The cost of approval


I read a rather sad article today about a woman who died after attempting self surgery.  She injected Vaseline into her breasts to enlarge them.  As women we are under enormous pressure to look ‘right’.  Pressure is loaded onto us every day from magazines and TV ads that portray these so-called perfect women.  I read the comments under the article (as I always must!) and many of the comments referred to the pressure to feel wanted by men, with many men commenting that us women should stop feeling that pressure because they want natural women, etc etc.

Then I read one comment, which I think is the one I was actually hoping to find as it follows my point of view, which is that it is not really men who put pressure on us women.  No, it isn’t.  How many women will ask a man what he thinks of how she is dressed, how her hair is done, what her makeup looks like, etc, and then totally ignore whatever he said?  Or get angry and then totally ignore whatever he said!  The reason is because most men actually don’t have a clue when it comes to us and most of us know that (Okay, I am generalising a bit for the sake of MY argument.  I know there are women who constantly seek the approval of  men!).

So if most women don’t really seek a man’s approval, then why are we getting all flustered about external ‘beauty’?  Because of other women.  Women can be extraordinarily judgmental.  They judge each others clothing: not the latest fashion, not branded, too revealing, too closed, too tight, too loose, too frumpy, too young or too old.  They judge each other on hair: too thin, too wild, too short, too plain, wrong colour, unwashed, left to dry on its own (yes I actually overheard someone say that about a woman with wet hair who walked past her one morning).  They judge each other on makeup: too much, not enough, skin too yellow or too orange, so fake, makes her look old.

And where a man would make a throw away comment like ‘She looks fat in that’ or ‘god, could that skirt get any shorter?’, they are generalised (still hurtful if the person heard)comments but a woman would analyse every bit of another woman she noticed.  ‘Her legs are bumpy, gross’  or ‘shame, she is quite flat-chested, maybe her friend with the boobs falling out her top can help’ (yes, I have heard both those things being said).

What we women really need to be doing is standing up for each other instead of running each other down.  Maybe if we stopped being so judgmental about each other, the magazines and TV ads would stop Photoshopping the hell out of their models (Here is a short video about magazine retouching (thanks to HLN TV)).  And maybe we would actually start to grow in confidence and really become the fairer sex.

I know men do it to men too, with bigger muscles, more hair, larger other things.  Maybe a man can do a post about that one 😉

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Copyright © 260314 by Karen Payze

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11 Comments

  1. Karen, you’re right on the money with this one. It reminds me of why I connected with you in the first place. Growing up, I considered myself rather ugly, but being poor and proud, never fell into the striving-for-beauty thing. My folks lent toward “wholesome” which was much less work and expense, so I went for that. Looking back at photos of me at the time, I now think I WAS rather pretty…compared to now. LOL!

    • Yes, my folks also did the wholesome thing which is why, even today, I’m not bothered about clothing labels, latest fashion, etc. My hair is normally tied in a pony as that’s the least cumbersome for me and I hardly wear makeup (only for going out really :D). And funnily enough, of all my friends (not as many as it sounds haha), only one has issues with how she looks! But I have heard other women, especially on the playground, who say things that would make you cringe. And they don’t even bat an eyelid!

  2. There’s a fair amount of truth in this and it’s something that is fanned by all these celebrity magazines that adorn the newsagents shelves. It’s a circle that feeds itself.

    Men compete with each other in a similar way – you’ll get many of them bulking up down the gym in a way that is unattractive for many women.

    • yes, men can also bend under societal pressures 🙂

    • And I’m one of those women who think bulging muscles, especially when shown off in public, are revolting.

  3. I’ve never approved of beauty pageants, for the simple reason beauty is deeper than skin. The whole package is not made better by surgery, make up or clothes. The whole package is better when a person has a strong core of values and respect for others.
    Dying to make yourself more beautiful is beyond my scope. Self-surgery, starving, or putting a finger down your throat are all signs of sickness. All I can say is they need our help. 😦
    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

    • Absolutely right!

  4. How sad the story is, but your view on it is great and well-written!

    • Thanks 🙂

  5. Interesting and factual post. When I look around me at women who spend their lives, in the beauticians and hairdressers, I don’t feel envy. I don’t bother with make up except when I go out and my friends, like yours, think the same way. However, I do worry about women today who are teaching their daughters that spending a vast amount on how you look is really important. I think it is in danger of infringing on the important values in life, helping others and putting others before yourself.

    • Thanks 🙂 yes, young girls seem to be under enormous pressure these days to always look and dress a certain way. Its sad really when they should be concentrating on just being kids.

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