Our current POTUS seems to save his harshest criticism of appearance for women, but men are also targeted for their physical attributes. IE, ‘Little Marco”. And, to be fair, Trump’s opponents make fun of his little hands.
The sad part of all of this is much of our physical appearance has little to do with who we actually are or what we can do. And, to some extent is outside of our control. You know…genetics. Regardless of genetic lottery, looking better means more opportunity. Can you even believe how strongly that is currently being pointed out?
In my mind, the difficult issue to face up to is where our priorities are, as a society and as individuals. As an individual, I could absolutely look better. It would cost money and time, but could easily be done. My nose is far away from perfect. I could have it fixed. One of my eyes is getting pretty droopy. I am not sure which one, because I only notice it in pictures. I could have my eyes done. But, quite honestly, I don’t want to use my resources or time in that way. That isn’t where my top priorities are. I would rather have a vacation to brighten my face.
And guess what! Even if I had “work done”, I would still be subject to criticism. If MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski has work done, our POTUS tweets about her badly bleeding face. What is that all about?
How we look impacts every area of our life. In society, professionally, personally and individually. Don’t like it? Sorry.
I know a woman who has been telling her young adult daughter that she needs to lose weight in order to have the best choices of partner. I can’t believe I am saying this (and have said this), but this mother is giving truthful advice. This young woman is beautiful, stunning really. A beautiful face and hair and eyes and smile. But, she is heavier than some of her peers. Not fat, mind you, but also not celebrity thin. Her mom is right. The better this young woman looks, the more men will give her an initial shot, and the more choices she will have. Do you agree? How does that make you feel? I wonder if there is a difference in answer between men and women.
Of course, after the initial appearance issue, the young woman and her potential partners will contend with values, hobbies, life attitude, lifestyle, and just basic communication skills. That part will matter. It won’t matter if the door doesn’t open. And, of course, she has choices about to whom she opens the door in the first place. Appearance of the men she dates will matter…and, for those men, she may be looking initially at things that don’t actually set the backdrop for a happy life. Don’t get me wrong, I know it can be as difficult for men as for women on the initial appearance front. However, for this young woman, and many many more, looking great means more choices.
The top priority in my life is my marriage. Therefore, when my thoughts wander as I write, I tend to think of virtually everything through than lens. After 31 years of ups and downs, I can sincerely say that my husband and I have a good marriage, and virtually none of it has to do with appearance. I know some people who chose life partners primarily because of appearance (or appearances) and sometimes ended up with not so pleasant people. So, gentlemen, buy your fancy car if you want to, but don’t buy it for how it will make you appear to others. And ladies, buy some really beautiful lingerie if it makes you feel great, but I find that in my case with my hubby, no lingerie is really the ticket.
Regardless of my top priority, I still worry sometimes about how I look. It really doesn’t feel good at all to have the blatant judgement of the character and capability of people seem to be based on appearance. Primarily working with small children for much of my adult life, I haven’t played the appearance game much. My cohorts don’t care, as long as I am kind and trustworthy. Children are great that way. Now I am entering the “adult workforce”, and I don’t have the correct wardrobe. Apparently it matters. I see that on the news.
I am absolutely not trying to point out how there needs to be some sort of societal shift away from enjoying beauty. We love beautiful art, the awe inspiring beauty of mountains or a sunset, a rainbow of color in a well designed floral arrangement, and the big innocent eyes of children. My whole point is, rather, that we shouldn’t limit our personal relationships based on appearance. We each need to strive to get to know people beyond appearances. Sometimes appearances present part of an accurate picture, but sometimes we may not understand what we are actually seeing. A very fit person may indeed be well disciplined, have a strong sense of self, be strong, etc. Or, they may be hurting and using exercise as an escape mechanism, may be exceptionally vain, or may be weak when faced with practical physical challenges.
The appearance of people just plain and simply doesn’t tell the story. Cruelty and criticism does tell a story…about the storyteller.