Sunday, February 16, 2014

Defining Beauty

How we define female beauty or male attractiveness may doom our happiness or the ability to attract the right mate. Why is that?

The first issue is how we feel about ourselves. There are few things more off-putting than a woman who puts down herself. A woman who constantly bemoans her weight, hair, or any other feature wants reassurance that she’s okay. Her date renders up confirmation that she is attractive, but she may brush the words away, too caught up in the media-generated version of beauty to accept the words.

Her date feels like she doesn’t value his opinion or doesn’t have the courtesy to listen to him. Later on, after constant needs for reassurance or obsessing about her weight, the man disappears. This only confirms what the woman believed. Women are horribly insulted when their recently departed man chooses someone heavier or less conventionally attractive.  What they failed to realize is how the man views this woman.

The new woman is okay with who she is. It could be that she might want to lose a few pounds, but she isn’t going to base her vacation plans or her life on it. People who are able to love themselves are able to love others. It’s impossible to accept other people when you can’t accept yourself. The cattiness that comes between women stems from the failure to love who they are.

Most women compare themselves to media-generated images that bear no relationship to actual people. A model on the Steve Harvey show recently revealed all the Photo Shopping that went into her bikini shoot. Here was a woman who was already trim and beautiful who had more “help” than any plastic surgeon junkie with the help of technology. Some fashion magazines use computer-generated models since human females are not thin enough.

Despite all the magazine covers and romance novels featuring men with hairless six-pack torsos, men don’t look like that.  An unrealistic standard of beauty cuts both ways.

Women often refuse to date a man under five ten.  It would be like refusing to date a man because he had brown eyes. This is another media-generated image of what a man should be. Not only does a woman expect the man to be taller than her, but still taller after she dons her skyscraper heels. According to the Huffington Post, only four percent of US women are willing to date a man their height or shorter.

How we view people makes all the difference in the world. I have women friends who are married to men much younger than they are. I have heavier than average friends who married attractive, athletic husbands. They all went on to have great lives and marriages.

The difference was they were okay with who they were. None of them lost any sleep over the fact they didn’t look like a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model. Their husbands loved them for the brilliant, strong, wonderful women they are. The smart men were able to see real beauty.

Happy people are attractive. Unhappy people aren’t. Often those who are unhappy with their own appearance seek validation in the appearance of their date thinking, ‘If my date meets the media criterion for beauty then that means I'm okay.’ What it means is a constant pursuit of a better model to prove self-worth.

It’s not too late to fall in love with you. It involves accepting yourself as you are right now. It’s amazing that once you are okay with yourself how many other people are okay with who you are. They always were, but it was impossible to see through your own doubts.

Loving yourself allows you to see others as they are as opposed to picking through dating profiles for the best body. This doesn’t happen all at once. I can see in retrospect that I allowed myself to be treated poorly because I didn’t think I deserved better. My dates mirrored back my own behavior.

I met my sweetie once I was okay with myself. He was the one who convinced me that I didn’t need to lose weight to be beautiful and he’s right. I see him as my gorgeous Adonis. Other women saw him as not tall enough.

There were some lonely men and women this Valentine’s Day. There were plenty of folks who would have been wonderful dates for them, but their tight grip on unrealistic beauty standards condemns them to solitude.


  1. Good article, well written. I am one of those suffering from a bit of self-loathing and am, of course, single. I work on loving myself but it is one of the hardest things to do in this world.

    1. Dear Rebecca,
      Most women assume they're not good enough. Even celebrities wrestle with this issue. Part of this is culture, but the majority is advertsing. If wonen didn't doubt their attractiveness, who'd pay for all the diet plans, spanx, makeup, spa services and cosmetic surgery?

      You've always have been beautiful from the day you were born until this very moment. Accept the real truth opposed to the manufactured lies created by advertising, Without fear and greed, almost nothing would be sold.

  2. Morgan:

    You highlighted here about how the mass media generates images for both men and women. I find when I watch old TV shows like Mary Tyler Moore, I particularly notice how much the actresses look more like normal people. I am a straight man who is not dead, and I it seems like if an actress is under 5'-7" and not a bleached blonde, she is ignored today.

    I am a man under 5'-10", and I have gone out with a few ladies taller than me. Frankly, my brother is married to a taller woman, and has been for 16 years. I do agree that some women do not like to date men shorter than them, and this bothered me when I was younger. When I got to be about 31, if a taller woman didn't want to go out with me (even for just dinner or something), I wouldn't let it bother me, and just move on.

    What's inside is more important than what is outside. Married couples who have endured long marriages say that the looks will fade as time moves on, but the common interests and the internal love lasts. My little brother got married recently, and as the ceremony ended, the pastor announced "the wedding has ended, but the marriage is just beginning."

    I also know another pastor who likes to say, "it is better to be single and wish you were married than to be married and wish you were single."

  3. Ugh! my post disappeared! Thanks for helping me to better understand this issue better.