One lady friend of mine has the absolute sexiest exaggeration of typical female proportions. She is all legs and hips and rear end with a petite upper body. There is hardly a man whose jaw does not drop when she walks past. But she hates being two thirds legs and hips. She has no clue. I also know women with teenage-boy-hips who wish their hips were slimmer. If a woman has any semblence of typical female proportions, with a relatively larger bottom half, it seems that she frets about it.
I have thought much about this business of women who's model of female attractiveness seems to be the build of a man. For years I have asked every woman who I care about to please stop wearing shoulder pads. "Men like a woman's relatively petite upper body" I assure them, but they always resist. "Oh no. Shoulder pads are necessary for balance." Can you conceive of men padding their hips for "balance"? Balance can be sexy, but imbalance is sexier, and the imbalance that men are attracted to is the opposite of the imbalance that women are attracted to. How can a whole generation of women be confused about that?
Feminists have tried to blame the hip-less, butt-less beauty ideal on men and the media. Yes, but not in the way they think. The problem is that the fashion industry is all women and homosexual men. No one in the entire industry is attracted to women. None of them have any direct knowledge of what a heterosexual man is innately attracted to.
Last year a PBS documentary on the idealized female body type contained a revealing moment. A male designer was describing just how rare it is to find a girl who fits the industry ideal, and describing his excitement at finding that one in a million. Here was an overtly homosexual man describing his heart rate jumping, the physical flush he feels. He was clearly describing sexual arousal, and gushing and fawning his arousal right there on the screen. Of course models are going to be a very rare breed. They are the extremely rare girls whose bodies are a turn on to male homosexual fashion designers. It is no mystery at all why they are skinny and rangy and with no hips and big shoulders. Neither is it a mystery why padded shoulders and hip minimization have dominated fashion for the last fifteen years. The only mystery is why so many heterosexual men and women have bought into it.
I have nothing but scorn for the leftist academics who think that values are socially constructed. Social cues have no capacity to create value. They can tell us where to look, but what we see is determined by what there is to see. The beauty in a Mozart piano concerto is in the music, and if it wasn't, no amount of social conditioning could make you hear what wasn't there. But just because social clues have no capacity to create value does not mean they aren't terribly important. What could be more important than the information we pass on about where value lies?
The homosexual ideal of women's beauty is especially misleading because all women are in the same boat as women in the fashion industry. They have no direct experience of what is attractive to a man. They are like a tone deaf person at a concert. They cannot see what there is to see, but depend on social clues, and are easily misled into seeing as attractive what they are programmed to find attractive.
The skewed information is all the more powerful because it is so consistent and pervasive. There is little embrace of the variety of ways a woman can be beautiful. And models are beautiful, even hipless, big shouldered and rangey. There are as many ways for a woman to be beautiful as there are ways for a woman to be wonderful. Models may be a little funny looking but the fact is they are female, with beautiful faces and femininity, and when all the social cues are pointing out their attractiveness, it is easy to see.
Boys are also misled by the prevelance of the homosexual ideal of female beauty. They have spent their whole lives up until puberty learning to see the prettiness of girls who are built just like them. As they grow up, their eyes need to adjust, but the prevalence of the homosexual ideal keeps them fixated on their childish discoveries of value.
This fixation is turned from passive to active by the anxiety boys feel about growing up. Just as girls feel anxiety about leaving their boyish proportions behind, so too boys are afraid of curves, at least as much as they are attracted. Real curves suggest a real woman, but no boy feels like a real man. Add the obsession that young people have with conformity of tastes and person and, so long as the homosexuals are picking all the models, their inverted ideal of female beauty will have termendous influence.
Boys eventually figure it out, but it seems that many women, with no direct access to what men find attractive, never do. But there is a simple answer: have heterosexual men pick the models. We don't need a law. This is not a matter for public policy but for public culture. All we need to do is broadly recognize the problem and then markets will solve it. Models picked by heterosexual men will be recognized as the superior product?
Why aren't they being recognized as the superior product now. Because women are tone deaf to what men find attractive, and women are the one's buying the magazines. They need to understand intellectually that the present culture is not what men are attracted to, but is what homosexual men are attracted to. It is what they wish they could look like when they go in a gay club: skinny, buttless, shoulders. Just what all the homosexual men there will want. They are this strange subset of society that actually does know exactly what the people they are attracted to are attracted to. Ladies, the men you are interested in aren't over there. Stop spending your time with them.
Is there a more blatantly inferior commercial product imaginable? The public culture just needs to wake up, it's that simple. No one wants to say anything because, well, the homosexuals might not like it. But no one gets to hide from the truth and the truth is that the homosexual ideal of female attractiveness does not belong anywhere but in a gay club.
(Alexander Rawls is pursuing a Ph.D. in economics.)
Next article in the Non-ideal Theory volume of Moral Science: Why Politically Correct Social Engineering Backfires
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