(Is feminism creating a double standard when we should be celebrating our differences?)
Every woman you meet, talk to, or see interviewed now considers herself a feminist. Why? Because with many things in life men and women should be equal. May it be salary for doing the same exact job or voting for the president there should be equality. But there are many ways, which men and women will always be different and that’s ok. Each gender has its own natural advantages and disadvantages and we should embrace and recognize that. In some ways it’s almost “en vogue” to be a feminist. Many high profile celebrities champion feminism solely to promote their personal brand. It’s tough for me to take Katy Perry’s “Rah Rah women” message seriously when she’s dancing around in a candy cane bra shooting whip cream out of her boobs. She tells the public she’s a feminist but is totally happy to be paid and recognized by the fact that she is attractive and selling sex. Or what about Beyonce cheering “Who runs the world? Girls” while dancing around in a skirt with girls in lingerie around her? What about Dove soap promoting ads with “real women”? Are these really feminist platforms or are they preaching female empowerment because it serves their personal brand?
A large part of feminism is exploring how sexuality affects social roles and the female experience. No one, men or women, likes to be judged by their looks but the fact is we are by both genders every day. Humans are animals and we are dominated by our sense of vision. The only difference with humans is we have the brain capacity and cognitive thought to feel guilty about it. But just because we feel bad about it doesn’t make it not true. Women, you can’t go to the farmer’s market and pick the prettiest flower in the bunch or spend three times as much money for an Apple product and say that you don’t also have a bias towards aesthetics. Why do you avoid that tattered dirty man on the street corner? Aren’t you judging someone by his looks? Why do you decorate your apartment or shop at Anthropologie when you can just get perfectly functional and cheaper things at Wal-Mart? You can’t judge other things by their looks and then be mad when they others judge you the same way. What about the stripper that calls her job “female empowerment” then gets fake breasts? There is no biological functional reason to get giant large fake breasts so can any woman with fake breasts truly consider herself a feminist? They are openly admitting that looks do matter otherwise they would be perfectly happy with what they have. You can’t reap the benefits of being an attractive female bartender or model then get mad when people later judge you. That’s a double standard. Judging someone by their looks is “superficial” but it’s also who we are as animals. If looks didn’t matter then you would never wear make up, jewelry, and high heels. What about fashion magazines? How unattractive are the women in there? Why do you look at them? We would all wear burlap sacks and sensible shoes if looks didn’t matter. There are chemicals in our brain are released when we see objects, art, or people that are beautiful and you shouldn’t feel bad about that because that’s who we are. That’s not perpetuated patriarchal oppression, that’s human physiology.
The issue is also that men, for whatever reason are even more visual than women. Men process attractive women on an instinctual biological level as being more fertile and being able to produce better looking offspring. There are scientific studies that show that men are visually and instinctually attracted to a mathematical waist to hip ratio because it shows fertility. In Darwinian terms the fastest cheetah gets the prey, the most colorful peacock gets the mate, and biggest blowfish can scare away the most predators. So what if “beauty” in the human animal is a selectively favorable trait? What if that’s the best and most advantageous way to make the most offspring? You can argue what “beauty” is but the generally accepted connotation is outward beauty. This is what men are most attracted to and there is no amount of picketing and Cosmo articles that are going to change a man’s basic human instincts. Is that fair? No. But is it fair that you judge a man by height, gait, and body language before he even says a word? No. Why is it ok if you like the talentless Channing Tatum but men can’t like the talentless Kate Upton? Take it from a bald guy with a crooked nose that I wish this wasn’t true but it is, we are all judged by our looks.
There are many things that men and women are different at and that is completely 100% OK. We don’t have to be equal in absolutely everything. Men are naturally physically stronger than women. Women are naturally better at with feeling, intuition, and in many cases logic. The ultimate in female empowerment is embracing your femininity, what it is to be a woman, and then realizing that some of the innate differences are OK. There are some things men and women will never be equal with and that’s by design. So don’t let the differences upset you because that’s not going change anything and in the end they all balance out. It’s the differences in our genders that make us beautiful.
[Photo: Venice, Italy]