It’s the constant refrain of whiny women like Laura Bates and the 100,000+ Twitter followers of her Everyday Whining Project that women are pressurised (by the media, in particular) to meet unrealistic standards of attractiveness. It’s utter bunkum of course, as anyone who’s read Steve Moxon’s excellent book The Woman Racket (2008) will understand very well. Essentially women seek to maximise their attractiveness in order to ascend the female dominance hierarchy (based on attractiveness and youth) and thereby improve their prospects of attracting and then retaining a man higher up the male dominance hierarchy (based on power or its usual modern proxy, money). Well, it’s easier than working to finance a good standard of living, isn’t it?
But still the women whine on and on, year after year, decade after decade. So we must thank the indefatigable M for pointing us to an interesting article, ‘A Cold War Fought by Women’, in the New York Times, which draws on a paper published recently by the Royal Society. The article:
From the article:
Indirect aggression can take a psychological toll on women who are ostracized or feel pressured to meet impossible standards, like the vogue of thin bodies in many modern societies. Studies have shown that women’s ideal body shape is to be thinner than average — and thinner than what men consider the ideal shape to be. This pressure is frequently blamed on the ultrathin female role models featured in magazines and on television, but Christopher J. Ferguson and other researchers say that it’s mainly the result of competition with their peers, not media images.
“To a large degree the media reflects trends that are going on in society, not creates them,” said Dr. Ferguson, a psychologist at Stetson University. He found that women’s dissatisfaction with their bodies did not correlate with what they watched on television at home. Nor were they influenced by TV programs shown in laboratory experiments: Watching the svelte actresses on “Scrubs” induced no more feelings of inferiority than watching the not-so-svelte star of “Roseanne.”…
In traditional villages, people married at an early age to someone nearby, but young men and women in modern societies are free to postpone marriage as they search long and far for better options. The result is more competition because there are so many more rivals — and there’s no longer any scientific doubt that both sexes are in to win it.