vibrancy to someone's look.  There have been some attempts to promote this for men as well but it hasn't caught on - maybe because of stigma against looking "girly" or maybe because they don't want to take the time or maybe because of facial hair or whatever.  I think that I would have a harder time putting on foundation if I knew that it was going to be marred by a five-o'clock shadow! 

I really don't care about overall fashion trends.  We have choices.  And I don't think that there is morality attached there to basic grooming choices.  Putting on make-up or dying your hair does not lead to promiscuity.  Choices - this time about who we take into the bedroom - leads to that.  

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3 minutes ago, Catwoman said:

And they really aren’t trying to flush their lips and cheeks so they look like they just had sex. They just aren’t!

IKR? Historically, using red pigment on lips and cheeks generally occurs in conjunction with using white powders or ointments on the face to look paler — which was associated with wealth and status, not sex. Going back to Greece and Rome, pale skin was a sign that the owner not only didn't have to work in the fields, she probably didn't even have to leave the house because she had servants to run errands for her. But the problem with painting your face white is that besides looking wealthy, you also look rather sickly. Adding a bit of color to the lips and cheeks gives a healthy glow, so now you look like a healthy wealthy woman instead of a wealthy woman on her deathbed. In the 17th & 18th centuries, aristocratic men and women both wore makeup (and wigs and high heels), and again it was based on white foundation, which not only enhanced the I-never-leave-the-palace look, it also covered scars from smallpox, signs of STDs, etc. And again, adding a bit of red to the cheeks and lips made them look less sickly. And of course given how toxic the makeup was, once you started down that road, you needed more and more to cover the damage caused by wearing it in the first place. The idea that Elizabeth I wore white makeup and rouge in an effort to convince the court that their 70 year old Virgin Queen was a sexually available, reproductively capable, 30 year old is absurd. 

I think the association of makeup with sex, at least in the West, largely comes from it's association with theater, because women in theater were assumed to be sexually promiscuous and not proper ladies. It didn't become common among middle-class women until the early 20th century, when women were pushing back against restrictions in dress and behavior, and started wearing shorter skirts, more functional bathing suits, began drinking and smoking and listening to jazz, etc. And that movement was largely generated by women pushing back against men's attempts to keep them more covered up and disguise any traces of their sexuality! But apparently there are still plenty of people who associate makeup, even minimal natural-looking makeup, with "inappropriate" and even degenerate sexuality. 

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8 minutes ago, StellaM said:

 

Yep. Just reading an article on job hunting over 50 for women, and guess what one suggestion is ? Have your hair colored and blow dried before an interiew - presumably so you don't look like an old crone, because we all know old crones bring nothing to the table. If you want to maximise your chances of employment over 50, whatever you do, don't look over 50! Pretend to be young...bcause youth is the thing we worship. 

I'm well aware you and I come at this topic from opposite corners - I tend to think if the very conservative, and the very leftist both see a thing, it probably exists.

 

 

That same advice applies to men as well. Age discrimination for people over 50 is rampant. 

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3 minutes ago, hshibley said:

That same advice applies to men as well. Age discrimination for people over 50 is rampant. 

No, it doesn't work the same way for men. Oh, you are right that men do face age discrimination in employment but really there is nothing approximating the pressure women face to dye their hair and wear make-up.

Look at male vs. female politicians of similar age--what percentage of men have grey hair vs. the percentage of women with grey hair.

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5 minutes ago, StellaM said:

 

Yep. Just reading an article on job hunting over 50 for women, and guess what one suggestion is ? Have your hair colored and blow dried before an interiew - presumably so you don't look like an old crone, because we all know old crones bring nothing to the table. If you want to maximise your chances of employment over 50, whatever you do, don't look over 50! Pretend to be young...bcause youth is the thing we worship. 

I'm well aware you and I come at this topic from opposite corners - I tend to think if the very conservative, and the very leftist both see a thing, it probably exists.

 

 

But for every example like this, there's a counter example, like men are told to get a fresh haircut and shave or beard trim. I mean, it's just common sense to go into a job interview looking well groomed and fresh-faced, dyed hair or not. Am I the only one who had seen "Just For Men" hair dye commercials? Or "old crone" fashion industry mavens with silver hair?

I am about as conservative as they come, FWIW, but I am generally kind of confused about what's being argued here. Does anyone disagree that there is a Hollywood standard of beauty that is unreasonable and based on sex appeal? I don't. I just don't think it is infecting the choices or apparel of every woman in every situation from sport to formal wear to job interviews to going to the office. I don't think that because the vast, vast majority of people I see do not in any way dress like that or even close and as someone who dresses more conservatively, I have tons of options, too many!, from the very same fashion industry that is supposedly forcing me to be sexy all the time.

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3 minutes ago, maize said:

No, it doesn't work the same way for men. Oh, you are right that men do face age discrimination in employment but really there is nothing approximating the pressure women face to dye their hair and wear make-up.

Look at male vs. female politicians of similar age--what percentage of men have grey hair vs. the percentage of women with grey hair.

 

Uh, the president of the United States dyes his hair and wears makeup. President Reagan dyed his hair and wore makeup. VP Joe Biden had hair transplants. One in 10 men between the ages of 50 and 64 dye their hair, and who knows how many more use Rogain or similar products, have laser treatments or transplants, etc. 

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6 minutes ago, maize said:

No, it doesn't work the same way for men. Oh, you are right that men do face age discrimination in employment but really there is nothing approximating the pressure women face to dye their hair and wear make-up.

Look at male vs. female politicians of similar age--what percentage of men have grey hair vs. the percentage of women with grey hair.

Maize, having lived in DC myself, I would bet you are underestimating the number of male politicians getting hair pieces/plugs/dye, having cosmetic work done, and generally doing spa and salon type skin treatments. It is a thing. And I bet the same could be said in Hollywood. Gray hair may be more acceptable for men in general, but it's not like women are doing these things while men aren't.

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My brother worked for years as a men’s hairstylist.  He was located right by the headquarters of a major corporation in the 70’s and 80’s.  He did all that top guy’s hair and many of them also had their hair dyed.  He was very very good with mixing colors etc and did make a lot of money keeping those guys looking young.  This is not a new thing..........

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42 minutes ago, StellaM said:

 

Even if age discrimination is equal (it isn't), all that indicates is support for the idea that we fetishize youth. And why do we do that ? 

Random thoughts: Probably because on some level smooth and perky is somewhat objectively nicer to look at than wrinkly and saggy. I mean, it's kind of like asking why most people like looking at a sunset rather than rainy clouds. Rain clouds aren't ugly and they are rather useful. Sunsets are just oftentimes more aesthetically pleasing. I don't know about fetishizing anything, any more than youth and beauty are good things. Aging and death kind of suck. I think with any generation there is a bit of Great Gatsby, the-party-will-go-on-forever attitude. In the right cultural environment, wisdom and age are also valued but not in the same way.

I have other thoughts about the idea that the sexy Cosmo beauty ideal is super interesting because it's based on sexual attraction without reproduction. Looking super sexy, but barren or impotent because babies, no way! But they are probably super unpopular and beyond even the tangents in this thread

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17 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

The fact that it isn't a new thing doesn't change the fact that it's also a small thing.  Having spent many of nights stocking CVS shelves I can promise you WAY WAY more women are coloring their hair than men.  Three totes full of hair color, each one about 2X1X1, and about 5 boxes of the whole thing are men's hair color.  One a weekly basis.  The fact is, there are WAY more women buying L'Oreal and Clairol than there are men buying Just For Men.  

 

But so what if more women than men color their hair? Sure, many women dye their hair to cover gray, but many do it just for fun and variety, as well. 

One thing I will say about men is that with only one exception, every middle aged man I know who got divorced started coloring his hair shortly afterward, and most of them joined a gym and started working out. So I guess men aren’t above being concerned with looking their best, either, when they are trying to be sexually attractive to women... 

 

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23 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

The fact that it isn't a new thing doesn't change the fact that it's also a small thing.  Having spent many of nights stocking CVS shelves I can promise you WAY WAY more women are coloring their hair than men.  Three totes full of hair color, each one about 2X1X1, and about 5 boxes of the whole thing are men's hair color.  One a weekly basis.  The fact is, there are WAY more women buying L'Oreal and Clairol than there are men buying Just For Men.  

Men also buy the boxes with women on the front precisely because there aren't as many choices in the men's section. And I bought hair color long before I got gray hair, when I was still in my teens and 20s. I don't know if what is sold and restocked tells us much about who is buying what.

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18 hours ago, Corraleno said:

 

You keep asserting that attractiveness and youthfulness are only valued because they signal sexual availability — and if women don't realize that it's only because they've been brainwashed by a male-dominated society. I totally disagree with that. A fit, youthful, and healthy appearance can be valued for it's own sake, not because it makes men want to have sex with you. Fitness, youth, and health are valued because being old, tired, unhealthy, and unfit are demonstrably less enjoyable. Who doesn't want to be fit and healthy and youthful as long as possible? In no way does that mean any woman who wants to look and feel that way is "really" just trying to get men to look at her in a sexualized way.

 

What it comes down to is this - why would you value a youthful appearance?  Why should anyone want to look a different age than they are?  When someone says - well older people are less attractive - try and unpack that a bit.  Is that actually something objective, or do we feel that because everything in our society conditions us to feel that?

It is very much to the point that we tend to value and try and emulate the appearance of women in their early 20s, a time when they are often relatively powerless and confused, whereas attractive men are often older, when they are likely to be at the height of their power, financial, political, etc.  Look at Hollywood leading men and women - the age discrepancies are pretty stark.  Women's beauty is about youth, firm flesh, or for older women still having those things.  Men's beauty is judged on a rather different basis.

This isn't some kind of inevitability - not all cultures judge the old according to how well they emulate the young.  Even our culture didn't worship youth to the extent we do until the 20th century.  It's not that they don't recognise the beauty of youth, but they also recognise the beauty and wisdom and power of other times in people's lives, and don't expect them to try and deny the passage of time to feel attractive.

Obviously we can't easily change our conditioning, but it's worthwhile to understand that it exists, at least then we can try and push back a bit, and keep some perspective.

 

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1 hour ago, StellaM said:

 

I think there's a degree of privilege that can shield one from many social pressures. 

I know I feel quite extreme social pressure to shave my legs, and dye my hair, and to cover my skin blemishes with a tinted moisturiser. 

If I lived on an island, would I do any of these things ? No way. I'd shave my head, let my leg hair grow, and never look in a mirror to see my skin looking too ruddy, and frankly, old.

You're surely not suggesting women like me are simply weak in character or some such, are you ? Or just making a 'choice' to feel socially pressured ?

 

 

I seriously wish body shaving had never been invented.  I find shaved pits and legs look nicer, sure, because I am used to it.

On the other hand shaving has not been a thing in many places, and people didn't notice it wasn't attractive.

It has no real purpose, it costs money, and all those razors are materially wasteful.  I don't see an up-side.

Edited by Bluegoat
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2 minutes ago, Bluegoat said:

 

What it comes down to is this - why would you value a youthful appearance?  Why should anyone want to look a different age than they are?  When someone says - well older people are less attractive - try and unpack that a bit.  Is that actually something objective, or do we feel that because everything in our society conditions us to feel that?

It is very much to the point that we tend to value and try and emulate the appearance of women in their early 20s, a time when they are often relatively powerless and confused, whereas attractive men are often older, when they are likely to be at the height of their power, financial, political, etc.  Look at Hollywood leading men and women - the age discrepancies are pretty stark.  Women's beauty is about youth, firm flesh, or for older women still having those things.  Men's beauty is judged on a rather different basis.

This isn't some kind of inevitability - not all cultures judge the old according to how well they emulate the young.  Even our culture didn't worship youth to the extent we do until the 20th century.  It's not that they don't recognise the beauty of youth, but they also recognise the beauty and wisdom and power of other times in people's lives, and don't expect them to try and deny the passage of time to feel attractive.

Obviously we can't easily change our conditioning, but it's worthwhile to understand that it exists, at least then we can try and push back a bit, and keep some perspective.

 

I think many people want their younger, healthier bodies. It’s no fun to be crippled by arthritis and in constant pain, just for one example. And I think there is at least some relationship between appearing trim and fit and being healthy, so people also often want that. Since our jobs in general are so much more sedentary now, most people have to work harder to maintain their bodies as they age, so I think it’s natural to long for the faster metabolism and higher energy of our younger selves.

I think our culture also recognizes the wisdom and power of other times in people’s lives. We let Supreme Court justices serve until death if they wish. I may be wrong, but I think RBG is generally admired for her fierce intellect and groundbreaking work, not her youthful appearance. Many of our presidential candidates and politicians are at or past typical retirement age. Outside of perhaps the tech industry, most CEOs are not young. Articles are frequently written about and it is often noted in obituaries when people are still actively working into their 80s and 90s because many people admire that. Although I certainly don’t deny that age discrimination after 50 is a thing in some industries.

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1 hour ago, StellaM said:

 

Yep. Just reading an article on job hunting over 50 for women, and guess what one suggestion is ? Have your hair colored and blow dried before an interiew - presumably so you don't look like an old crone, because we all know old crones bring nothing to the table. If you want to maximise your chances of employment over 50, whatever you do, don't look over 50! Pretend to be young...bcause youth is the thing we worship. 

I'm well aware you and I come at this topic from opposite corners - I tend to think if the very conservative, and the very leftist both see a thing, it probably exists.

 

 

 

Yes, I would suspect that if we could get past the argument about whether the social trend/pressure even exists, we could discuss what we think the implications of it are.  Probably we'd agree on some and disagree on others.  Certainly I think we agree that it devalues old age in women. 

I also have concerns about how it destabilizes sexual relations between men and women (which, as one of the bases of the social fabric, thus destabilizes society).  

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10 minutes ago, moonflower said:

 

Yes, I would suspect that if we could get past the argument about whether the social trend/pressure even exists, we could discuss what we think the implications of it are.  

I too often think that if people would just agree with my basic premise many discussions would be much more fruitful. 😛 😄

 

(That was good natured and self-ddepreciation and snarky all in one. Meant for levity not as a hostile jab.)

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And for whoever suggested that I would want to insist all women wear long floral dresses or something - I'm not sure where that's coming from?  Is it like a sect of conservative Christianity or something?  I don't wear floral dresses, I'm not Christian, and I have already stated on this thread that I do bow to a lot of social pressure re: female appearance, and would probably bow to more if I were in a social situation that demanded it (i.e. if I worked outside the home in a professional capacity, or went to many formal events, or were on TV, or something).  My refusal to wear makeup at home really means almost nothing.  My refusal to wear it to the grocery store is not a huge deal.  If I were a national politician in the US, say 65 years old, and I refused to either wear makeup or dye my hair, I'd be an exception, and I'm not personally strong-willed enough to pull that off. (but I'm also not strong-willed enough to be a politician, so that works out for me).

I saw an interview between what I think was a leftist woman (she was referencing the patriarchy, so I'm going to go out on a limb and assume leftist) and what I think was a conservative man (he was discussing the purpose of makeup).  She was questioning his position on makeup re: blush - why does he think it promotes a youthful appearance, or is intended to represent ripe fruit (redness) or entice men or something.  He said to her, look, why do you think women wear blush?  She had no answer.  He said why do you personally wear makeup?  She said well, in my role (I guess interviewer on TV? or intellectual presenter? not quite sure, it was a short clip) not wearing makeup would be a political statement.  Wearing it is value-neutral.

Now after that he challenged her view of why makeup is required socially and they got off on a tangent with which I disagree, but I thought it was quite interesting that this lady, an intellectual leftist woman who sees male and female relations in the West under the paradigm of an (to her, I think) undesirable Patriarchy, makeup was still something that was value-neutral, socially required, and meant less if you wore it as a woman than if you didn't.

What does that say?  She clearly doesn't want to attract a mate, she's not trying to look beautiful necessarily, she's not experiementing or having fun or whatever - she just knows it's part of the required uniform for women.

Why is makeup, especially makeup that enhances lip color and cheek color, part of the required social uniform for most women in public life?  And not only why is it socially required, but what does that mean and what does it do to gender relations?

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Just now, EmseB said:

I too often think that if people would just agree with my basic premise many discussions would be much more fruitful. 😛 😄

 

(That was good natured and self-ddepreciation and snarky all in one. Meant for levity not as a hostile jab.)

 

I really thought the premise was so universally assumed that we'd be arguing about something much different in this thread and I'm honestly surprised.  🙂  I thought we'd be arguing about why it's a bad idea for married women to wear makeup to work!  Not whether society devalues old age in women by pressuring them to dress like younger ones.

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3 minutes ago, moonflower said:

 

I really thought the premise was so universally assumed that we'd be arguing about something much different in this thread and I'm honestly surprised.  🙂  I thought we'd be arguing about why it's a bad idea for married women to wear makeup to work!  Not whether society devalues old age in women by pressuring them to dress like younger ones.

 

Ok! Let’s argue about that instead! I’m flexible!  😁 

Edited by Catwoman
Why is everything bold??? I can’t get rid of the bold!!!
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4 minutes ago, moonflower said:

 

I also have concerns about how it destabilizes sexual relations between men and women (which, as one of the bases of the social fabric, thus destabilizes society).  

 

You have mentioned this several times now, I am honestly trying to wrap my head around what you mean. Sexual desire, yes it has biological and reproductive reasons, but it is also part of what makes us human. The Catholic church talks about the unitive power of marital relations which is why it is fine for people past childbearing years, or infertile to still enjoy sex and the blessings that it brings to a marriage. Sex is not just about being able to reproduce.

We just moved my dmil into an independent living apartment and people are having sex there. They are looking for companionship and yes, the women wear lipstick and the men are well groomed because sexual desire and the desire for a companion does not end until death.

Certainly, I do not dress like my fit and lovely teen daughter who dresses to look her fashionable best and so do her friends. I dress to look my almost fifty-year-old best. But I certainly do like a compliment and enjoy it when I know I am looking my best. And my best varies- a well-fitting pair of jeans, a skirt that shows my legs, or an off the should top that shows off my tattoo. I am pretty sure that I will like it when a gentleman buys me a drink when I am 80 as much as I liked it in my twenties, and frankly as much as I like it today.

I fail to see how people over 40- which seems to be your category of "too old" for either dressing fashionably or wearing make-up or looking for a companion, destabilizes society. 

What do you mean by that?

 

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Great!  I think it's a terrible idea to have mixed gender workplaces where one gender is required to dress and present themselves as a sexual object and the other is not, especially when the majority of people in the workplace are not actively looking for a mate (that is to say, they're married).  It just seems like a complete mixed signal.

I can't believe I have to say this, but obviously I don't think it's a deliberate signal of sexual availability or interest.  I am not saying that.  I am saying that the actual signal it presents is "I am young enough to bear children, I have hips and breasts, and I am female." I don't think women are planning to do this; I think the social pressure to send this signal when it is not what you mean is both a contradiction and destabilizing.

Now that, folks, is my actual conservative position, and the one that I thought would be controversial!

Much less controversial, I thought, would be that we shouldn't, as a society, sexualize prepubescent girls or older women (not least because it devalues true childhood and old age).

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1 hour ago, StellaM said:

 

I think there's a degree of privilege that can shield one from many social pressures. 

I know I feel quite extreme social pressure to shave my legs, and dye my hair, and to cover my skin blemishes with a tinted moisturiser. 

If I lived on an island, would I do any of these things ? No way. I'd shave my head, let my leg hair grow, and never look in a mirror to see my skin looking too ruddy, and frankly, old.

You're surely not suggesting women like me are simply weak in character or some such, are you ? Or just making a 'choice' to feel socially pressured ?

 

I think you are probably making the choice that makes you more comfortable living in the circumstances you do.   But, I don't know what you consider extreme social pressure.  Do people actually say something to you if you let your hair go too long between dye jobs or don't wear make-up one day?  That would be completely outside my realm of experience and I'm not sure why that indicates some degree of privilege?   

I live far from an island.  I'm in the most densely populated state in the US, in one of the wealthiest counties in the US (living in one of the smallest houses).   I worked in a high pressure office where image was considered a big thing (advertising/marketing), and I still didn't feel pressure to wear make-up, dye my hair or dress in a certain way beyond neat, clean and professional.  And professional had a wide range of what that meant.  For most women at my level, it was nice jeans, and a long-sleeve tshirt or blouse with a sweater.  

Now I run my own business where I'm around other people on a daily basis.   I wear jeans and long sleeve tshirts.   No make-up, don't dye my hair (I'm about 10% grey in dark brown), don't shave.  I don't feel judged or looked down on or any social pressure to change how I am.  I probably see equal number of people who dress more "up" than I do, wear make-up, may cover grey but I don't know if they do or not, as I do people who appear to not bother with any of that stuff.   

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3 minutes ago, moonflower said:

 

I really thought the premise was so universally assumed that we'd be arguing about something much different in this thread and I'm honestly surprised.  🙂  I thought we'd be arguing about why it's a bad idea for married women to wear makeup to work!  Not whether society devalues old age in women by pressuring them to dress like younger ones.

Likewise, I was also surprised in this day and age of widely available modest but stylish clothing, subdued makeup trends (trying to cover up blemishes without looking made up), flats and Hunter rainboots (galoshes!! Rubber mud boots!!) with outdoorsy shapeless safari jackets being trendy amongst co-eds and moms...that we are thinking Cosmo bikini beauty still takes up any space in people's heads as something theu have to compete with.

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1 minute ago, MysteryJen said:

You have mentioned this several times now, I am honestly trying to wrap my head around what you mean. Sexual desire, yes it has biological and reproductive reasons, but it is also part of what makes us human. The Catholic church talks about the unitive power of marital relations which is why it is fine for people past childbearing years, or infertile to still enjoy sex and the blessings that it brings to a marriage. Sex is not just about being able to reproduce.

We just moved my dmil into an independent living apartment and people are having sex there. They are looking for companionship and yes, the women wear lipstick and the men are well groomed because sexual desire and the desire for a companion does not end until death.

Certainly, I do not dress like my fit and lovely teen daughter who dresses to look her fashionable best and so do her friends. I dress to look my almost fifty-year-old best. But I certainly do like a compliment and enjoy it when I know I am looking my best. And my best varies- a well-fitting pair of jeans, a skirt that shows my legs, or an off the should top that shows off my tattoo. I am pretty sure that I will like it when a gentleman buys me a drink when I am 80 as much as I liked it in my twenties, and frankly as much as I like it today.

I fail to see how people over 40- which seems to be your category of "too old" for either dressing fashionably or wearing make-up or looking for a companion, destabilizes society. 

What do you mean by that?

 

 

I don't think the sexualization of older women destabilizes society, necessarily (although when you suggest as a society that all women must present themselves as sexual objects, that could lead to the objectification of women as a class, devaluing what they actually are, which is itself destabilizing).

I think another aspect of it is destabilizing, and that is what I mentioned in the post just above this one - the requirement that most women wear clothing/makeup/shoes/etc. that are more sexualized than men's clothes/shoes/(nonexistent)makeup destabilizes marriages, non-marital social interactions between men and women, and thus the social fabric.

It says look, even women acting in what should be a sex-neutral (gender-neutral) capacity in the workplace are sexual objects!  The subconscious interactions of men and women when women are dressing sexually provocatively (and I am using that phrase in the loosest possible terms, I just mean more provocatively than strictly neutral) are influenced, imo, by these unintended signals.  How can they not be?  

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4 minutes ago, moonflower said:

Great!  I think it's a terrible idea to have mixed gender workplaces where one gender is required to dress and present themselves as a sexual object and the other is not, especially when the majority of people in the workplace are not actively looking for a mate (that is to say, they're married).  It just seems like a complete mixed signal.

I can't believe I have to say this, but obviously I don't think it's a deliberate signal of sexual availability or interest.  I am not saying that.  I am saying that the actual signal it presents is "I am young enough to bear children, I have hips and breasts, and I am female." I don't think women are planning to do this; I think the social pressure to send this signal when it is not what you mean is both a contradiction and destabilizing.

Now that, folks, is my actual conservative position, and the one that I thought would be controversial!

Much less controversial, I thought, would be that we shouldn't, as a society, sexualize prepubescent girls or older women (not least because it devalues true childhood and old age).

I guess part of my disconnect is I don't think all makeup and hair-dye automatically means a person is being presented as a sexual object.   And I don't think most men see a woman wearing a normal amount of make-up, having nice (dyed or not) hair, and dressed appropriately for the workplace and automatically think they are looking for sex.  

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3 minutes ago, EmseB said:

Likewise, I was also surprised in this day and age of widely available modest but stylish clothing, subdued makeup trends (trying to cover up blemishes without looking made up), flats and Hunter rainboots (galoshes!! Rubber mud boots!!) with outdoorsy shapeless safari jackets being trendy amongst co-eds and moms...that we are thinking Cosmo bikini beauty still takes up any space in people's heads as something theu have to compete with.

 

Oh, I must have been unclear, and probably I was overstating the case to try to be clear (which had the opposite effect, sigh).

I don't think most people either have Cosmo standards in the forefront of their mind or dress in bikinis or miniskirts or red lipstick or whatever.

I am not talking about that.

I am saying that any makeup in women means that women wear more makeup than men.  I am saying that women's t-shirts and jeans are lower cut and tighter, respectively and collectively, than men's.  I am saying that while you can wear galoshes, you can't wear them in all situations (although I would say you can probably get away with flats most of the time).  I am saying that the fact that more women than men wear high heels and makeup and tight clothing, and the fact that women's sports uniforms are often more sexualized than men's even when the nature of the sport doesn't require it, means that there is something going on other than pure personal choice. 

 

Of course you can make the choice to dress differently!  Especially if you don't have a work situation or a sport or a social situation that ups the pressure.  But the fact that many women do choose this, in this society, says to me that there is something else at work.

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Moonflower, do you really think that men do not try to present themselves as attractive and desirable? It is a very weird idea to be opposed to mixed gender workplaces because women dress like women.

You could easily say the problem is that men view woman as sex objects regardless of what they wear and because sometimes people have affairs at work. That has nothing to do with how a woman dresses and everything to do with behavior. Men are not so easily led astray and if they are it is a character problem.

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2 minutes ago, moonflower said:

 

I don't think the sexualization of older women destabilizes society, necessarily (although when you suggest as a society that all women must present themselves as sexual objects, that could lead to the objectification of women as a class, devaluing what they actually are, which is itself destabilizing).

I think another aspect of it is destabilizing, and that is what I mentioned in the post just above this one - the requirement that most women wear clothing/makeup/shoes/etc. that are more sexualized than men's clothes/shoes/(nonexistent)makeup destabilizes marriages, non-marital social interactions between men and women, and thus the social fabric.

It says look, even women acting in what should be a sex-neutral (gender-neutral) capacity in the workplace are sexual objects!  The subconscious interactions of men and women when women are dressing sexually provocatively (and I am using that phrase in the loosest possible terms, I just mean more provocatively than strictly neutral) are influenced, imo, by these unintended signals.  How can they not be?  

 

But a nicely dressed, well-groomed man is a sexual object in the workplace, too. Women aren’t blind, and they aren’t immune to the appearance of an attractive man. Whether or not they make any comments about or directly to the attractive man, they still notice him.

 

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1 minute ago, Where's Toto? said:

I guess part of my disconnect is I don't think all makeup and hair-dye automatically means a person is being presented as a sexual object.   And I don't think most men see a woman wearing a normal amount of make-up, having nice (dyed or not) hair, and dressed appropriately for the workplace and automatically think they are looking for sex.  

 

Well, I said this earlier in the thread but it was a good deal earlier.  I don't think women are looking for sex.  I don't think they're doing it consciously and I don't think they're doing it subconsciously.  I am sure I said that before more than once.

I think the social tendency, the trend, the pressure, does have something to do with sex (that is to say, reproduction).  Sex, biologically, is for reproduction.  So if you're doing something that you don't know why you're doing (because you might know why you personally are doing it but you don't know why 70% of American women are doing it) and that something suggests, biologically speaking, greater reproductive ability (younger looking hair, younger looking face (ability to blush, colorful plump lips, smooth skin)), I don't think it's a huge stretch to say that the origin of some of the social behavior is biological.

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6 minutes ago, moonflower said:

Great!  I think it's a terrible idea to have mixed gender workplaces where one gender is required to dress and present themselves as a sexual object and the other is not, especially when the majority of people in the workplace are not actively looking for a mate (that is to say, they're married).  It just seems like a complete mixed signal.

I can't believe I have to say this, but obviously I don't think it's a deliberate signal of sexual availability or interest.  I am not saying that.  I am saying that the actual signal it presents is "I am young enough to bear children, I have hips and breasts, and I am female." I don't think women are planning to do this; I think the social pressure to send this signal when it is not what you mean is both a contradiction and destabilizing.

Now that, folks, is my actual conservative position, and the one that I thought would be controversial!

Much less controversial, I thought, would be that we shouldn't, as a society, sexualize prepubescent girls or older women (not least because it devalues true childhood and old age).

While expecting women to dress in a more sexual way might be the expectation in some work environments, say for people on TV or in certain industries, I really don’t think it’s the norm, at least not in my part of the country. I think TV often portrays this to be the case, but I’m just not seeing it in real life. I’m surrounded by people who work in law, medicine, academia, government, business, etc. And I’m just as likely to see a woman in a dress with make-up and heels, as I am to see one in pants with sensible shoes and no make-up. Just like some men are wearing suits and ties and have obviously invested quite a bit in grooming products and haircuts, while others have on jeans or khakis and a collared shirt. 

And I don’t think anyone disagrees that it’s a bad idea for society to sexualize prepubescent girls.

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28 minutes ago, Bluegoat said:

 

What it comes down to is this - why would you value a youthful appearance?  Why should anyone want to look a different age than they are?  When someone says - well older people are less attractive - try and unpack that a bit.  Is that actually something objective, or do we feel that because everything in our society conditions us to feel that?

It is very much to the point that we tend to value and try and emulate the appearance of women in their early 20s, a time when they are often relatively powerless and confused, whereas attractive men are often older, when they are likely to be at the height of their power, financial, political, etc.  Look at Hollywood leading men and women - the age discrepancies are pretty stark.  Women's beauty is about youth, firm flesh, or for older women still having those things.  Men's beauty is judged on a rather different basis.

This isn't some kind of inevitability - not all cultures judge the old according to how well they emulate the young.  Even our culture didn't worship youth to the extent we do until the 20th century.  It's not that they don't recognise the beauty of youth, but they also recognise the beauty and wisdom and power of other times in people's lives, and don't expect them to try and deny the passage of time to feel attractive.

Obviously we can't easily change our conditioning, but it's worthwhile to understand that it exists, at least then we can try and push back a bit, and keep some perspective.

 

Oh come on — if a 50 year old woman with a successful career and a happy marriage dyes her hair and wears a little bit of makeup, she's doing it in order to look like a powerless and confused 20 yr old, because that's what men want from women? Seriously???

A. What makes you think that women in their 40s, 50s, 60s are trying to look like 20 yr olds instead of successful and attractive 40/50/60 year olds?

B. Why do you think women in their 20s are powerless and confused??? I would certainly not have described myself, or any of my friends, as powerless and confused in our 20s. Most of us were kicking ass in grad school and building our careers.

C. Men's beauty is not judged any less on physical characteristics associated with youth, health, fitness, symmetry, and all the other usual attributed of physical beauty, than women are. Money and power may also be perceived as attractive, generally moreso for men than women, but that has nothing to do with physical looks. I'm sure Jeff Bezos would not have any trouble getting dates, but it's not because women are looking at him thinking "wow that guy is so hot."

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1 minute ago, moonflower said:

 

Well, I said this earlier in the thread but it was a good deal earlier.  I don't think women are looking for sex.  I don't think they're doing it consciously and I don't think they're doing it subconsciously.  I am sure I said that before more than once.

I think the social tendency, the trend, the pressure, does have something to do with sex (that is to say, reproduction).  Sex, biologically, is for reproduction.  So if you're doing something that you don't know why you're doing (because you might know why you personally are doing it but you don't know why 70% of American women are doing it) and that something suggests, biologically speaking, greater reproductive ability (younger looking hair, younger looking face (ability to blush, colorful plump lips, smooth skin)), I don't think it's a huge stretch to say that the origin of some of the social behavior is biological.

 

Actually, I’m pretty sure a lot of women are looking for sex. 🙂 Maybe they want it as part of a marriage, or maybe they enjoy the intimacy as part of a committed relationship without marriage, or maybe they just like to sleep around for fun. I don’t think reproduction is necessarily at the forefront of women’s minds when they meet a man and decide they want to have sex with him.

It makes sense that both men and women want to accentuate their physical assets when they are looking for a romantic relationship. It’s not about trying to look 25; it’s about enhancing what they have so they will be noticed by potential partners. 

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10 minutes ago, moonflower said:

 

Well, I said this earlier in the thread but it was a good deal earlier.  I don't think women are looking for sex.  I don't think they're doing it consciously and I don't think they're doing it subconsciously.  I am sure I said that before more than once.

I think the social tendency, the trend, the pressure, does have something to do with sex (that is to say, reproduction).  Sex, biologically, is for reproduction.  So if you're doing something that you don't know why you're doing (because you might know why you personally are doing it but you don't know why 70% of American women are doing it) and that something suggests, biologically speaking, greater reproductive ability (younger looking hair, younger looking face (ability to blush, colorful plump lips, smooth skin)), I don't think it's a huge stretch to say that the origin of some of the social behavior is biological.

Because women actually lose their reproductive ability as they age, while men’s only decreases, do you think that is what underlies some of the differenences in expectations and societal pressures that you see?

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I think the fact that humans want to have sex and companionship well past their childbearing years says that sex is more than a biological urge to reproduce for most of us.

Goodness knows I haven't wanted another child for years, but I still enjoy time with my husband. And if he died, I would probably like to find another companion at some point in my life.

And I don't think that that is strange or destabilizing to society. I think it is a very normal human desire.

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6 minutes ago, Corraleno said:

Oh come on — if a 50 year old woman with a successful career and a happy marriage dyes her hair and wears a little bit of makeup, she's doing it in order to look like a powerless and confused 20 yr old, because that's what men want from women? Seriously???

A. What makes you think that women in their 40s, 50s, 60s are trying to look like 20 yr olds instead of successful and attractive 40/50/60 year olds?

B. Why do you think women in their 20s are powerless and confused??? I would certainly not have described myself, or any of my friends, as powerless and confused in our 20s. Most of us were kicking ass in grad school and building our careers.

C. Men's beauty is not judged any less on physical characteristics associated with youth, health, fitness, symmetry, and all the other usual attributed of physical beauty, than women are. Money and power may also be perceived as attractive, generally moreso for men than women, but that has nothing to do with physical looks. I'm sure Jeff Bezos would not have any trouble getting dates, but it's not because women are looking at him thinking "wow that guy is so hot."

 

I agree!

It’s very insulting to 20 year-olds to think of them as being powerless and confused. How is that a helpful stereotype to promote? How is that a helpful way for women to talk about other women? 

And the ridiculous assumption about middle-aged and older women wanting to emulate 20 year-olds is just plain ludicrous. Give women some credit instead of acting like they are vapid, shallow idiots! 

If a man had posted comments like that, he would be raked over the coals.

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1 minute ago, MysteryJen said:

I think the fact that humans want to have sex and companionship well past their childbearing years says that sex is more than a biological urge to reproduce for most of us.

Goodness knows I haven't wanted another child for years, but I still enjoy time with my husband. And if he died, I would probably like to find another companion at some point in my life.

And I don't think that that is strange or destabilizing to society. I think it is a very normal human desire.

 

I don’t understand the “destabilizing to society” thing, either.

And I’m still wondering why women aren’t supposed to be viewed as sexual once they are no longer capable of bearing children. That makes no sense to me at all. Are we only supposed to have sex if we are trying to conceive a child? 

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1 minute ago, moonflower said:

 

Oh, I must have been unclear, and probably I was overstating the case to try to be clear (which had the opposite effect, sigh).

I don't think most people either have Cosmo standards in the forefront of their mind or dress in bikinis or miniskirts or red lipstick or whatever.

I am not talking about that.

I am saying that any makeup in women means that women wear more makeup than men.  I am saying that women's t-shirts and jeans are lower cut and tighter, respectively and collectively, than men's.  I am saying that while you can wear galoshes, you can't wear them in all situations (although I would say you can probably get away with flats most of the time).  I am saying that the fact that more women than men wear high heels and makeup and tight clothing, and the fact that women's sports uniforms are often more sexualized than men's even when the nature of the sport doesn't require it, means that there is something going on other than pure personal choice. 

 

Of course you can make the choice to dress differently!  Especially if you don't have a work situation or a sport or a social situation that ups the pressure.  But the fact that many women do choose this, in this society, says to me that there is something else at work.

Well, I still don't accept a lot of the presumptions here, and that seems to be ignored in this discussion so I'm not sure how to get past that.

But in any case none of that means that men aren't doing things, different things, than women in order to appear attractive. Just because it's not makeup and high heels doesn't mean it's not happening in different ways. Because anatomy and biology.

And just because women are doing those things or wearing certain clothing does not mean they are doing so for reasons that you or I might attribute to a certain standard of dress or makeup.

For example, just as anecdote, my husband uses more hair product than I do in order to have his hair look a certain way when he goes to work. When he does it, it's to appear neat and groomed. If I were to do my hair for work, would it be assumed I was doing it because there was some sort of unknown-to-me societal standard influencing me to look younger or sexier? 

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4 minutes ago, Frances said:

Because women actually lose their reproductive ability as they age, while men’s only decreases, do you think that is what underlies some of the differenences in expectations and societal pressures that you see?

That is an interesting question, it could certainly be the biological basis of a social bias pushing women to try to look young.

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Just now, maize said:

That is an interesting question, it could certainly be the biological basis of a social bias pushing women to try to look young.

 

I’m not so sure that women are trying to look young.

For the most part, I think women want to be the best they can be at whatever age they happen to be. I’m 55 and I want to be the fittest and most attractive 55 year-old I can be, but I don’t care about looking 35. 

Just because women take care of their skin, hair, and bodies doesn’t mean they are trying to look young. If they are fit and fashionable, they will probably appear younger than their years, but it’s not that they are desperately trying to cling to their lost youth. 

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9 minutes ago, EmseB said:

Well, I still don't accept a lot of the presumptions here, and that seems to be ignored in this discussion so I'm not sure how to get past that.

I agree — there are fundamental differences here in the assumptions people are starting with, which is hard to get past — especially in the face of implications that anyone who disagrees with certain presuppositions is just too ignorant/brainwashed/unwoke to know better.

Some people seem to take it as given that physical characteristics relating to youth, health, and fitness are only valuable to the extent that they signal sexual availability, therefore anything women do that in any way correlates with what younger women do (wear makeup, dye and style their hair, wear fashionable clothes) is by definition an attempt to signal sexual availability, and this is inappropriate (because apparently women over a certain age have no right to feel attractive, let alone sexy). 

And then having concluded that anything women do that enhances their physical appearance, in any way, is by definition sexual, the further assumption is that these things must have been forced on women by men — because women could not possibly feel empowered by their own sexuality. Which then gets us to the very weird argument that if a woman and man of similar age share a workspace, and they both wears slacks and a sweater to work, the fact that the woman's slacks and sweater may be a little more fitted, and her shoe may have a 1" heel instead of being totally flat, means she is being sexually objectified. And if <gasp> she also happens to wear makeup or dye her hair, the poor brainwashed woman has no idea that she is unknowingly sending the message (which apparently all men can read?) that she is basically a confused, powerless 20 yr old looking to get laid.

IMO there is really not much difference between "we men want you to wear sexy clothes because we like it" and "we fellow women think you should not wear anything that might make you look in any way younger, healthier, fitter, or sexier than we think a 40/50/60 yr old should be allowed to look, because men might think you look good." Both of those positions are equally controlling of women's choices, and in both cases the pressure is based on what men want — either providing it or avoiding it.

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1 hour ago, moonflower said:

Great!  I think it's a terrible idea to have mixed gender workplaces where one gender is required to dress and present themselves as a sexual object and the other is not, especially when the majority of people in the workplace are not actively looking for a mate (that is to say, they're married).  It just seems like a complete mixed signal.

I can't believe I have to say this, but obviously I don't think it's a deliberate signal of sexual availability or interest.  I am not saying that.  I am saying that the actual signal it presents is "I am young enough to bear children, I have hips and breasts, and I am female." I don't think women are planning to do this; I think the social pressure to send this signal when it is not what you mean is both a contradiction and destabilizing.

Now that, folks, is my actual conservative position, and the one that I thought would be controversial!

Much less controversial, I thought, would be that we shouldn't, as a society, sexualize prepubescent girls or older women (not least because it devalues true childhood and old age).

 

I think this is especially interesting in the context of increased scrutiny of the effects of sexual relations or interactions in the workplace, and that there are quite a few office type workplaces that discourage or forbid relationships between employees.  

I think there has actually been a bit of a shift in this, though, I remember back in the early 80s and the idea for women's business dress seemed, generally, to be attempting to present a very similar image to male businessmen.  Although - also very interestingly, this was more true for higher level people like professionals and executives, whereas lower level employees were more likely to wear highly gendered clothing - do you remember working girl?  There was definatly a class thing going on there with regard to clothing and gender signals.

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1 hour ago, moonflower said:

I think another aspect of it is destabilizing, and that is what I mentioned in the post just above this one - the requirement that most women wear clothing/makeup/shoes/etc. that are more sexualized than men's clothes/shoes/(nonexistent)makeup destabilizes marriages, non-marital social interactions between men and women, and thus the social fabric.

It says look, even women acting in what should be a sex-neutral (gender-neutral) capacity in the workplace are sexual objects!  The subconscious interactions of men and women when women are dressing sexually provocatively (and I am using that phrase in the loosest possible terms, I just mean more provocatively than strictly neutral) are influenced, imo, by these unintended signals.  How can they not be?  

In other words, if women would just stop dressing like women, then affairs wouldn't happen because men wouldn't be so tempted to screw around? The blame for consensual affairs between coworkers falls 100% on all those sexy temptresses in their navy suits and bow blouses and sensible pumps and nude lipstick, because men just can't help themselves???

How do you think women should dress? That question has been asked at least half a dozen times but has never been answered. Should we impose a generic unisex uniform like Mao did in China — shapeless blue cotton suits and basic haircuts for everyone? Baggy trousers and unfitted, crew neck sweaters that avoid showing any outline of breasts? Do you think that would put an end to sex in the workplace? 

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1 hour ago, Corraleno said:

Oh come on — if a 50 year old woman with a successful career and a happy marriage dyes her hair and wears a little bit of makeup, she's doing it in order to look like a powerless and confused 20 yr old, because that's what men want from women? Seriously???

A. What makes you think that women in their 40s, 50s, 60s are trying to look like 20 yr olds instead of successful and attractive 40/50/60 year olds?

B. Why do you think women in their 20s are powerless and confused??? I would certainly not have described myself, or any of my friends, as powerless and confused in our 20s. Most of us were kicking ass in grad school and building our careers.

C. Men's beauty is not judged any less on physical characteristics associated with youth, health, fitness, symmetry, and all the other usual attributed of physical beauty, than women are. Money and power may also be perceived as attractive, generally moreso for men than women, but that has nothing to do with physical looks. I'm sure Jeff Bezos would not have any trouble getting dates, but it's not because women are looking at him thinking "wow that guy is so hot."

 

Yes, I am sure that is the goal of many, notwithstanding that hair dye is often advertised specifically with relation to ageing.

But that is really the point - those "successful" women do not in fact look 40 or 50 or 60.  Women that age almost universally have greying hair, often totally grey or even white.

All you are saying here is what others have said - our culture tells us that a put together, successful middle aged woman looks younger than her age.  And that women will take action to achieve that, be it hair dye or make up, or in increasingly large numbers (the stats on this are disturbing), cosmetic procedures like facelifts and botox.

This is so common most people now have a distorted sense of how women should look as they age.

 

Men have a much wider window of attractiveness, this is something that has been commented on by women in industries like television journalism or entertainment for many years, to the point that it is career affecting for them in a serious way.

I am really unsure how it isn't meaningful that women are valued for relative youth and men not nearly so much.  Even if you just think it's purely driven by lizard brain issues.

 

 

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39 minutes ago, Corraleno said:

I agree — there are fundamental differences here in the assumptions people are starting with, which is hard to get past — especially in the face of implications that anyone who disagrees with certain presuppositions is just too ignorant/brainwashed/unwoke to know better.

Some people seem to take it as given that physical characteristics relating to youth, health, and fitness are only valuable to the extent that they signal sexual availability, therefore anything women do that in any way correlates with what younger women do (wear makeup, dye and style their hair, wear fashionable clothes) is by definition an attempt to signal sexual availability, and this is inappropriate (because apparently women over a certain age have no right to feel attractive, let alone sexy). 

And then having concluded that anything women do that enhances their physical appearance, in any way, is by definition sexual, the further assumption is that these things must have been forced on women by men — because women could not possibly feel empowered by their own sexuality. Which then gets us to the very weird argument that if a woman and man of similar age share a workspace, and they both wears slacks and a sweater to work, the fact that the woman's slacks and sweater may be a little more fitted, and her shoe may have a 1" heel instead of being totally flat, means she is being sexually objectified. And if <gasp> she also happens to wear makeup or dye her hair, the poor brainwashed woman has no idea that she is unknowingly sending the message (which apparently all men can read?) that she is basically a confused, powerless 20 yr old looking to get laid.

IMO there is really not much difference between "we men want you to wear sexy clothes because we like it" and "we fellow women think you should not wear anything that might make you look in any way younger, healthier, fitter, or sexier than we think a 40/50/60 yr old should be allowed to look, because men might think you look good." Both of those positions are equally controlling of women's choices, and in both cases the pressure is based on what men want — either providing it or avoiding it.

 

Re: the bolded...saying something is being influenced by strong cultural currents does not equate to saying that it is being forced on women by men. That is an assumption you are making about what others are saying that from my perspective does not actually fit what has been said.

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1 hour ago, MysteryJen said:

I think the fact that humans want to have sex and companionship well past their childbearing years says that sex is more than a biological urge to reproduce for most of us.

Goodness knows I haven't wanted another child for years, but I still enjoy time with my husband. And if he died, I would probably like to find another companion at some point in my life.

And I don't think that that is strange or destabilizing to society. I think it is a very normal human desire.

 

This doesn't necessarily matter from a big picture perspective, for several reasons. And whether women want children is totally immaterial, our DNA just doesn't consider the possibility of birth control, it really only cares about successful reproduction.

It is a good scientific question, as a species, isn't it kind of inefficient for women past fertility to continue to devote resources to sex, and for that matter, why don't they just die at that point like a mayfly?  What's the advantage to living so long after passing on your genes?

Probably the answer comes from us being a species with a long childhood, and also a social species where even non-reproducers can play an important role. In terms of sex the former is the important one. It's advantageous for the parents to continue to be bonded until they have finished raising the kids.  So if we say the last child is born at 50, you want another 10 years beyond that if you can where the parents stay together, and a sexual bond can make that more likely - though it is maybe a better strategy for the woman than the man.

Although, it could be just chance too.  It might be that there is no purpose, and that people simply remain interested in sex because all the bits of the brain that are related to that are still there, and all their memories, and generally their hormones keep working until they actually wear out.  Like a sort of vestigial organ which is still hanging around although its not needed any more.

But in both cases, the biological urges that motivate us still have their origin in the same basic reproductive strategies that have been successful throughout human development - boding, looking for mates who have certain characteristics suited to being a good parent, and so on.  

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