Current events are tending to put these ‘issues’ into perspective.
You’d think so, but then again, my favourite George Michael cover is Miss Sarajevo, which lyrically is about contestants in a beauty contest that went ahead even though the city was at war at the time. That actually happened.
A neurotic preoccupation with the totally superficial can itself be total, apparently.
I’ve never been in a war zone, but I imagine that distractions from the horror might be welcome at times. The problem we have in the West is that we have elevated the vapid and superficial to being actually important.
It was a show of defiance. To demonstrate that Sarajevo was still alive. Much like putting on Shostakovich’s 7th symphony in Leningrad during that siege. I think your last sentence is off target.
Best regards Lesley, Thank You very much.
Why don’t you focus your time on ‘current events’ as opposed to making useless comments instead?
The nuance and experience behind this article clearly goes way way over your head so much so that you cannot engage at all so make this rather pathetic contribution.
Judging from her picture I would say Sarah is a very beautiful woman.
My wife is also very beautiful – After ten years together I still admire her and intend to do so for as long as we are together, whether wrinkly or not. I don’t tell her half enough how much I enjoy looking at her.
Actually I find women in general very beautiful. Some men can be beautiful too, but mainly they are ugly (I’m ugly).
Men are like bulldogs. Women are like cats. Everybody knows cats are more beautiful than bulldogs.
Cats are a pain in the backside; highly strung, annoying and rude. Make of that what you will. I certainly don’t find them beautiful 😀
Not all, surely? Have you tried ‘1bike1world’s Nala?
What a clever little misogynist you are. Well done!
What a warm, loving statement – your wife is blessed. Long may she enjoy her special bulldog gazing at her.
(ps – have you seen the aberration they’ve bred called sphinx?)
So you believe husbanding your garden creates beauty?
In Sexual Revolution, Laurie Penny writes: “Today, the ideal woman takes up as little space as possible. She is fragile, breakable, thin and hungry-looking.” But that is not what the “ideal woman” looks like in 2022. If it were, women would not be spending thousands of pounds for a big bum and a non-zero chance of an embolism.
Which is why one should never read anyone quite as stupid as Laurie P. Whatever the latest female fad is, she’s going to reveal it as oppression through convoluted argument. When the opposite fad comes along, the process starts again. Fashions change, but some peoples minds are incapable of it.
“I don’t care that much about my appearance.
I get my hair done, though, and I’ve started to have it coloured since I turned 40, but that’s very low maintenance: four times a year, £150 a time. And it only needs to be washed and blow-dried two or three times a week.
I have a skincare regime, **because who doesn’t?** Very simple: just wash, serum, sunscreen in the morning; cream cleanser, gel cleanser, retinol treatment and face oil at night.”
The “because who doesn’t” did it for me and stopped reading.
Maybe it is supposed to be ironic?
Yep, it was sarcastic as hell.
The whole first section was.
The less I fiddle around with lotions and potions the more my skin seems to like it!
This is just about common sense. If it causes you pain, physically and financially, it’s sick. If it gives you pleasure (getting your hair colored) and causes no pain, it’s healthy.
Most forms of plastic surgery are a form of sickness. Having your breasts cut open and saline sacks put inside is SICK. Labiaplasty? Good god!
Too many older women these days end up looking like mummified teenagers. The fillers that work so well at first backfire over time. And from what I’ve heard, those injections hurt.
Young women are a whole different species from older women, most of whom tend to outgrow the need for male approval (or anyone’s approval). That’s why we’re condemned as old hags and hated: women become far more dangerous as we age.
My plea to young women is not to alter their bodies in any irreversible way; they will almost certainly regret it if they’re lucky enough to achieve old age.
I attempted to discourage my ex wife from getting surgery, and failed, not long after she became my “ex”. It set off a long chain of events and killed the relationship. I told her it was completely unnecessary and told her I’d supper however she needed, but that this kind of thing was a slippery slope and so it proved to be. We were at the children’s nativity a couple of years after and sat next to during the performance I heard what I thought was a laugh, I looked at her and realised she’d also started on the Botox path now. She was laughing, there was no accompanying smile in the eyes or cheeks though. I was reminded of this watching Gandalf rescue King Theoden in the second lord of the rings film at the weekend. Sad times that people feel they have to do this.
“Men don’t do this to you. Other women do it to you and you do it to yourselves.”
Exactly so. This arms race is not for the benefit of men. It’s for airheads who really believe that beauty is skin deep.
And I cannot believe I am the only one to find the woman (if it be such) in the leading picture utterly revolting. Deeply ugly.
This whole article illustrates the self indulgence of those who have everything they need materially but have no self esteem. It’s pathetic. And disappointing for Unheard.
I flipped through it in astonishment. All so different to my era when we just put a bit of powder on from a compact and lined our lips. I have the wrinkles now – very blonde so the white has crept in unnoticed – but, to my mind, actresses with wrinkles are better looking than those showing tight faces without any character, and there is something sad about Mums wanting to look like their daughters.
The most surprising thing about this article is that someone has actually read something by Laurie Penny.
And a ‘philosopher’ who came up with the word ‘shametenance’.
Sarah read Penny’s book to review it for The Times. Google that – it’s brutally savage and as funny as hell.
I believe in taking care of myself, and a balanced diet and a rigorous exercise routine. In the morning, if my face is a little puffy, I’ll put on an ice pack while doing my stomach crunches. I can do a thousand now. After I remove the ice pack, I use a deep pore cleanser lotion. In the shower, I use a water activated gel cleanser. Then a honey almond body scrub. And on the face, an exfoliating gel scrub. Then apply a herb mint facial mask, which I leave on for 10 minutes while I prepare the rest of my routine. I always use an aftershave lotion with little or no alcohol, because alcohol dries your face out and makes you look older. Then moisturizer, then an anti-aging eye balm followed by a final moisturizing protective lotion. There is an idea of a Patrick Bateman, some kind of abstraction, but there is no real me.
You should have left off the last sentence to see how many people twigged…
The loafers I’m wearing are by A. Testoni.
Is Paul Owen still handling the Fisher account?
I was almost there before the last line. Can’t be sure I’d have got it though.
First thing I thought was doing 1000 crunches is probably pointless by now due to lack of variation and diminishing returns. Then I saw the last line.
“Women’s bodies, in other words, will always be a problem to solve. They will never be acceptable. That’s what makes Chambers’s position in Intact so appealingly radical: she argues that bodies do not need to be modified. Your body is valuable just as it is, because it is you.”
That’s fine, but get used to being nondescript. Before anyone thinks this is sexist, men have always also faced this harsh life’s equation too, it just lands upon us in different ways: the need to be stoic, resourceful and strong and to prove this daily in the form of reliability and productiveness. Just because this means that one upside for men is that we can get a bit fat without worrying too much, that doesn’t mean we’re not also under an equally tyrannical set of pressures.
There is nothing special or unjust about the fact that women are under huge pressure to be physically attractive to men – especially given that this pressure comes from other women, not men themselves. That pressure can be resisted and rejected, but it does of course come with costs, like any of life’s trade-offs. And there is a point to allowing adults to find their own ways to meet the challenge: bulimic women stuffed full of botox are failing the challenge in the same way that daft men injecting themselves with steroids in the gym do: both of them could simply eat well, drink in moderation and do the right kind of exercise, which is the correct adult choice.
As for the final paragraph, this is nothing more than another way of saying that life is a ride that you can’t get off until the end. Deal with it.
I had difficulty in younger years knowing who owned my body. Him or me. Because I married a thoughtful nice chap it soon ceased to be a problem. I hope fewer young women are raised to consider men to be the arbiters of our bodies.
My wife is 71, bore 3 children, and puts minimum effort (but more than none) into her appearance. She is absolutely more glorious now than when I first saw her in 1977. My grandfather thought the same about my grandmother; as does my father about my mother; and my father in law about his wife. I can’t help but think that marriage can render much of this beauty angst irrelevant.
Lovely. You should be proud. However, women get confused about what men like, largely through the media and watching mens reaction to other women can be very confusing until one day it all became clear. I was in the pub with a girlfriend and half a dozen very tall, bulky blokes walked in. We looked at each other and muttered ‘phoaaaaaar’ and giggled like teenagers. My friend is still single, choosing a career over committment and Ive been married for 40 years, occasionally explosively but mostly happily.neither of us would risk what weve got for a brief physical fling but what fun it is considering it!
o, another blessed wife…!
I can say almost exactly the same thing, word for word – except 73, 2 children, 1979. My father thought the same about my mother. Going farther back, I don’t have enough information
Do you expect us, humans, to be that different to the other mammals ? Why? We might have the blankest of slates but we are still animals. This means there is quite a lot of behaviour that is determined by ancient courtship rules inscribed in our genes. Of course, there are exaggerations and looks that are cringe-worthy. But in western societies, you can do whatever you wish. Do you want to present yourself in a natural way? Go for it! Articles like these remind me of the articles written by people that feel oppressed by Christmas celebrations’. Just don’t do it. As for us, men, the younger generation do a lot of shaving and gyms are still peopled by a majority of men. Do you think it’s for health reasons?
Yes we always forget the evolved bit. Just because we use long words and complicated syntax we think we are not animals full of chemicals, bacteria and randomly mutating cells, there you go a bright thought to end on!
Randomly mutating cells after eons producing anything but a mess is scientifically, mathematically, logistically etc impossible
I see no harm in it…mosty, as its a part of our courtship routine. It doesnt take very long in a relationship to find out how someone looks at their very worst. In eras when brides were presented pre-packed as were, the unpackaging must have contained some nasty shocks. Imagine finding that your new husband wore corsets for instance!
Meanwhile, women in Ukraine have something serious to think about.
Between menarche & menopause I cared desperately about how I looked. Now, not at all. It’s like being unchained from a lunatic. Highly recommended.
I am an old fashioned man and the personification of my ideal woman was Audrey Hepburn, whether in the little black dress or in bush clothes while doing charity work in Africa (sans makeup).
To me, my 74 year old wife is just as beautiful when she first wakes up in the morning as when she has completed her simple makeup for work or going out. I have told her I feel sorry for women because they feel the need to mask their true image or surgically mutilate themselves while men generally shower, shave and are done. She admittedly dresses and does her face in order to get attention, and it works with both men and women.
Some of the most beautiful women I have ever seen are over 70, do not try to hide the natural effects of ageing like graying hair or lines and wrinkles, and look equally amazing dressed up or dressed down. They accept aging as a natural process, and live with their faces and bodies as they are, not as they were at one time.
..and yet another blessed wife..I really must stop reading/responding to these life affirming comments and get a job.
I see, men are to blame for women competing with other women in fashionable looks to enhance their own self image and social status.
But declining to do fashion is its own kind of hard.
There, fixed that for you.
To be honest, competing like that does become boring and hard in itself and what do I want with a man who expects those sort of games from me. There , fixed it for you too!
The difference between visible and invisible effort is a class issue. Women from lower down the socioeconomic ladder have always made more effort to look glamorous. Women higher up the ladder can spend even more money on their appearance however it must look as if they haven’t. Gwyneth Paltrow springs to mind – subtle almost indiscernable tweaks and tucks. Scented candles and crystals as a status symbol as opposed to the thick greasy eyebrow makeup and Lolo Ferarri freakishness of the lass in the picture above. Invisible effort is just that – invisible to most men however they remain shocked by the above image even though in a way, it is actually more honest and authentic.
Gwyneth Paltrow is a nut case. I’ll stick with the slightly chunky, funny, brilliant Kate Winslet.
For what it’s worth, coming from a straight male, “sexy” and “pretty,” while not mutually exclusive, are not the same thing.
The sexiest women I’ve met tend not to be the ones that would turn heads the moment they walk through the door, but after a few minutes conversation have you hooked. Sexiness just oozes out of them. Whereas, one of the prettiest women I’ve ever met, one of Nature’s exceptionally stunning creatures, is so neurotic, self absorbed and generally not very interesting, that she’s entirely unattractive.
I know its cliche’ but only because it’s true: it’s what’s on the inside that counts. At least to a large degree.
Well,well … here’s the tale – recently Unherd censors were changing the word for ‘opposite of white’ to b***k, also my surname. 3 posts I have recently made were red-inked ‘awaiting approval’ and have completely vanished. I changed my name to Balck but it was printed normally? as you can see above and my 3 post are still non-existent: subscription due in 4 days, now cancelled, bye.
This looks like it’s down to a really naff software filter that’s been programmed by a skript kiddie. Let’s hope so. If it’s more sinister than that, then we really have lost unherd to the Dark Side.
I would expect unherd to issue a considered response to these observations given their sensitivity. I’ve raised this as an issue via the help page as I’d like to know before I renew my own subscription!
I’ve fallen foul of the censor in recent days, once for using the word which is the opposite of white and once for using the word rag with a d in front. Are these words now deemed offensive in and of themselves, regardless of context or intent? It may be that naff software is responsible rather than anything more sinister, but it’s very annoying, and I won’t be renewing my subscription unless UnHerd deals with this pdq.
Same thing has happened to me. My posts now have to await approval. Sheet insanity. I won’t renew if this carries on
I had a very, very minor and subtle change done to my face once long ago which made me look ever so slightly ‘come hither’. This experiment proved conclusively to me that men reacted differently and very positively to this look compared to the one before.
Whilst I agree that women often dress for other women (I was in fashion and that was definitely what happened), however changes to bodies were previously always done for men or for the woman herself.
This now has gone to extremes and I think that these very full lipped, huge breasted and big hipped women with American white teeth and harsh, scouse eyebrows seem just to be doing it for money. Look at the reality stars.
Another observation is that ‘skinny-thicc’ also demands slimmish thin thighs, so really can only be achieved by plastic surgery.
This experiment proved conclusively to me that men reacted differently and very positively to this look compared to the one before.
Genuine question here:
Can you be sure that those men were reacting to the change in your physical appearance? (You have, note, emphasised the minimal effect … ‘very minor and subtle’ and ‘ever so slightly..’)?
Might it not have actually been that you had made a mental/emotional change affecting your desirability? After all, something must have happened in your thoughts or feelings that prompted you to have the work done.
In other words, what the men were picking up on could have been not your appearance, but rather your new ‘vibe’.
“I had a very, very minor and subtle change done to my face once long ago which made me look ever so slightly ‘come hither’. This experiment proved conclusively to me that men reacted differently and very positively to this look compared to the one before.”
Are you sure though that it did not change your confidence and demeanour? And this was the difference?
I’d say reacting to signalled availability , which is attractive in itself.
They’re being censored if they question the article.
My renewal was due in 3 days but I have unsubscribed. I’m not paying £49 for this.
So you keep saying. I think you are bluffing. Why? You like the attention too much!! Bit like the writers you criticise…
I’d say the majority of female enhancements/amendments whatever you want to call them are carried out to “get one over” on other women, elevate you above them in whichever way you feel you need to. Most relationships that last a lifetime don’t succeed on an ever changing physical appearance based on chasing the fountain of youth, they grow because of shared experience, emotion and a life lived together.
There are obviously men out there who want to enhance their wives/ladies, but I’d be interested to know how many were ambivalent to these things, or absolutely against them. I think the ratio would be very surprising to many feminists who claim this culture is a product of male dominance or whatever other man related excuses they come up with.
But…women ARE beautiful. Didn’t you all know that?
Yes indeed. Note how the pressure on women to be thin – even triggering anorexia – is from models in women’s magazines. That is, the size-0 models in women’s fashion publications are much thinner – unnaturally so – than those models used in magazines to attract men.
(Just compare “Vogue” to “Fiesta”…)
It’s not as simple as that. While many men may dislike major plastic surgery & even excessive use of fillers, with a subset expressing their disklike quite vocally – there’s also a subset who appreciate it. And even among the ‘anti big fake boobs’ brigade, almost all men respond +vely to female beauty. There’s huge demand for natural seeming beauty. Granted, part of the reason women tend to spend many more hours per month on beauty is as you guys say due to social pressure from other women and just to cheer themselves up. But much of the pressure is from men. (Admitedly I’ve never encountered a man who prefers women thinner than about size 6, so it could be the former size-0 trend was not diven at all by hetrosexual men. but back in the day there were a few men saying even a size 8 lass could lose a pounds.)
We’re talking typical men & women here. There’s doubtless a few men just above incel class (or even chads who are very vain) who spend more time than the average women on looks maxing. But generally pressure to look good falls harder on women. Not saying that’s totally a bad thing, but it would help almost everyone if society could return to being a little less Lookist.
You are right… it is amazing how many women know that they cannot confidently swagger around with many wrinkles and a large belly – many men seem to get away with this.
That’s because women pay nil attention to men’s clothes, hair, shoes, or figure. If the idea is to attract female attention, hours in the gym and cash spent on fripperies are wholly wasted. So men “confidently swagger around with many wrinkles and a large belly” because there’s no return on the effort to look better. Women simply aren’t looking.
If the writer thinks that men pay attention to her clothes, makeup, shoes and wardrobe, when she doesn’t pay attention to their appearance and nor do they, she maybe needs to get her information from people a bit smarter than Dan Savage and Laurie Penny.
Women such as this writer, however, seize on the “subset who appreciate it” to decide that they are forced by this subset to squander money on narcissism. It’s bull5hit with no foundation in data; in fact, it’s explicitly contradicted by much data that shows men rate women as being more attractive than the reverse. That is, show men 100 pictures of women and they’ll say 60 of them are attractive, whereas women shown pictures of men will say 10 or 15 are.
Narcissism in women is no less unattractive for being displayed differently. The male equivalent of the female behaviours described is probably the obsessive bodybuilder who spends his life in the gym and his money on steroids to be the hugest bloke there. It impresses only other bodybuilders but everyone else thinks it looks weird and gross.
A very interesting article, which captures the Catch-22 of both beauty and standards quite well. One thing it makes me think of is the old concept of the Invisible Woman. There comes a time in almost everyone’s life, this includes men and women, where they are no longer seen as “eye-catching.” We cannot all look like Brad Pitt or George Clooney, aging wonderfully, nor can all women age as well as Elizabeth Hurley or Salma Hayek. We go bald, get fat, boobs sag, etc. But, we want to put that off as long as possible, no? So, makeup, gym passes, Rogain, hope, desperation.
Combine this with social media, where we can show all of our old school rivals that we are still hot/fit/rich/great. Instead of aging gracefully, content with our mid-life hobbies and children.
This is not that hard. Men are apes, and are sexually attracted to women that appear to be healthy and fertile.
Women are ape-ettes, and instinctively present themselves in a way that attracts men. So they instinctively do stuff to preserve the appearance of healthy vibrant youth. Even if they are feminists and Literally Know Nothing.
It’s the ScienceTM.
To show how terrible it is when women are objectified… this article is accompanied by a photo of a woman being objectified…
If we are looking at the same picture, that’s a woman who’s been mutilated, not objectified. Any man who sincerely thinks that’s attractive has a screw loose.
My dear old mum (RIP) would say: “Haven’t women little to be worried about” or even ..”little to be doing?” ..how right she was!
Logically one must ask: are women so ugly that they have to disguise and cover up their ugliness? Of course not! Equally, we must ask are men so beautiful they need no such masks to hide their faces?
How sad it is to see a young girl cover her beautiful face with orange makeup and paint herself to look just like the next orange clown-face. Washed off, her true natural beauty shines true like a flower in a garbage heap.
And older women get to look interesting even as their lines appear and bodies look ‘adult’while those trying to look 20 years younger only look laughable. A friend recently chatted up a lady who turned out to be his friend’s mother! I will say in his defence he was drunk and the lights were low!
I wish women could see beyond superficiality, engage with real issues and stop wasting their money on expensive muck. And why do shapely women want to look like bumless boys?
When I was young no self-respecting girl or woman ‘cheapened’ herself with this muck! Make-up was virtually invisible. Dress sense was elegant while now it’s just ‘sluttish’. Music was written by people for people unlike now when we have noise written by computers for computers or drugged-out numb-skulls. Art was art. In fairness many films were rubbish! Gotta give this generation some credit!
Indeed. I suspect you are pointing to a development in modern life. Decades ago people knew and saw a small set of friends and prospective spouses. Newspapers showed grainy black and white photos of celebrities and films were the go to for idealised (and rather restrained) glamour. All of that meant that there were fewer examples of super-stimuli (perfect make up, lustrous hair, long legs, tiny waists, big bosoms, revealing clothing).
And now people make a living publishing their super-stimuli in competition with the best around the world.
The beauty industry does seem to be an arms race where women are constantly trying to get the one up on her competitors. And, of course, as primates we aren’t really evolved to have much beauty differences between the sexes (vs. birds). I imagine that if all women stopped using all the various beauty products at once, the entire standard of beauty would reset… but then one day, one woman wants her lips just a little more red, and so the arms race would begin again.
It’s a shame if you don’t change your mind on that as you’re one of the real characters on here and really know your stuff on certain topics (even if I disagree with you 80% of the time). Most unlikely a moderator blanked your thread IMO. Its another example of the “dammned if you don’t / dammed if you do” phenomena mentioned by Sarah in the main article. I.e dammned if theylet users self moderate (with the report flag) but also dammned if they don’t as they probably dont have funds to pay staff to moderate in real time. Definetly the below the line conversation would be much improved if they increase the sophistication of the current system…
PATHETIC, VAIN BULLSHIT.
“Listing everything I do for beauty makes me sound, I know, unserious. If you’re a man, you may feel incredulous at this litany of vanity. Possibly you’re wondering how I have the time or the money for these commitments.”
What I’m wondering, even after reading this article, is why you do all of this if, as you claim, you’re a feminist. If you don’t care what men think then I can only conclude that you’re efforts are aimed at conforming with what other women expect of you. Is it their judgement or disapproval you are attempting to avoid?
Does this mean a reality show?
I was thinking it was more like politics into fashion.
“I get my hair done, though, and I’ve started to have it coloured since I turned 40, but that’s very low maintenance: four times a year, £150 a time.”
Count yourself lucky. I get my hear done 6 times a year at £5 a time and it takes my barber all of 5 minutes to deal with what is left of my hair
I was horrified entering the barbers in Scandinavia, to be presented upon leaving with a bill for nearly £90, post covid it is now over £100. I wait until I am back in the UK before having mine done now, costs me £10 including tip, and I can live with looking like Stig of the Dump on the odd occasion I’m away several months
It would be interesting for the admins to review the red flag reporters. Perhaps you have been blessed with a determined canceller.
I have written to them again and once again suggested that the people flagging comments are more often than not blatant mischief makers and that they need to ascertain who these people are. I’ve said that they are losing contributors and Ive sent screen shots.
UnHerd should start a dating agency for like-minded people like they do at the Guardian.
Life is too short….really!