Well… they matter as far as they contain souls, personalities and that they can get those souls from A to B and give birth to new life, etc. But you know what I mean.
If aliens came to earth without any cultural context they would think that we worship women’s bodies. They are at the centre of our art and advertisements. Hundreds of hours of women’s lives are dedicated to conforming the female body to whatever is deemed beautiful this generation. Hundreds of men’s hours will be spent gawking, talking and jacking over women’s bodies.
You could pass it off as natural if men were held to the same standards. Even men who take pride in their appearance will NEVER know the pressure that women live under to conform to the present decade’s beauty standards. It takes a woman twice the time it takes a man to get ready to go out because she doesn’t feel she will be accepted if she doesn’t. And…maybe she won’t.
A couple of years ago, my namesake, Dustin Hoffman was in a video describing his role in the movie Tootsie:
In the video he lamented that there were friendships he was never able to have because society brainwashed him into believing that the most interesting, most worthwhile women are those who can most easily adhere to the culture’s current beauty standard. I wrote a song about the realization that I had been brainwashed the same way: My wife was goofing off in the background and ironically at first asked me not to post the video because she didn’t like how she looked.
Last October, a video was released in which a woman walked around New York City for 10 hours while a hidden camera recorded the catcalls of men she passed:
This reminded me of the seven months I trained as an electrician. We were putting up an overpriced condo in Lloydminster. In the trades it’s rare that you hear a female’s voice and when you do it cuts through every unfinished wall to your ears. You become adept to hearing female voices at long distances. If you are a woman, walk by a construction site talking loudly on your cell phone. You will see men, like termites, scatter to the windows and unfinished balconies to see what they are so cruelly denied throughout the workday.
One day my foreman and I were on break in the lunch trailer. In between bites of meat sandwiches, we heard a female talking to her dogs as she walked them by our site. My foreman stuck his head out the door and confirmed that she did in fact meet his standards. Our conversation went like this.
CNN put together a two-person panel to explain the reality of cat-calling in the world and, specifically, New York City.
Amanda Seales says that men calling out to women that they are sexually available is annoying and harassment. Steve Santagati says that women like being catcalled as long as the man is attractive. He says, “I am an expert, because I am a guy and I know how we think,” but he never says anything about what men think. So I thought I would do it for him.
WHAT A MAN THINKS WHEN HE CAT-CALLS A WOMAN
1. Through media and social conditioning I have been told to be on the look out for certain perceptions of beauty. These include but are not limited to: a small tight butt, a large round butt, breasts prominently displayed in a tight or low-cut top, skinny hips displayed through tight pants, long legs, being “done up” (make-up, hair), being thin, etc.
2. Oh…there goes one of those things I’ve been keeping an eye out for.
3. I have seen something important.
4. I’m going to say something.
WHAT A WOMAN THINKS WHEN SHE IS BEING CAT-CALLED (from what I hear)
1. I am scared.
2. I am being objectified
NO MAKEUP SELFIES
Not long ago, the fad of no-makeup selfies became popular. The language around it was that it was a brave thing for women to do. But for the most part women were choosing pictures in which they still met all of society’s standards for being attractive. There’s not a pock mark, zit or blotch in sight. My wife, as well as many other women thought this movement was an example of thinly-veiled vanity instead of a feminist act of non-conformity to a standard of beauty. The message was not, “We don’t need makeup to conform to standards of beauty,” but “Look how hot I can look without makeup”… (but with filters and strategically-chosen angles).
In response to this, my wife, Carrie, started posting Ugly Selfies in which truly brave women purposely looked unflattering in photos.
She posted this picture with the dare:
“Guess what. Your no make-up selfies are not that brave. Can you do THIS and still love yourself? I literally sat by myself and laughed until I cried when I saw this photo.”
This was a true middle finger to the beauty standards of our society and the internet. The results were provocative and hilarious:
Eventually guys started getting into it:
and I couldn’t resist myself:
THE NEGATIVE IMPLICATIONS OF OVER-ATTENTION TO THE FEMALE BODY
These perceptions of beauty invariably get linked to a woman’s sexuality, confidence and self-worth. A recent survey asked men and women about the enjoyment of sex and the majority of women said their enjoyment of sex depended on how they felt they looked during sex.
MEANING: These women will be sexual when they feel “sexy” and they will feel sexy when they feel they look sexy. This invariably means that a woman’s sex life will last as long as she feels young and beautiful while a man’s sex life will never putter out. Sex is meant to be a life-long activity and the causality of over-attention to the female body is a sexual partnership.
A woman’s body will never win the Nobel Peace Prize but plenty of women’s minds have. The worth of a woman is not in how she looks but how she carries herself through life. I am a man who wrote an article about women, maybe I should now shut up and leave you with the words of a great woman.