The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

5 January 2005

He's just not into looking at you

Feminism, says Laura Kipnis, was supposed to obliterate a culture of female inadequacy. But look what happened:

Yet for all feminism's social achievements, what it never managed to accomplish was the eradication of the heterosexual beauty culture, meaning the time-consuming and expensive potions and procedures — the pedicures, highlights, wax jobs on sensitive areas, "aesthetic surgery," and so on. For some reason, the majority of women simply would not give up the pursuit of beautification, even those armed with feminist theory. (And even those clearly destined to fail.)

Ann Althouse finds this curious:

Note that Kipnis can't just say feminism failed to extinguish the human love of beauty. It's not beauty, it's a beauty culture that is the problem, and a heterosexual one at that. There's some sort of crushing patriarchy imposing something on women, something unnatural, involving "expensive potions and procedures." The assumption — actually quite incredible — is that empowered women would not care how things looked. I think it's more likely that empowered women would demand that males meet a higher standard of beauty.

Or, as Andrew Sullivan once noted, "If women weren't so damn forgiving of slobbiness, if they weren't prepared to look for the diamond buried in the rough of a man's beer-belly, men might have to shape up a little."

And just to keep things interesting, a link to Dawn Eden's response thereto, which refutes the notion that the phenomenon bewailed by Kipnis is somehow heterosexual.

As your Standard Unattractive Guy, I just sit here and watch the (faux) fur fly.

Posted at 10:20 AM to Table for One


I say this with the utmost delicacy, however - Feminisim or not, culture as a whole has always valued something from women (or oppressed them, however you want to look at it). In Biblical times, if you couldnt concieve, you weren't valued. And now its beauty. So, if we irradicate that, then what?

Posted by: Cheryl at 1:42 PM on 5 January 2005

Beauty, politically incorrect as it may be to say so, is a secondary form of currency in our culture; while it's not directly exchangeable for goods and services, generally, its possession opens doors.

Posted by: CGHill at 2:30 PM on 5 January 2005

Paglia: Modern feminism is deficient in 2 large areas, aesthetics & psychology.

Posted by: jeff at 4:02 PM on 5 January 2005