What Makes a Woman Beautiful to a Man?

what makes a woman

Dr. Adam Sheck examines what it means to be beautiful, and explains the elements that create true beauty in his eyes.

As a man with a nineteen-year-old daughter, I am sometimes quite concerned with society’s continuing obsession with beauty, more specifically about our definition and attitudes about a woman’s beauty. The messages for the most part are fear-based and focused not as much on appreciating beauty as artificially preserving it and hanging onto it. The premise is that time and age make a woman less beautiful and that women must sacrifice time, money and health to conform to an externally dictated standard of beauty.

My concern is that the media has bombarded us with messages that have hypnotized us into believing that their definition of beauty is actually true. Like most of the messages we see in the media, the motivation is control and money. The beauty industry is a multi-billion dollar powerhouse that stays in business by telling us what is beautiful and who is beautiful, for their own gain.

I’m not worth nearly a billion dollars, but I am a man who’s been on the planet for over half a century, as well as a psychologist in Los Angeles, so I’ve seen and heard a lot about it, and would like to offer my perspective as a man who’s been around the block and isn’t in the pocket of the beauty business.

First, a woman is not beautiful in a vacuum, there is always an observer who interprets that beauty, even if it is the woman herself. But what I’d really like to talk about is how a man creates beauty through his perception of a woman.

Yes, I firmly believe that the love and admiration of a man has a role in creating beauty in a woman. As a former engineer, I learned that quantum physics tells us that observation affects the “reality” of what is being observed.

In making this statement, I want to make a distinction between “beautiful” and “attractive”. We are biologically disposed towards what is attractive, based upon what would make good “breeding” material in both sexes. It’s not romantic, but it’s true.

As the theory goes, classic attractiveness is based upon symmetry and proportion. The more symmetrical, the more “pure” and more prone to survival are the underlying genetics. We know and react to this deep within our DNA on a visceral, unconscious level.

This isn’t really news. The designers of the Great Pyramids of Egypt as well as Leonardo Da Vinci and so many others of the Renaissance used the “Golden Ratio” of 1:1.62 in creating their masterpieces. When an object or person meets this ratio, we consider it or them to be beautiful.

We can apply this to the ratio of face length to face width. We can apply it to nose-to-chin or pupil-to-nose ratios. It is endless—just ask any plastic surgeon.

Psychologically, we find attractive someone who embodies the qualities of our primary caregivers. The people who raised us, typically our parents and extended family are our models for relationship, emotionally as well as physically. Sometimes we choose someone who is the opposite of them, yet we are still using them as our template.

We are all drawn to certain body parts that sexually stimulate us: face, eyes, hair, breasts, belly, butt, legs, ankles. We each have different preferences, which is a good thing, as it is a rare woman who has each body part exactly as we would prefer. Again, this variation in what is attractive offers another genetic advantage through creating a more varied gene pool and is therefore more conducive to survival of the species.

Emotional maturity consists of recognizing our predispositions and focusing more on what we appreciate than on what we don’t appreciate in our partner and being grateful for that. We do have a cerebral cortex that lets us override the instincts of our reptilian brain.

♦◊♦

Taking all of that into consideration, I would argue that attraction and sexual chemistry don’t make a woman beautiful, they simply make her attractive. I would argue that beauty is defined by something deeper, that it is truly more than skin deep.

Love is a big part of what creates beauty in a woman, at least in my eyes. When I truly love a woman and love her beautiful way of being, she becomes beautiful in my mind and in my soul, and then in my eyes. And when she is able to witness and feel my love for her and my vision of her beauty and she can fully take it in, then she is transformed.

I’m not saying this in a narcissistic, controlling way or even in a romantic sense. This beauty-endowing mechanism isn’t something unique to me or to men in general. We all have this gift. We all create beauty in our lives and in our relationships. There is something alchemical, something transformative about it, something soulful about it.

Have you ever experienced it from the other side? Have you ever wished that you could see yourself the way that your beloved sees you? You can and perhaps you have. That’s the beauty of relationship—we can be mirrors for each other and can also be healers for each other.

I have loved deeply and experienced beauty in women that have not been conventionally attractive or classically beautiful. I have experienced tears in my eyes from witnessing a beauty that has caused my more objective friends to question my very sanity. Looking at photos of these women years later after my intense connection has subsided, I can understand what raised the eyebrows of my doubting friends. I can also understand the soulfulness and the love that expanded my perceptions.

The type of beauty that I refer to defies gravity and time. It doesn’t require Botox and Pilates and rigorous diets. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t take care of ourselves and do whatever makes us feel good about ourselves. I’m saying that the beauty of love is timeless and is not affected by the ravages of life.

Haven’t we all witnessed an elderly couple walking hand in hand and gazing into each other’s eyes with a love that has endured decades and decades of life’s vicissitudes? Haven’t we all been envious of the love and the beauty that is the co-creation of their relationship?

The beauty that I’m describing isn’t about attraction and sexuality, though we all deserve to have someone we’re sexually attracted to and who is attracted to us. It isn’t limited to one romantic relationship.

It is about any love relationship. I have had dear friends and family in the throes of cancer and AIDS, at less than half of their normal body weight and they have been beautiful to me. The soul is the soul and its essence is beauty on all levels.

The title of this article is “What Makes A Woman Beautiful To A Man” and it was written as one man’s response to one woman’s piece about beauty. However, the mechanism of love is one that transcends gender and sexual orientation. I believe that it is true for ALL types of relationships between all types of peoples. The soul doesn’t care what kind of body it or its mate are living in. Love is love and beauty is beauty.

Am I a hopeless romantic or am I onto something? For the sake of my daughter and all of the young women in our world, I would like to think so. What are your experiences of beauty and of creating beauty in your partner?

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Photo: Flickr/Candida.Performa

 

About Dr. Adam Sheck

Dr. Adam Sheck is a licensed Psychologist, Couples Counselor and Relationship Coach, supporting couples and singles in connecting to their passion and purpose at thepassiondoctor.com. In addition to podcasting on iTunes, his newest focus is supporting clients getting over the grief of a relationship ending at brokenheartscanheal.com. You can find him on Facebook when he's not busy writing for The Good Men Project.

Comments

  1. “Love is a big part of what creates beauty in a woman, at least in my eyes. When I truly love a woman and love her beautiful way of being, she becomes beautiful in my mind and in my soul, and then in my eyes. And when she is able to witness and feel my love for her and my vision of her beauty and she can fully take it in, then she is transformed.”

    There were so many things I could have pulled out of this article…things that made my heart sing. But this part has to be one of the best. Thank you!

  2. Rebecka,
    Thank you so much. I wrote this from my heart and hope that it will touch a few people and perhaps even contribute to the healing process.
    Warmly,
    Adam Sheck

  3. Angie Rodger says:

    Great post, Adam. Here are some thoughts:

    The ‘buy in’ of what women ‘must be’ to be sexy/attractive/desireable etc, is being rejected more and more – by women themselves. This is a great thing, as the notion of a one size fits all is ludicrous. In the world of social media and the proliferation of the pouty ‘selfies’, girls are being judged on their looks at a relatively young age. And from what I see, most posts are met with ‘oh, you’re so hot’, ‘wow, gorgeous’, and so on. Thus an ‘ego’ is created that must be fed, and a need for continued adulation, though not realizing it’s not ‘real’ in the first place. Women who are a little older and have full, meaningful lives across a range of areas start to realise that esteem, happiness, and contentment is based on a number of factors, and self-love is primary. That is not ego based: it’s based on healthy self-worth and feeling ‘enough’ (their own judgement). By not needing external validation, a woman can really shine. In whatever way, shape, or form meets HER needs. That’s when she is truly attractive to her significant other. He will sense a whole human being. Women don’t want multiple men ‘worshipping’ them if they are healthily esteemed. They want one. At the right time for both. Women want to feel safe, men want to be appreciated. Neither of those primary needs is based on looks, it comes from self-worth, respect, maturity and love over ego. When people fall ‘out of love’ it’s often more based on needs and values no longer being met, one party craving external validation or variety because of lethargy developing in the relationship, or an incompatiblility created over time. That’s why it’s vital to check-in with your other, never take them for granted, and remember that in a level three relationship their needs are your needs.

    • “Women who are a little older and have full, meaningful lives across a range of areas start to realise that esteem, happiness, and contentment is based on a number of factors, and self-love is primary. That is not ego based: it’s based on healthy self-worth and feeling ‘enough’ (their own judgement). By not needing external validation, a woman can really shine. In whatever way, shape, or form meets HER needs. That’s when she is truly attractive to her significant other. He will sense a whole human being.”

      Beautifully expressed Angie. Unfortunately, not all women who are a little older come from this school of thought; I’m just as sure, not all young ones feel otherwise. There are exceptions to every rule, and this one ain’t an exception. The maturity that comes as a byproduct of self worth is what makes one truly understand this little nuance of life, hopefully more sooner than later.

  4. Beauty is subjective. Some of the women my friends aren’t attracted to I find very sexy. Some people like older, younger, similar age, fat, thin, tall, short, dark, pale, blonde hair, blue hair, all colours hair.

    Our definition of beauty also ages a bit as we age. Generally we like similar aged people give or take 5 years. The feelings of love also make someone far more beautiful than they physically are, when I was in love she was already pretty but her looks to me were supermodel, I watched Miss World or whatever and thought my love was sexier.

    • Archy,
      As I believe that beauty is co-created, I agree with you on its subjective nature and how you perceived your love as sexier than Miss World. Not sure about the change over age, though I’ll mull it over.
      Thanks so much for sharing,
      Adam

  5. Angie,
    Thanks for your thoughts, they certainly make sense to me and hopefully inspire others and encourage them as well.
    Adam

  6. Adam,

    Obviously beauty, to a great extent, truly is in the eye of the beholder. I find character, graciousness, kindness and generosity to be absolutely the most beautiful qualities in any woman, or man for that sake.

  7. I speak on my own behalf when I say thank you! Such lovely, sane, frank, soulful, kind, knowing words.

  8. Jon Laux says:

    Good article, Adam. Based on I do think you’re on to something. Not long ago I realized that if I wanted my marriage to change, it meant *me* changing rather than waiting for my wife to change. I remember one time that she was criticizing me, and I sense that underneath her anger she was very hungry to know she mattered to me. I remember walking the 6 steps across the room to her – very hard steps to take at the time – and silently wrapping her in a big hug. As soon as I did, she softened and started to cry. It’s changed our marriage. I think that’s part of our job as men – to see through whatever surface expression is going on, to recognize and honor her deeper hungers.

    • Good Job Jon,

      As a husband, married for 30 years, I can appreciate how hard those six steps across the room were. I’ve had to take them myself. They do change everything.

      • Perry,
        Good for you. It all begins with the most present member of the couple (it changes from moment to moment) to move towards instead of away (wrote an article on this on my passion doctor website, might have to repub it here at some point).
        Adam Sheck

        • FlyingKal says:

          Dr Sheck, thanks for a good article.
          Can you clarify a little bit what you mean with “the most present member of the couple”, please?

          • FK,
            What I mean by the “most present” member is whoever is most grounded, least reactive and most able to contain the other’s reactivity. When working with couples in counseling I might refer to it ( (inaccurately) as who is “most sane” at the moment.

            Hope that helps,
            Adam

            • FlyingKal says:

              Thanks for the answer.
              I grew up as a bookworm with 2 bullying elder brothers and 2 rather indifferent parents, so I guess I’m about as “reactive” as they come..

    • Jon,

      Great insights and wisdom, I’m thinking that it was hard-won. I agree with you, we need to look to ourselves first and whatever changes we make will definitely change the relational system.

      I also agree (though some may take umbrage) that part of our work as men is to stand strong in our clarity and love and allow our partners to discharge and vent and reveal the love underneath all of that. I’m distinguishing that from allowing ourselves to be punching bags; we can co-create healing in each other.

      Adam Sheck

    • marlene says:

      we all know, love is just a word, it’s the action, the showing of love that matters.

      • Marlene,
        It is a feeling that drives the action. And sometimes when we are disconnected or defended against the feeling, we must use the thought to drive the action until the feelings is available again.
        Take care,
        Adam

  9. Ah, one of the great imponderables of life. You are correct, industries have been built pursuing beauty with the unfortunate effect of constantly disparaging everyone. No one is thin enough, rich enough, has a smile white enough, hair glossy enough, drinks the right brand, and so on. It is unfortunate to keep placing this unattainable goal in front of everyone’s eyes for the sake of selling something to fix it. That being said, beauty will never be achieved by wearing a brand, using a brand of makeup, using a particular shampoo.

    Beauty also changes with the emotional content. As you note, twenty-something’s are attracted to their hard bodies, their energy, their “breedability”. As a relationship matures, the reliance on beauty fades and is replaced with attachment. Continued connection brings it back to an appreciation of the soul’s beauty, looking beyond the wrinkles and grey to see the heart that stood with you all this time.

    I believe that at times we have an intuition about this later stage and it draws us beyond the current physical measurements of beauty.

    My question is about the impact of social changes on this typical growth model to appreciate beauty. With later in life connections happening due to divorce, we are becoming trapped in an endless quest for the first stage of beauty, we no longer have the patience to stick it out to the later stages of appreciating beauty. The influences of marketing are winning, creating the culture of instant gratification, expectations of model beauty, with no appreciation for the effects of caring for others, self sacrifice. What do we have to do to get away from Madison Avenue’s definition?

    • Tim,
      You definitely raise a great point. In a long-term relationship that we are more invested in, we may have a greater willingness to practice mindfulness and a soulful type of love. In a new relationship, we may be more driven by our instincts.

      I have no sweeping solution aside from bringing our experience and wisdom into consciousness and practice what we want to create. It’s the “work” of relationship and has many rewards of course. If it were easier, I wouldn’t be needing to support so many couples over the years (which I’m grateful to do) in couples counseling. I have to say, doing Skype sessions surprised me at their effectiveness, I never would have thought that technology could help facilitate that kind of connection with couples.

      Take care,
      Adam Sheck

  10. Much has been said on what men find attractive and beautiful about women.

    Now we also want to hear what women, if at all, find attractive and beautiful in men

    • Actually, I don’t believe that “much” or even enough has been said on this topic. If you are inviting women to contribute to the comments/discussion, I totally agree though. I did write this piece to support them in creating independence from the mass hypnosis. It takes all of us to create that freedom though.
      Adam Sheck

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Tim, I’d LOVE to write an article like that! Is that something men would like to see.

      • Joanna, yes. But not what WOMEN like but what individual women like.

      • Jameseq says:

        why not, would be an interesting read joanna.
        speaking of interesting reads, as u were name checked in it, do you know if andy hind’s slate article 30may2013 was subtle satire?

      • No need to write the article. I already know, its confidence and sense of humor , right?

  11. Eva Maria Nova says:

    Hi Adam, it’s Eva
    I have to be frank and say that I never understood quite so well why for Heaven’s sake I ate that apple ;))

    Your insight on ‘What Makes a Woman Beautiful to a Man’ sparked my curiosity adding a reason more to simply jump into deeper exploration…
    I have to say that an insight of a kind is especially valuable when it comes from a person who is A Specialist in analyzing, profiling,deciphering and re-directing the psych in both, individual as well as interconnection(al) level which is fundamental, right?

    Aldous Huxley wrote beautifully about this in “The Genius and The Goddess”:

    “Why do you love the woman you’re in love with?
    Because she is. And that, after all, is God’s own definition of Himself; I am that I am. The girl is who she is. Some of her isness spills over and impregnates the entire universe. Objects and events cease to be mere representations of classes and become their own uniqueness; cease to be illustrations of verbal abstractions and become fully concrete. Then you stop being in love, and the universe collapses, with an almost audible squeak of derision, into its normal insignificance… ”

    To me, it is all about the energy one transmits,…
    There are frequencies we catch as a fineliest summery of all human energies which has nothing to do with physical appearance, meaning physical proximity and/or presence… and so when we are lucky to come in whatever contact with those energies they reflect upon us the subtlest beauty one may ever experience.
    Then we may probably define our love towards our beloved ones as a beauty truly extraordinaire because it is s~he who sets the criteria through their beautifully aligned energies we were(are) blessed to be given the ability to feel and experience on a same level.
    I guess as long as we cultivate that inner-sensory power which is the ability to recognize not only what’s been transmitted to us but the impulses we transmit at any given time as well, the key answer may lie right t~here in the concept that the Beauty we see(experience) is truly and only a reflection of ourselves.

  12. Eva,

    You are too funny, it’s a pleasure to hear from you. Thank you for your deeper thoughts. I agree, it is definitely about an energetic for me. Whether we call that energetic beauty or soul or love or something else, it definitely transcends as well as embraces the physical in my experience.

    Thanks again for sharing,
    Adam Sheck

  13. Hi Adam, Always enjoy your articles.

    Seems to me that when you’re talking about beauty, we’re looking at a women whom we find visually attractive. I think things have changed through the years. When I was young, yes, physical attraction was part of the equation but it wasn’t that which relationships were built upon. A young lady may look very appealing which may prompt a guy to initiate a conversation that may even turn into a relationship.

    What I see these days is that a women may be drop dead gorgeous and a guy may want to go to bet with her but the beauty is not that which a relationship is developed. Granted, some couples may end up finding each other more interesting and pursue the development of the relationship but with sex being “recreational” these days, relationships are not built on sex and sex appeal.

    Think about it, she’s a knock out but she’s a bulb shy of a full chandelier, ya know what I mean?

    So maybe we should be looking at two different women. The women you would like to know better and perhaps build a relationship and then the women that ya simply want to go to bed with.

    Years ago, life was a hell of lot more simple. Guys built relationships with the women they were interested in BEFORE they went to bed with them.

  14. wellokaythen says:

    I’m guessing you must be VERY popular with women. This article is exactly what many women want to hear from a man. It’s brilliant in that way. I’m so cynical that I keep thinking it is exactly what many people want to hear, whether it’s sincere or not. Maybe that’s unfair of me, but I can’t help noticing how perfectly constructed it seems.

  15. If I like the look of perky breasts and shapely buttocks, that does not make me an inferior human. I could pretend to be far more well-rounded (so to speak) than I am, but that would be a lie.

    • Steve,
      I don’t believe I said anything about not being human and appreciating aesthetically pleasing body parts. I might write a piece on objectification at some point, yet I certainly don’t judge it, we all do it, unless we’re in denial. That has very little to do with what I’m writing about though.
      Take care,
      Adam Sheck

      • Joanna Schroeder says:

        Yeah, I mean, most women who are straight will tell you that they like the look of strong arms or fit abs.

        But those are turn-ons. What’s really beautiful? Commitment, intimacy, the eyes of someone who loves you, the touch of someone who cares, knowing someone deeply, recognizing their laugh in a room full of people.

        In reality, what Adam says about beauty is true for all genders, all relationships. And it’s often related to, but not necessarily because of the things that turn us on (in intimate relationships).

        • Absolutely Joanna. Again, it’s attraction versus beauty and they ARE different. And I agree, it is true for everyone.
          Thanks for the backup,
          Adam

        • @Joanna…

          “Yeah, I mean, most women who are straight will tell you that they like the look of strong arms or fit abs.

          But those are turn-ons.”

          Then, you say…

          “In reality, what Adam says about beauty is true for all genders, all relationships. And it’s often related to, but not necessarily because of the things that turn us on (in intimate relationships).”

          So, you’re saying what turns a woman on outside an intimate relationship is different than what turns a woman on in an intimate relationship?

          How can this be true? Seriously.

        • FlyingKal says:

          Joanna,
          Yeah, I mean, most women who are straight will tell you that they like the look of strong arms or fit abs.

          No they won’t. Because most women love to pretend, and try to keep up the appearance, that women are somehow less shallow or superficial than men…

          • Thanks for letting us women know how most of us are pretenders and liars, FlyingKal!

            Most women will not be upfront about that, that is true. Because we know that mentioning even the smallest sexual turn-on, depending on the way or time or space, can bring a lot of harassment from men. This, or they are just too ashamed or even unfamiliar with it. Did you know many women don’t even mention men in a sexual way with their best friends? But hey, that is because we are bad evil people, not because of sexual repression. It is all about most women’s lying ways, definitely!
            And yes, women, in general, are less shallow than men, in general. Women, in general, are a lot more forgiving of men’s appearance than men are forgiving of women’s appearance, in general. That does not mean women don’t like fit and hard bodies, gorgeous faces and abs. That means we may like it, but that, for most of us, is not important at all when looking for a relationship – or even casual sex sometimes. Many women will still prefer having casual sex with the skinny/slightly overweight guy who is fun, respectful and gives us security (women do not want to feel threatened) than with the super hot model who is a tool and will care less about our boundaries. Unless she is sick in the head, then she might fall for the last one, poor girls.
            So yes. But thanks for also letting us know you actually admit men are shallow and superficial. Sorry for it cannot be extended in the same way for women though, as it was your twisted intention.

  16. wellokaythen says:

    We all have some kind of paraphilia, the stuff that turns us on. It’s just a question of how common or how rare it is, really. Actually, I’m not so sure that is even question, besides the practical question of how likely you are to find someone like that. Who really cares how common or rare your aesthetic is?

    I rarely find high heels to be sexy, and in fact I usually find them a turn-off. I like laugh lines around a woman’s eyes, and I think panty lines are quite sexy. Give me nice shoulders with freckles over perfect breasts any day. Weird, I know. Go figure.

  17. “Have you ever wished you could see yourself the way your beloved sees you?”

    Deep stuff, Dr. Sheck….! I must admit it is intoxicating and bewildering when someone falls for me and all I can see in myself is my “warts and all”…..The boost of confidence is incredible…. Doesn’t everyone need an ego boost of some kind? But looking back, being appreciated for one’s beauty and being attributed magical qualities seems kind of superficial… as if the person looking at you is not really seeing the real you ( a person with her own feelings and thoughts and maybe she likes the admiration but not the person looking at her)…..I think my ex saw some perfect Madame Butterfly doll when he looked at me, whereas I was just a smart ass talking teen with braces and pimples and loads of insecurities and anxieties…..

    I think when I finally ended it he was in shock that I didn’t want to play that Madame Butterfly role anymore and that I wanted to just play someone else entirely— the real, authentic me, who was not interested in him….putting it mildly, he got really mad that I was no longer “his mirror”….

    Great article….so insightful!

  18. Your article moved me beyond words…..Not just as a therapist but as the mother of one teenage daughter and a fast approaching teenage daughter. I have read somewhere the saying, “Be the kind of man you would want your daughter to marry.” There is profound wisdom in this as fathers play a crucial role in their daughter’s self esteem and their perception of true beauty. Your article is a gift, for your daughter as well as countless others. Thank you! I will definitely be sharing this.

  19. Dorota Mikulec says:

    “Love is a big part of what creates beauty in a woman, at least in my eyes. When I truly love a woman and love her beautiful way of being, she becomes beautiful in my mind and in my soul, and then in my eyes. And when she is able to witness and feel my love for her and my vision of her beauty and she can fully take it in, then she is transformed.”
    I am romantic soul… in your words is profound wisdom, Genuine love opens people’s hearts and souls, needs two wonderful people, one who can trust and one who can understand. It is said a man’s job is to respect women, but it is a woman’s job to give him something to respect, …..and vice versa.
    Dorota :-))

  20. Okay, Adam, let me share first that my sense of what makes a woman beautiful to us (and in return to her) is very close to yours.

    It’s funny that you are bringing quantum physics about it (I once myself brought Pauli exclusion principle in analyzing men/women relationship) but it’s very true, for that matter, that separating the observant (seeing beauty) and the observed (feeling beautiful) would be missing the point and totally arbitrary. In short I experienced the same at multiple times and share the same perception of beauty in two chapters of my book called “Being Beautiful” and “Real Bodies”.

    Of course what you say about the overwhelming media’s propaganda about this fake beauty that belongs to no real world and only seek to make money is absolutely true. I denounce it as well. In fact what makes me sad is to see this absolute confusion deliberately fostered between concepts which are definitively different from each other. I’ll name beauty, prettiness, aesthetic or attractiveness. These notions are not the same at all. Aesthetic is base on rules of symmetry, regularity, smoothness etc … some models’ faces often have these proprieties while being mundane and boring. The true beauty is somewhere else, it comes from what disturb and whip your attention. The musician who invented the Bossa Nova found absolute beauty by violating the rules of harmony (see Desafinado for example).
    Now if we wanna think of what can be sexually attractive I would share that not only it can escape the laws of simple aesthetic but those of beauty as well.
    Now in love matter I totally share this soul dimension of beauty – the beauty shared by two loving being is obviously overruling pure considerations of shapes and appearances it’s something radiating from inside and throwing a special light on the loved one who is then experiencing the more genuine and strongest beauty feeling ever.

  21. I’d love to believe this, but I think my generation (I am a 24 year old woman) does not share this view. I have never, ever met a man who doesn’t place the beauty the beauty industry sells us at the top of his ‘want’ list in a woman. As a woman who isn’t classically beautiful I can see this very clearly.
    You say yourself that you’re at least 50 – I have no doubt that this article has relevance and truth for men, say, over the age of 35. However, my generation care about one thing and one thing only – and that’s being slim and pretty. Sit someone who can hold an intelligent conversation, who has passions and ambition, next to a blonde model and the blonde model will get the guy every time. Sad, but true.

    • “Sit someone who can hold an intelligent conversation, who has passions and ambition, next to a blonde model and the blonde model will get the guy every time. Sad, but true.”
      Really? What if that model is so ditzy that they become quite unattractive? They may be ok for a casual thing that doesn’t need much compatibility but what about a serious and long term relationship? If their interests bore the hell out of you? If they like to be treated like a princess and you want an equal?

      Being slim n pretty is attractive (To me, others differ) but you need a personality behind it. There are many people whom I see complain of beauty standards but they are so negative that they aren’t very fun, whilst the thinner “sexier” person IS more fun, flirts, knows how to talk n get what they want and that relies on personality. Beauty gets the cock hard n that’s about it, you need the personality to get the heart going…Beauty merely gets initial attention.

      • Archy,
        Thanks for sharing a glimmer of hope for Anna. I think that every relationship is more about phantasy until we first open our mouths and hear each other. That is when a tiny bit of reality may begin to set in. And so it goes.
        Adam

      • Another case of a dude missing the point. Or just unable to see, who knows, as most men believe how they perceive women and their value (based on their looks) is the norm and that even woman are like that (and most women are not at all like that).

        The thing is: men want the “super model” who also has some personality. A woman less attractive than that but with a better personality will still forever lose to the super model with a peronality a little bit worse.
        Many women less beautiful know that most men do not want them and do not get the “cock hard” for them. If they do, that is because they are too desperate and need some hole to masturbate with and that is all.
        Less attractive women don’t even get the initial attraction, even of the less attractive men. While most women still look for PERSONALITY as the initial attraction point. I have never looked at a hot guy and said… mm, maybe I should approach him, so if he has a great personality maybe we could have something even deeper! No, I actually dont care about the hot dudes and instead focus on the men I already know; if they are cool I will be attracted to them. Yes some things are turn-offs, like obese men and too older men; but on the rest, I am, just like most women, much more “forgiving” about their looks than men are about women’s looks. In fact, we usually dont focus on it at all.

    • I definitely feel your pain, Anna – I grew up in California, where it seemed all the guys wanted blond cheerleader types. Then I moved to Silicon Valley, where I thought as a geeky girl, I should finally have an advantage. Then I discovered that the geeky guys aren’t any different, except they tend to prefer hot Asian girls over hot blond girls (I’m grossly generalizing, I know, but I can’t tell you how many interesting guys I wrote off after learning that their last 4 girlfriends were Asian and concluding I had no chance!)

      I’m too tall, geeky personality, plain face, average body, not blond. I’m part Scandinavian but I didn’t get the pretty Scandinavian features, I just got the big build (I have to wear men’s sized hats and gloves!) I always longed to be petite, skinny, cute, and feminine. Instead I look like I should be raising 9 kids on a farm.

      From the perspective of middle age though, I want to advise you not to let fears about your appearance poison your social life. Looking back, I think I wasted way too much time and energy fretting about the men who ignore me or the opportunities I missed because men rejected me for my lack of “hotness.” I still struggle with these feelings, but at the same time, life is short and as Ferris Bueller said, if you don’t stop and look around, you might miss it. Take advantage of your best features and embrace life and you WILL meet men who think you are amazing.

      • Sarah,
        Thanks for sharing your experience and some good advice. I agree, there seems to be a lot of energy lost focusing on the people that are not interested in us and not enough on the people that are. Our species has been around for a long time, so there’s definitely a “lid for evrey pot.” I might have to write an article about that.
        Thanks,
        Adam

    • Felicia says:

      I must have gotten wonderfully lucky, and I think I did, but my husband does see my personality as the most enduring and lovely part of who I am. This really came to light in a conversation we had recently, as I went on yet another diet trying to get back to my lowest weight and skinniest self. I was telling him that when I can’t loose the weight, I feel that I am disappointing him, that he expected to have a thin wife when he married me and that I am failing in my perceived promise to him. What he said may not seem all that flattering, but it really is. My mother is not thin, she is quite fat. She is loosing a lot of the weight now, but at the time we were dating and got married she was at her largest and my husband looked at her and assumed that I would one day look like that too. But he loved who I am, my sense of humor, my playfulness, my wit and ability to have an intelligent conversation (I’m the daughter of a PHD chemist and the wife of an engineer, I know all the geeky jokes) and my love of him. Here I was killing myself to loose a few pounds (I’m only really about 10lbs above what I’d like to be) thinking that it was what was most important to him. It’s not. I can’t tell you how loved I feel knowing that he looked at my mom and said “you know what, I don’t care if she gets that big, I want her anyway.”

      These men do exist. They are hard to find, but they are out there.

      • “These men do exist. They are hard to find, but they are out there.”

        These men are not hard to find, there are tons of men who fall in love with women personalities not her looks. If I said its hard to find women who are not into guys wealth, would you feel insulted???

        I’m sick of these “good men are so rare now”. If good men are rare, then good women aren’t less rare

        • John,
          I can appreciate your frustration on this, see my response to Felicia.
          Adam

        • Most women do not care about men’s wealth, only gold diggers of both genders. That you believe that is the situation for women is telling about your own ignorance or maybe sexism against women.

          That is about the dynamics: Women care more about men’s personalities; Men care more about women’s looks. And that is true for most men and women. That is why you find most articles written by women for women are about fiding men who are good, dedicated and have great personalities, while well, being kinda not too ugly can also help. While most articles written by men for men is about how to get the hottest woman of your dreams that, well, might be kinda ok and know how to cook as an unecessary plus.
          The exceptions exist, though, and many women and men work the other way around.
          And notice: she did not say these men, the majority who sees women’s looks as the most important, are bad men. They are just the way they are, which does not help women that much in their journey, but hey, they have their right to be like that and that is extremely difficult to change your nature.

      • Felicia,
        Happy that you found a man who appreciates you for who you are. That being said, I would contest the belief that these men are the exception to the rule. As long as we continue to hold these types of beliefs and pass them on intergenerationally to our children, we will perpetuate them and be part of the problem as well. Let’s be part of the solution! Yet another article idea for me, thanks.
        Adam Sheck

    • If you’re seeking men you’re age Anna, I think I understand. Guys your age are socially ‘retarded’. That is , they’re behind you maturity wise and probably won’t ‘catch up’ until sometime in their late 20’s or early 30’s. They still believe what they are told by MTV and the advertising media. All 3 of my daughters married ‘older’ men. My one daughter who married a man 10 years older told me flat out “I never would even give the Scott of 10 years ago a second look”. My point is that guys take longer to mature and think with the head that’s on their shoulders.

      • Bobbt,
        While I tend to agree with your perception of when/how men mature, at the same time, aren’t we guilty of perpetuating that stereotype by giving it voice? How does that help younger men become the men that women want to be with? If we’re not part of the solution, we’re part of the problem.
        Adam

        • ogwriter says:

          @Adam: ‘If we are not part of the solution, we’re part of the problem.” Accountability not excuses is all I have been saying this whole time. If all a person does is cry about their shit, they’re are part of the problem.

        • Adam, all I’m doing is stating what I’ve observed in my lifetime. Both from my memories of growing up and from what I’ve seen in the years since. If anything this reluctance to ‘grow up’ seems to have gained strength over succeeding generations. Not being schooled with stats from studies to go by, all I can do is speculate that perhaps it’s getting more difficult for young men in general to ‘find their place’ in modern society. After all, when you’re looking at a uncertain and confusing future, staying in the immediate past looks more and more like a much more comfortable option.

  22. Anna,

    Sadly, I can’t disagree with your experience, I’m not even sure it changes in men after 35, though with age and experience the perception CAN change. The reason I’ve written this post is to offer a contrarian POV and to stimulate conscious discussion about it.

    At the same time, both men as well as women collude in the mass hypnosis of the beauty industry and we must all do what we can to wake up. Your generation, in addition, has seemed to be dubbed the “hookup” generation, and seems to have challenges in incorporating soul in sexuality as well (not saying that is you personally, of course). This becomes more problematic when people actually do want to have deeper relationships and lack the experience and skills to do so.

    Wish you the best,
    Adam

  23. ogwriter says:

    @Anna: I think you raise an interesting point, however, perhaps it is oversimplified. In mate selection EVERYONE discriminates. I think that is why it is called selection. The process is inherently discriminatory. Since everyone does it- I know lot’s of people who would never consider having a relationship with someone of a different race, or religion and for literally hundreds of other reasons-why do we spend so much time trying to solve this problem?
    The problem itself is the perception of a small, mostly Anglo, population that is being applied pejoratively, suggesting that all women feel this way. Isn’t that discriminatory? Why is their voice so damn important?No one person can possess all attributes or be everything be all people. I cannot be Bill Gates .It is not in my genetic make up. Complaining about it won’t change anything.

    • Ogwriter,
      So what might be the solution to your perception of the problem? I’d love to hear more.
      Adam

      • ogwriter says:

        @Adam:I am not sure what aspect of the problem you want me to weigh in on. So, I will go off the cuff. Let’s start by looking at perception and how you use it and how you don’t. If it is true that my perception of the problem is just that, my perception, it must also be true that some in society who claim to suffer from beauty standard related issues actually have a perception problem. But you seem to stop well shy of saying that exactly. I think this issue is so overblown and takes up far too much time for a society beset with real issues, like hunger, poverty and joblessness.
        . If white women, who aren’t slim and blonde, have problems because they aren’t,how do they imagine a woman of color might feel? The truth is they don’t often think about how others might feel because they are too busy wallowing in their own stuff. What could white women learn about coping and humility by including and listening to the voices of others?
        I have no answers for dampening the persistence of, especially among liberal intellectuals, this myopic worldview.

        • Ogwriter,
          I agree, there are certainly bigger issues in the world. At the same time, dating back to Helen of Troy and the “face that launched a 1000 ships,” it would be good to get a handle on this issue and change it as well as the self-esteem of our future generations. When they feel good about themselves, there will be less need for war and greed, don’t you think?
          Adam Sheck

          • ogwriter says:

            @Adam:If only at you suggest were so easy to accomplish. Looking at the history of war and greed, the lack of self esteem doesn’t enter into the into the equation. By all accounts Hitler went to war for the opposite reasons. He believed that German were the chosen people. That reason, ego, has been at the root of many, many wars and conflict. And again, who exactly are the we and why are we assuming that their problems are everyone’s problem.? Not a day goes by some famous and not so famous women doesn’t use their looks as tools of power an conquest. Cleopatra and Helen of Troy used their looks to great advantage. These women were not simply defenseless women. Cleopatra killed and or banished family members and plotted wars, to secure power for herself.It is only when a woman falls short of having that power that she gets upset.

            • I hear what you’re saying, ogwriter, but it can be hard for women to overcome years of social conditioning that tell us that our only value to other people (especially men) is our looks. I have accomplished a lot in my life — I’m an attorney, I’ve been successful in my career, I volunteer and try to contribute positively to the world — yet I often feel that none of it matters because my worth as a human being depends on what people think about my body and face. I struggle to transcend those feelings yet unfortunately, the truth is, as women we ARE judged very very negatively when we don’t meet cultural standards of beauty. If you aren’t a beautiful women, you will have a harder time finding quality relationships, just as men with less money struggle to find quality relationships. You will be rejected over and over for factors beyond your control, you will feel like no one sees or appreciates the goodness and longing and joy that you know you have in your soul and that you want to share with others. So, that hurts. It’s not about wanting the power of Helen of Troy, it’s just about wanting to be loved by somebody.

              In a number of your comments, you disparage “white women” for wanting to be beautiful but I’m not sure what you are getting at. If my comments relate to white women it’s because I can only speak for myself. I realize that women of color have beauty issues as well, and may suffer greatly because they differ from conventional white beauty standards (although some women of color, such as Asian women, probably have an advantage over white women in many cases.) However, because I’m not a woman of color, I feel it would be presumptuous and perhaps racist of me to try to speak about their experience. I would certainly be interested, though, in what women of color have to say on this topic. I’m also not saying that men have it “easier” because men have their own struggles with meeting social and cultural expectations.

            • Sarah

              The overwhelming majority of men feel exactly like you’ve described. But we don’t even have the vocabulary to describe what we are missing out. But I don’t want to make this post about how men feel.

              Let me distinguish between two things here.
              Men are not desired by women if they are not good looking. Their achievements, success and ability to provide can get them respect from women, but not necessarily desire.

              I’ve been on many threads where older successful women are expressing the age old grievance that men their age, who are as successful as them, have better prospects of getting married (not dating and sex BTW) and can even get younger women.

              I told them that the only reason a younger woman would prefer a much older man over men her own age, would be because she perceives him as more stable, and a better provider than men her own age; certainly not because older men are sexier or make better lovers. Men obviously don’t get better looking after 30. Its always downhill.

              I asked them, why don’t they emulate older men and leverage their success and providing ability to find a younger guy perhaps one who is struggling with his career, or one who wouldn’t mind if you fund his degree or one who can stay at home while you go out and earn.

              All of them unanimously said “Thankyou very much..we don’t want any of that…we want to be desired and cherished for who we are” I asked them why then they apparently envy the ability of older successful men to find wives and they didn’t answer after that. But its clear they have more self-respect than men.

              My point is that if you start looking for men who would value you for the fact that you’ve got your act together, you’re dependable, stable, and for the life and comfort you’ve build for yourself then perhaps you will find those men. They will respect you but not necessarily desire you.
              Many men are respected by women but not necessarily desired.

              Women know better..they know that the happiness, content and validation one gets from being desired and longed for is superior. Women who aren’t desired don’t compare them to men..they compare themselves to beautiful women.

            • ogwriter says:

              @Tim;
              Good point. I am dating a woman 28 years my junior and we have frank and honest conversations about what she and I are getting in this relationship. My maturity and stability are front and center in the conversation. She is Asian, Cantonese, and, is not a classic beauty by Asian or American standards, but trust me, she is fine. However, because she is so unassuming in dress and mannerism and attitude she is made more beautiful. She doesn’t wear make up or dresses, except for me at home occasionally. She doesn’t focus on her looks at all and I love it. There is no whining or screaming insecurities that dominate the relationship.

            • Tim, I agree with you on this, I would never want to be in a relationship with a man who didn’t desire me. I can’t imagine wanting to have sex with a guy who didn’t desire me even if he was totally hot Could I find some young boy toy to support financially in return for sex — I suppose I could but the sex would probably be awful and humiliating. the very idea makes me cringe with shame.

              I’d rather have NO sex, ever, for the rest of my life, than have sex with a guy who isn’t attracted to me and doesn’t desire me. I always have fantasy and masturbation, which seems much much preferable to the scenario you are painting.

              It’s true that many men are willing to make that bargain but that’s their choice. Men seem okay with the idea of paying for sex in general whereas most women find the idea of paying a man for sex to be abhorrent. I guess I feel like if I don’t have what it takes to attract a man, I’d rather be single and preserve my dignity.

              Anyway it’s an interesting question, I grant you that.

            • ogwriter says:

              @Sarah: Have you never considered how yellow and brown and black skinned boys have coped with being told that they are not as attractive or as desirable as white men? That has been the message for hundreds of years. And white women send that message even as they are complaining about how they are treated un-fairly. Why can’t white women open their eyes? Why do they insist in wallowing in a vat of self pity so deep and profound that they can’t see or hear that others, right next to them suffer also? The feelings and attitudes of white women define and control this conversation.
              Asian women who have bought into Americanism also suffer mightily and stupidly from this issue. Some ,like Lisa Park, live miserable lives, before taking their own life. Others, here and abroad, get plastic surgeries to look more white,mostly to remove the double eyelid. Many others, refuse to date or marry Asian men because Asian men are not white men.
              All of this information is just a mouse click away, yet most white women don’t know or care to know any of it. Why? I suspect that they know that the ball is in their court and sharing the ball means giving up power.

            • @ogwriter…

              What up og? Hope all is well.

              ” Why do they insist in wallowing in a vat of self pity so deep and profound that they can’t see or hear that others, right next to them suffer also?”

              I think it is a case of not being able to see the trees for the forest. This conversation is controlled by upper middle class and well educated white women. It is the Left feminist elite.

              Today, I assisted a 37 dearly Hispanic (Puerto Rican) single mother of 3 boys with transportation to get medicines, food, and shoes for her two boys. She lives in a women’s homeless shelter and get around $400 in food stamps, $190 in cash assistance, child care vouchers, and WIC. She has an infant. The father of the two oldest boys is in prison in NY. The father of the infant does help out. But, he too lacks transportation. Their lives are very very stressful. Sex is a major reliever of tension for them.

              We were discussing this very issue. Her attitude was that white American women “are the biggest cry babies the world over. Her words were, “They are never satisfied, even when they have a good man. They have watched too much Oprah….”

              So, you see these women are just looking for a good and decent man. While many upper middle class women want a man with A, B, C, D, E……Women of color are simply not so petty and discriminating. Their challenges go well beyond “empowerment” and the need to be “fulfilled”

              I have to add their are many white women have given up careers in lucrative fields to help these women of color and/or poor white women. There issues are different than this Left feminist elite.

              My neighbor’s daughter just got her law degree from U Penn. He is very disappointed that she is not going into the corporate world. She really wants to be of help to women of color and poor women who are frustrated and stressed from dealing with the courts to the social welfare bureaucracy.

              And as you said og, these women are right next to these white women.

            • ogwriter says:

              @Jules: I am well Jules. How about you? You are so right in that there are many white women who do care and demonstrate that in their actions. I know many such women and have my whole life. I can remember some teachers who cared for me above and beyond the call of duty. Hell, Sister Mary George saved me from the priesthood.
              My point to all of this is to open eyes so that maybe some will begin to connect the dots between their problems and those of others.
              I personally could care less that men of color aren’t appreciated or viewed as attractive by some white women because as you know, even though some don’t, there are enough that do.
              Sure, it would nice if more men of color had more opportunity for romantic leads in acting roles and such, but damn, it makes little sense to be miserable about the fact that they don’t.
              I am glad that my self esteem isn’t so fragile.
              These women are so damn selfish and narrow they don’t see it at all.

            • racati* says:

              @ Og and Jules: it sounds like you guys are imposing a zero-sum game where one need not exist. As a white woman, my interest in meaningful, gratifying and respectful relations with men does not detract from my commitment to the betterment of society and empowerment for those less fortunate than myself. I acknowledge the white privilege I possess (unasked for, but born this way, yeah), but that applies to white men to an even greater extent than for white women, I dare say–you (generically, I won’t claim to guess your individual races here) call the shots; to degrade white women for this luxury they were born with, but exclude white men from the equation is simply wrong.

            • ogwriter says:

              @Sarah: You know Sarah I can understand why you might write that I am disparaging towards white women, but that is not my intent nor have I called anyone any names. The fact is many times these women clearly have power, but don’t own said power because they are too busy mining victimhood.
              They constantly take up space, being heard first,crowding others out. And they fail to connect what happens to them to what happens to others.
              An example would be; you know how you feel that not being typically beautiful limits you and makes you feel less than adequate. Well, racism has the same effect. Perhaps if you made that connection you would have a sense of urgency about dealing with racism and you might realize that you are not alone.
              Being heard over others is a tremendous amount of power to wield. It troubles me that they don’t think about these things and still demand to be seen as being generous, sensitive, compassionate, and community oriented.
              You once wrote that you didn’t think much about how men of color perceive you..I was stunned that someone who feels as you do couldn’t see how you behave just like those men who don’t see you because they don’t have to.

            • Ogwriter, it sounds like you are saying that because I have, let’s say privilege, I can’t feel bad about myself or feel pain when I suffer rejection. Isn’t that what feminists always say to men who complain about being rejected?

              Anyway, as I said earlier, I totally understand that women of color face many beauty issues but I don’t feel comfortable commenting on their experience without sounding clueless at best or racist at worst. Similarly, how can I make any assumptions or speculate about what men of color think is attractive or not attractive? For all I know, men of color are influenced by conventional beauty standards the same as anyone else. Why would they be different? They live in the same society as I do. I’m also not saying that only white women can be beautiful. Beauty in women is really a combination of youth, symmetry, and having a figure that has the right curves without being too heavy. Women of color can be gorgeous by those standards. I have heard anecdotally that African American mean are not as obsessed with thinness as white American men, but I assume they still like youth and symmetry and curves.

              on the race topic (I kind of hesitate to go there, but Here I go). It would probably be nice if I had broader horizons, I get that, but unfortunately I grew up in a lilly white town and I live and work in an area that is predominantly white and Asian, and I don’t have much opportunity to meet or interact with African American men, for example. So, again, it is outside my experience to talk about the struggles or issues that people of color face. I acknowledge the issues, believe me, but talking about them is something I probably can’t do without sounding like an idiot. I do think about racism and the legacy of racism. My family is originally from the South — though I grew up in the SF Bay Area — and some of my ancestors owned slaves (which I think is terrible) and I’ve travelled in rural areas of the deep South to visit cousins and I’ve been absolutely shocked and astounded by the racist sh!t that I’ve heard people say in those places. I think racism is one of the fundamental problems of American culture and I fight it in whatever small way I can (such as telling my father I will get up and go home immediately if he starts spouting off about the Blacks or Mexicans – I’ve done it and he behaves around me now). I don’t know what else I can do other than use what authority I have in my workplace to make sure that we have a diverse workforce and we do not tolerate bias or harassment.

              I guess I’m digressing here but anyway, feeling bad about oneself because of conventional beauty standards is certainly not unique to white women and by speaking about my own experiences, I’m certainly not trying to give the impression that my feelings are unique.

            • ogwriter says:

              @Sarah:
              Hi Sarah.
              I grew up in SF and live in Oakland. Sarah do you imagine that you are the only one ho takes risks in confronting issues? You thought that I was disparaging white women. Every time I make comments on GMP,I take risks of being viewed negatively. Far too often, I find myself having to shout and scream at the top of my vocal range just to be heard and seen on tis site.
              How is it, that men like Jules and myself can discuss at length and with substance issues that are mostly “white” in orientation? We are taking the same risks you speak of. Your and others inability to see this places an unfair burden on those that press forward against the tide

            • @Sarah,

              First, I would like to thank you for the very thoughtful comments. We obviously most often do not agree but I have to give kudos where they are due. So, Kudos!

              “I have heard anecdotally that African American mean are not as obsessed with thinness as white American men, but I assume they still like youth and symmetry and curves.”

              In general, most black men are comfortable dating women who are their age. Youth is NOT viewed as a necessity by black men to the degree white men seem to prize youth in a woman. Curves or a nice rear is what a lot of black men really like in a woman. I do not care if she is a size 6 or 16. I typically avoid dating young women since they tend not to have my level of knowledge or maturity. Why look at Catherine Zeta Jones or Angela Basset, or Lady Lynn Forester de Rothchild just to name a few.

              Youth to me is not a major component of beauty. There are so many gorgeous, intelligent, confident, and glowing women out here. Lots. It is a damn shame that too many men think youth is the primary factor in beauty.

            • Sarah,
              I’m so glad that my article has inspired such a deep discussion here between a number of you. Yes, society seems to have given the role of sex object mainly to women. At the same time, it has given the role of success object to men. We ALL pay a price for buying into these concepts. That might be my next article.
              Keep the dialogue flowng,
              Ada

      • ogwriter says:

        @Adam
        What is interesting about the slim and blond standard is that it is directly linked to the long held racist belief that Nordic people’s are the most perfect of all humans. This idea didn’t originate with Hitler and Germany either. At one point all of white Europe believed this nonsense and the belief has shaped political outcomes for hundreds of years.
        It went like this-and there is ample documentation that supports this idea-if one was born nearer to the northern hemisphere you were considered a better quality human being. The closer one gets to the equator, where darker people are from, you were considered to be of lesser quality. I am sure that most women who think that blond is gold don’t realize how it came to be that way.

  24. This is a personal issue. Each person may have different ideas.

    • Rio,
      Yes, we’re all different and yet we all share a lot of DNA and are all subject to the mass hypnosis of society as well. Would love to hear about your ideas around this though.
      Thanks,
      Adam

  25. I was eager to read this article after I saw the headline, but then sadly disappointed after the author took a long detour into “attactiveness” vs. beauty. By doing so, he practically negated any counterpoint to the conversation. If attraction is such a determinant of human behavior, who cares about beauty?

    An article the re-defined attractiveness would have been much more interesting…

  26. Minai,
    Can hear your frustration, yet I felt I was clear in my perspective that we each have a choice to use our minds, emotions and souls to gain more freedom in co-creating beauty. Would love to hear your thoughts on redefining attractiveness. The danger in anyone deciding what is attractive or acceptable or desirable for ALL of society is the power that comes with that, so I do my best to stay in what I believe or have witnessed.
    Take care,
    Adam

  27. ogwriter says:

    @Adam:What is love?I read quite a bit of flowery romantic language in this dialogue,but I having a hard finding substance.

  28. Enjoyed reading this article, but also enjoy the comments from others. As a person over that age of 50 – yikes, I just turned 59! – I feel like I have seen the gamut of what the author refers to. I am short with dark (still) curly hair and grew up in Arizona where I felt that the only women who got dates were tall and blond. Somehow, I ended up dating one of the most attractive (to everyone in those days) guys in the school, and I could never understand how I got that lucky. When the relationship ended, as they do in teen years so quickly, we stayed friends and even got much closer over the next few years. Then I left the state for college in New York, he stayed in Arizona, getting married before he even finished college. Well, he was divorced 5 years later, and waited the requisite 3 years before calling me. We got married less than a year later, and lived happily for 18 years. (He passed away 10 years ago now, fairly young, of cancer.) The entire time he let me know both verbally and in action that he thought I was beautiful, and in retrospect I believe I truly was more attractive from his love and attention than I feel now. I am not a slave to the industry, given I learned a long time ago that at 5 feet tall I just was not going to look like a model! But, I also worked in the industry as a clothing designer and know how to look just as good short as a tall woman does. I have learned that while most people have their preferences – blond vs brunette, short vs tall – they also often end up with someone altogether different when they fall in love! I would say to Anna to just keep being herself, because that is what does ultimately come through. Sad, but so true, that what our mothers told us when we were young and never thought anyone would love us comes to be correct! Live your life and the fulfillment and happiness you find in yourself will glow in your looks and personality, and you will be looked at as beautiful by the right person. He will be right for you!

    • Jen,
      I appreciate your experience and hope that you can be a model for our new generations having good self-esteem and living full lives.
      Thanks for sharing,
      Adam

    • Hey Jen, pardon the obvious pun, but I think you sell yourself short when you refer to yourself as merely ‘Lucky’. The very fact that this man after so many years sought you out, well to paraphrase Willie Nelson “You were always on his mind’. You obviously possess something in you that transcends any physical attributes. This October 4th will mark 38 years I’ve been married to the same wonderful woman. Someone recently asked me “Why do you think you’re wife agreed to marry you?” I told him “I’m still trying to figure out why she agreed to go out on a date with me!” But I’m sure glad she did. One thing I do know, being with her makes me a better person.

  29. ogwriter says:

    @Adam: What the heck does creating beauty in a woman mean? What is a soul? What is soulfulness? If someone is from a culture that doesn’t even have a concept of a soul or of romantic love, which this article is steeped in, then what value does this philosophy actually have? And what is love? You speak of it as if a single definition exists that everyone knows and understands. I have never heard of one.

  30. Ogwriter,
    I might be wrong in assuming that concepts such as “soul” and “love” transcend cultures, yet that is not my experience. Yes, the definitions are the ones that you give to it, so feel free to share if you’d like, it would create an interesting discussion and certainly an interesting article.
    Adam

  31. I have no doubt in my mind that men find other things “beautiful”, other than looks. But I also know that while a lot of men that will give a list of reasons why they love their partner, for her wit, intelligence, humor, kindness; it never completely outweights the importance of a woman’s looks. Why do I believe this? because a majority of men, whether in relationships or not, through the course of their life, will still seek out idealized versions and images of idealized women even through the history and course of the monogomous relationship they share with their partner. So it’s great that men find other things beautiful about other women. I never doubted that they didn’t. But it’s not really that big of a “comfort” as a woman when we have these discussions because after having these discussions, its probable that many men will go off to look at the exact idealized images women struggle agaisnt regularly and that society pits up against. It’s almost akin to “Do as I say, not as I do.” Until men stop falling victim to these unrealstic and fantasy images of women, women will always have some bondage to the way men really want us to be vs accepting us for who we are or highlighting our other qualities over our looks.

    • @Erin….

      “Until men stop falling victim to these unrealstic and fantasy images of women, women will always have some bondage to the way men really want us to be vs accepting us for who we are or highlighting our other qualities over our looks.”

      Well, I really do not think most men think this way. Most men in America, like women, are overweight. Frankly, I find it hard to believe that such men really would focus strictly on looks AND feel they can get these “hot” women. If so, they are simply being delusional.

      Personally, I always go for an average looking women. My primary desired quality is for her to be a good human being, intelligent, great personality, honest, compassionate, and have a nice ass. There a lots of such women in America.

      We all have our personal preferences. It’s like ice cream. My favorite flavor is vanilla bean. Same with men and women. But, to expect that you (not your (personally) should be entitled to the most conventionally beautiful mate is silly.

      Honesty, few of my male friends have the attitude you described. Yes, I know such men exist (as do women).

      • I believe we are having a little miscommunication. I don’t think most men believe they are realistically entitled to the most convetionally beautiful mate. I do think men supplement their needs in other way through things like pornography or other mediums. So yes, I know men fall in love and have relationships with more average women. I have never doubted that men infact do love a woman’s smile, eyes or sense or humor. However, despite all this, there are millions and millions of men still turning their eye for fake images of women in the media or regularly using porn to supplement their sex lives.

        Alot of men may not believe they are entitled to conventionally beautiful mates in real life. But many men do seem to believe they are entitled to the endless vacuum of conventionally beautiful potential mates that are paraded around before them in our society in a regular basis.

        • @Erin…

          Sorry I did misunderstand you.

          “But many men do seem to believe they are entitled to the endless vacuum of conventionally beautiful potential mates that are paraded around before them in our society in a regular basis.”

          I really don’t know. Most of my business dealing are with white men. I can say with 95% you have described most of them to a tee. Not all but around 60%-70%. However, with my Asian, black, and Hispanic male friends I do not see this at all. I am sure it does exist with some.

          I know of not one single black, Hispanic, or Asian friend who has asked his wife or LT girlfriend to get a boob job or harp and whine about their weight. It’s just a cultural difference I think.

          I do not watch porn. So, what motivates men (and women) to do so I cannot say. It’s the same with strip clubs. Waste of money AND inappropriate for married men or men in serious LTR. Just my view. Maybe it is just a form of entertainment for them. Or it could be due to a lack of sex from their wives or girlfriends. I went 6 years without sex in my 20s and 2 1/2 years while married in my early 40s. I never sought out porn, hookers, or strip clubs.

          • ogwriter says:

            @Jules
            Think about it Jules. You have the benefit of seeing the world through a much bigger lens than most. You can comfortably,compare and contrast the cultures of Asians, Hispanics, Blacks and whites. therefore, you get to sample multiple reflections of who you are. For instance, if you were only provided the opportunity to see yourself as black women see you hat might not be such a good thing for you. Makes one wonder why someone would choose to be with someone or be in a culture that didn’t treat them well.

    • Hey Erin, Like I’ve said else ware in this article, this Oct. 4th marks 38 years the wife and I have been together. You want to know what made me feel I just had to be with this woman all the time? OK, actually it was 2 things. Her smile, that came so easily and often, and her laugh, that came just as easily and often. Yeah, physically, we were both a lot ‘Hotter’ back then (and in fact, she has aged much better than I) But when I came home today, I was greeted with that same wonderful smile, and as a lifetime ‘class clown’, I was still able to make her laugh. And THAT’S what makes her still beautiful to me!

    • racati* says:

      while your assessments don’t sound wrong to me, it maybe more of a two-way street than you acknowledged. Women desire very attractive men, too. Guilty as charged. I realize there are more options for conventionally unattractive men than conventionally unattractive women to come out on top at the end–statistically, overweight men (of a certain age, anyway) earn more money than their slimmer counterparts, but with women it’s the exact opposite. The inequality is real, but it’s less of an imbalance in moral failure than you presented. The imbalances at hand go way beyond individual choice and preference.

    • Exactly Erin!! I think if & when I ever meet a guy that cares about the “inside” of a woman more than her external appearance — I think he will be riding a unicorn with a leprechaun sitting on his shoulder !

  32. Great post Adam! For me, I think it’s all about the world each individual creates. Now that’s coming from a 35 year old. In my twenties, I had periods of feeling super attractive… and then not. What I learned from both was this: when I felt loving and lovable, when I loved the person I saw in the mirror, everything in my life worked, including professional and personal relationships. You have to love the skin you’re in. Now the beauty industry might be colluding in having women believe that they need to be in somebody else’s body but each of us (especially after we hit Saturn Returns between 28 and 32) has to come to a point where we say, “What THEY think of me is NONE of my business” and proceed to define what beauty looks like for us. The problem I see in so many people today is that they are chasing the wrong things and not feeling good in their skin… and that leads to unattractiveness. I’ve seen heavy and thin women attract fantastic men and the only common denominator was this: they loved themselves, knew they had a lot to offer, and put their best selves out there… and detached from outcome. Far too often, we’re waiting for other people to tell us we’re beautiful before we actually believe it… when it really works the other way around.

    • ogwriter says:

      @Kassandra
      You make so much sense but as I am sure you know, how someone perceive themselves to be is reality.The beauty industry is a reflection of who we are, which is exactly why it works so well. Attempts to assign some diabolical and insidious intent to harm women in order to sell beauty products is ludicrous. Arguments to the contrary have yet to provide anything but academic theory as proof of their charges and they simply ignore valid evidence that questions their belief’s.
      A Ground hog Day remix. Nothing changes. That wouldn’t be so bad if men didn’t have to pay the price.

      • I agree with Kassandra said myself but I disagree with that it’s some kind of “joke” in regards how the beauty industry and society in general treats women and their looks. It is a very insidious target that does harm women in order to sell beauty prodcuts Ogwriter. And as a woman, I feel that every day. And I actually find it offensive that you’ve decided it’s a joke. It’s not. Now I can choose to believe in myself or believe the industry and that’s the choice I can make. But that doesn’t mean how society treats women and looks isn’t a very real threat. As for men having to pay the price, I have no clue what you even mean by this when it seems to me that women are the ones that pay the price. Especially when you see movie after movie of aging male actors with young up and coming starlets. Or you see men like Charlie Sheen still get hit tv shows with women half his age. Or you see the female actresses playing “moms” to younger actresses that would have had to be 10 when they were born. Or when you see how popular pornography is among men and how much of porn promotes the same looks ideals of youth and beauty.

        • Perfectly well said!!! & it IS abusive & truly if there were a business doing similar emotional damage to men – the “powers that be” would have abolished it ages ago … & sadly the only recourse is to boycott those kinds of movies & images & encourage all other women ( & any men with functioning souls) to do so as well….

      • Ogwrite, you are just a pathetic individual who probably gets off by dismissing women’s experiences and opinions and anything else that is important to them.

        “That wouldn’t be so bad if men didn’t have to pay the price.”
        Yes, this fricking article is about WOMEN, and the price they pay. But oh, so many men pay the price, and only them! Screw that.

        • no doubt eh…. when discussing inequality, rape stats …anything about women –their loudest response is “But what about the men!!!” …is truly exhausting…

  33. ogwriter says:

    @Erin
    I am not sure where I should begin. Lets see, what about suffering because one is considered less than optimally attractive/ Do you really believe that I haven’t experienced this sort of thing? I used to bleach my skin, straighten my hair etc.,etc..,etc., all in order to do the impossible, look more white. I also suffered from all of the traditional self hate that is a part of the package when one doesn’t like oneself. In fact, it is a safe to say, still, that many,many black people still suffer this way. The black “beauty” models this behavior. Things haven’t changed much. For some.
    Should I be upset because some white or Asian ,or whatever woman won’t give me the time of day because I am black and unattractive to her? Something had to change, so I did. Society is going to change, but it will change slowly. You told me that once or twice in reference to my frustration with being invisible on GMP. Or you could be unhappy as shit. The truth is even with out being considered attractive to certain women and millions of Americans, live is sweet anyway.

    • The problem is not even not being attractive to many men. Whatever. The problem is MANY of these men are out to make fun, humiliate and harass all these “ugly” women for the sin of not giving them boners. If you don’t see it and don’t know about how big of an issue it is, be happy! You are just another straight dude who lives his life with much less stress in this aspect. So much less you can even tell us how easy it is to just disregard everything (sorry dude, ot that easy for most women) and be oblivious to women’s struggles, as society still doesn’t shame for not being aware of it!

      • & when they are bosses and allow conventionally pretty employees to download all of their work onto the older (+ less attractive) women & you have no recourse because in this economy if you are a woman with a full time job ( practically a LOTTO win these days) you better just shut up & put up…….

  34. ogwriter says:

    Erin
    I don’t keep track of Charlie Sheen’s career or commercials and magazines and or most print media,but I do marvel that women crawl all over him. However, he does have money and power. Most women like those things. I learned a long time to ago that I should not rely upon broken systems to evaluate and facilitate my self image. And I gotta say, that in real life and the movies some younger women do go for older men. According to an article on the Huff post, older women are certainly digging younger men. Should one be upset about that too. Given my experiences with being told-straight out-not just through exclusion-that you look like an ape and having grotesque, misshapen images of you be used to sell products and dehumanize you’ I realized it made little sense to look for leadership from the that culture. You and I see America through different eyes. I don’t want to be a part of the mainstream consciousness, that would be a mistake for me. In light of what I have experienced after coming out on the other side, with so other pressing issues to deal with, it is silly- and selfish-to spend so much time on this subject.

    • Most people like money and power. Money is actually a necessity. Now most women don’t care and won’t be after a man’s power and money. That you seem to imply most women are gold diggers just makes you a fool, and also a very insensitive man.
      If you didn’t mean it, try to be more considerate with your language next time. Stop being the ignorant fool who doesn’t mind his language when speaking about other social group’s issues only because it does not affect him directly.

      By the way, it is also some younger men digging older rich women. It happens and would happen more if more rich women were after hot younger men, cheating on and leaving their dedicated husbands of more than 20 years. You want to buy and have a good offer, someone will be willing to sell.

    • i have 30 years work experience & am currently job hunting& 99% of the jobs available to women are now casual or part-time — I am economically being strangled because of my gender & sadly…. my choice may be ” swallow my pride & suck up to & take abuse from some gainfully employed man or face homelessness…..is that really a choice?

  35. I am having a chuckle at all of this. I am a 55 year old woman (white and blonde) with physical disability and mental illness. By all the relevant criteria of the beauty industry all this plus being overweight should ensure that I am not viewed as attractive. This life equation should see me luck out in the love department. Rubbish I’ve been loved and I have loved. Was married to a man who adored me for 14 yrs and had my son with. Now I am in the most wonderful relationship with a man who at 34 is twenty years younger than me. He loves all of me and is my full time carer while I am the breadwinner so to speak. I knew him for several years before I took his invitation to explore more with him. Why because I believed in my own limitations more than my possibilities. We have lived together for three and a half years. They have been some of the best years I have ever known. There is much laughter, some tears and much joy. He has my love and an opportunity to be who he is. A gentle caring man who keeps aquariums and breeds fish and loves to cook and keep house. He is a tall strong very attractive man who does not drink and never enjoyed pubs and clubs. His preference has always been for women older than himself. I have no doubts about being loved, physical passion and intimacy have never been better. I am a happy and contributing member of my community. I have friends and family who are loving and supportive. I have a wonderful quality of life and I can assure you all it had nothing to do with Estee Lauder, Clinique, Vogue or being a size six with augmented breasts. Love is seeing someone’s soul and inner beauty and knowing just where you want to be. No limits ever.

    • Coral

      If it has to do with inner beauty, you’d be in a relationship with a disabled overweight 55 yr old man.

      I’m just calling a spade a spade, Coral. You probably consider the kind of a man describe above unattractive (despite being equal to you) but you come here and give a lecture on how physical beauty doesn’t matter while inner beauty does.

      He is twenty years younger than me. He is a tall strong very attractive man
      Clearly, it took more than seeing ones soul and inner beauty for you to be attracted to him.

      • The butthurt dudes. I so much love them ahahaha! 😀
        Can’t you still argue a disabled overweight 55 yr old MAN could pretty much love a younger and very attractive woman, right? That maybe, who knows, he saw her soul and that is what attracted him to her, that physical attractiveness is an uneccessary plus or even something he sees because he loves her for what is inside first?
        Notice she never said his physicall attributes are what attracted her. But she said that, because of what society believes (older and overweight women should not be with a younger and fit man), just like you do believe as well, she limited her life once.

        Who are you to say what she probably finds attractive or not, by the way?

      • Not sure that is strictly true. She didn’t cite that that is specifically what drew her to him. In fact, she said it took three and hal years for her to give in to his invitation to explore more with him. If it was based on shallow things – she likely would’ve jumped earlier. Seeing another’s soul doesn’t mean going to someone JUST LIKE HERSELF. That doesn’t even make sense. It makes sense sure that she might fall for someone just like her because she saw his soul and fell in love but it also means she can see inside someone else and fall for them as well. It is possible to have inner and outer beauty. I think she was explaining that this younger man looked past her age and society’s notion of what makes a woman primarily beautiful – her age.

  36. ogwriter says:

    @Carol:Bravo.All of this whining is so damn exhausting.

    • Men talking about their experiences for the sexist jerk: Men being strong enough to open up, brave, sensible and smart human beings. (well, at least here they got it right)
      Women talking about their experiences for the sexist jerk: always whining, complaining, exagerating, being too emotional and not logical. Of course women couldn’t have anything bad in their lives and know not much about their own issues. Let’s just dismiss these inferior humans’ experiences and opinions.

  37. ogwriter says:

    @Carol
    Thank you for so graciously putting this issue into, what I think is, the proper perspective. I fear we get so wrapped up in our stuff that we loose perspective frequently, incorrectly thinking the world evolves around our individualism. It doesn’t. If one belongs to the right group, flexing one’s individualism in this manner is a powerful weapon. Is there something to be said for the fact that “the media” exploits OUR collective pain and insecurities for profit, of course. Nonetheless, we are not children nor are we wholly separate from the media. The media does what it does because we allow it too. And we sit in our mental cubicles, bitching and complaining so loudly that we can’t hear that others are struggling similarly, What’s the point to that behavior? I do know this.The behavior is by definition divisive and not in the least bit progressive.

  38. I’m always haunted by the old adage “tell a beautiful woman she’s smart, and a smart woman she’s beautiful.” It makes me have a hard time fully accepting either compliment at face value. Also, I tend to be called “hot” a lot more often than “beautiful”- I know it’s meant as a compliment, but there’s an element of shallowness to it that stings a bit- like I’m only attractive in a sexual manner, and my overall essence, personality, etc, isn’t anything of value.

  39. What a lot of women want to know is why a particular woman may STOP being beautiful to a man. It’s warm and fuzzy to think about universal, eternal beauty and how men think the women they love become more beautiful over time. That’s certainly common enough to warrant a tribute.

    Now, the flip side. Why do some women stop being so beautiful to the men who found them beautiful before?

    • “Why do some women stop being so beautiful to the men who found them beautiful before?”
      Not all men are the same but some reasons include – Because their personalities and behaviour change to be abusive or bad, they got older, they got fatter or thinner, they had their body go through changes and skin is less taut, skin damaged from UV to become leathery, damage from drug n alcohol abuse, sometimes peoples feelings just change. I’d say it’s mostly to do with personality changes though since plenty of men still remain attracted to women whose bodies age and change. Some men will be very superficial and only like “fresh” new/younger bodies in their 20’s but I’d say the majority don’t care all that much.

      Universal beauty is a myth, there are women I find extremely attractive that some others find ugly. Beauty for me only gets the notice, the personality is what really drives the desire although existing beauty will be heavily increased once I grow mental feelings for someone….quite simply the “5” can become a 20 type stuff.

      • I’ve experienced the same. Get to know a 10 guy and he drops to a 2, get to know a 2 or 5 and find you so totally click etc and all of a sudden its like someone adjusted your glasses and your attraction and appreciation deepen.

  40. Tim his looks frightened me so much that I ran from contact with him for nearly three years. I had to stop running to find his soul. You make a lot of assumption about both of us in your statement. You don’t sound very happy. Is that why you felt the need to verbally poke me. I don’t see the world through society’s blinkers. I am one of the marginalised. I have psych and physical disability. Why would I think anyone would even see me. Let alone love me. Black, white or green,!!! 35, 45,55,65. But he did see me and he did fall in love with me. He likes being a carer and homemaker and I paint and do short term contracts as a consumer consultant in mental health and as a consultant in transition to independent living for people with disability. Point is everything says it should not have happened. But the miracle is it did. If you slow down and make yourself open to possibility joy happens, love grows, and life becomes so full you can get breathless thinking about it. I hope you all feel that way at least one time. But Tim I don’t think it will on a comment page on an article.

  41. wellokaythen says:

    In my experience, some women in my life have become more beautiful (defined any way you want) over time. Others have become less beautiful to me over time. Others have remained unchanged.

    It’s lovely and precious and even necessary to cherish women who are constantly or increasingly beautiful to you. I just think any article about what makes a woman beautiful to a man should also tackle the question of change over time. Beauty does not always grow. Sometimes it diminishes. Sometimes it simply endures (and sometimes its endurance is the real miracle). If we’re really out to understand the ways that men look at beauty then we have to ask why it changes.

    If we men really want to be forthcoming and open about how we look at beauty, we have to be willing to look at it warts and all (so to speak).

  42. I understand and appreciate what you are saying. Beauty is in the eye (and heart ) of the beholder.
    I disagree with one thing that the love and admiration of a man is what makes a woman beautiful, that is false. The sky is blue whether or not anyone sees it. A rose in a forest is beautiful whether its ever seen or not. A woman who is without a man to love and admire her is still beautiful. And there are many reasons, good reasons, why a woman wouldnt want a man to love her, not because she isnt beautiful or worthy, maybe she has been hurt and chooses not to share herself. All women, and all beings are beautiful whether others have the intellegence to see it or not. Men who seek beauty just based on media, that is not love, that is ego. These men feel inferior so by dating a “hot media approved girl” they become acceptable, maybe winners, to thier peers. I have found that beautiful, secure, loving men dont always go for the “hot” girl but for who they desire because they are secure in their manliness and are in relationships because of joy and love and not ego. I feel sorry for girls who are “10”s because many of the guys around them dont really love or care for them but are using them for thier own egos. Both parties loose here. I agree that when you Love someone they become beautiful to you and that is REAL love. Thank you for your article.

  43. This truly is a lovely article.

  44. Adam: yes, you are definitely onto something here. Real beauty transcends the physical. Great work.

  45. Well, somehow I missed this article until now, but I’ll comment anyway. These two sentences are just, well frustrating as hell: “But what I’d really like to talk about is how a man creates beauty through his perception of a woman. Yes, I firmly believe that the love and admiration of a man has a role in creating beauty in a woman.”

    Cuz, you realise that is PRECISELY what Mulvey was talking when she discussed the “male gaze” right? That is absolutely objectification, right there. A woman’s beauty is CREATED by a man observing her? In that scenario the woman is an object to be observed, and the man is the subject who observes and therefore defines her. That’s messed up, mate.

    • And yes, I did see this tacked on sentence, “This beauty-endowing mechanism isn’t something unique to me or to men in general.”

      But, frankly when you have an entire article devoted to the idea that men create beauty in women, and it’s titled “What Makes a Woman Beautiful to a Man,” a single sentence saying ‘I don’t mean JUST men creating beauty in women,” doesn’t cut it. Not when this entire article is read in the context of a sexist culture like ours. Not when the rest of the article is so full of patriarchal nonsense.

    • Creates beauty as in finding things beautiful about her to him? Eg, the nose on an actress I saw yesterday was super duper cute, and her overall facial structure I found to be beautiful, I created beauty for ME and me alone, others of course have their own idea of beauty.

      “Not when this entire article is read in the context of a sexist culture like ours”
      You do realize your confirmation bias n other things that colour your view will change the context of his message right? When I read creates beauty I thought straight away he meant for him alone, another way of saying he found something beautiful? Maybe it would better to say the love n admiration helps to add to beauty, as in the male view for straight women will be helpful for their view of beauty just as the reverse is true where womens’ ideas of beauty in men help shape our view of beauty.

      Just a different way to look at it, no idea if I am right or wrong though so the author can answer that.

      • Maybe it helps him acknowledge the beauty already existing. But creating beauty?
        You do realize social groups have their sensibilities that other groups should be aware of? That other groups, like his own, as a male, should respect and not trigger? Okay.

  46. Pure Darwinist Bunk and Dreck of the Highest order. This article is full of so many fallacies and falsehoods, it disgust me. This clown purports to be an authority?

  47. I read it as how The man defines beauty in woman to himself. Not how he is defining it for others or for her. And in that context, i completely agree. His example of his friends thinking him crazy for finding a certain woman beautiful at a certain time in his life when they clearly did not agree was spot on. Especially, after He has moved on down the line he looks back in retrospect and doesn’t view his definition of her beauty in the same light. I imagine many many men who have been divorced thinking of their Ex in this way as they read this.
    I love the piece. Not only as a hopeless romantic myself who loves women & find them to be immensely beautiful creatures across the board, but also because I do believe the author is on to something and what my society is trying to do to my daughters and how they define their own beauty sickens me.

    • Unfortunetly Sledge, sometimes how men define it for themselves individually still finds a way to seep into how women define it for herself as well.

      Can you share more about what you see with your daughters and how society is trying to define beauty for them? What you seem them experience or go through and what exactly sickens you?

  48. ogwriter says:

    Society doesn’t exist as a seperate entity,completely foriegn from, and to, the will and values of the common person.Furthermore,women exert tremendous influence in defining beauty standards for themselves and others.And yeah it sucks if one cannot meet the top standard. But not every woman turns bodyimage or not meeting THE beauty standard into a cause celeb.Women are not the only who must deal with this issue,not by a longshot.Nonetheless,because of politics and insecurity,it is percieved exclusively as a woman’s problem.MEN and WOMEN define what is attractive and alluring to each other.In both cases,what represents the MOST beautiful, of course, is narrowly defined.Even that myopic definition is fluid.In that fluidly rests the means of salvation for those,probably 99.9 percent of all Men and WOMEN,who don’t meet THE standard.The problem is, most of the insecure folk are too narrowminded themselves to see the opportunities to escape.

    • Most of the beauty standards are created by the media, by these people there who don’t give a damn about people’s emotions, feelings and dignity but their money. So that is not something out of this world to say women, as a group, do not exert such tremendous influence in defining beauty standards, as most of the media is controlled by men (these particular men, of course). White, straight men at that.
      In fact, that is exactly why we have much more female skin being shown then men’s skin. That is why white beauty is considered the top beauty. The media wants, the media pays (a lot), many people will agree to do what they want. We could ask for women and men to stop letting themselves be photoshopped and turned into something humanly impossible, but in the end, if there is lots of money there are people willing to do anything for it.
      I don’t see it as something perceived as something exclusively as a female problem, but something that affects women more harshly, with different proportions and circumstances. The fact a good part of society still sees women’s beauty as the most important aspect of them is actually what makes it such a huge problem for women. Not to say men don’t face it, not to say there aren’t many men who face it even more harshly than many women. But that is about the individual.

      That is also not only about insecurity. After a while, people get tired. Many times people get harassed for not meeting the standard. Sometimes it is out of their control. Maybe you don’t see how disgusting it can get because you are not that familiarized with the issue. Maybe you seem to try to turn it into something much simpler because you believe it’s still not affecting men the same way it affects women (what is being discussed), maybe you are more familiarized with men’s problems or unfortunately is just another person who ignorantly sizes women’s issues by how men perceive and feel them themselves. That is a problem we see all the time and this have to change.

      • “That is also not only about insecurity. After a while, people get tired. Many times people get harassed for not meeting the standard. Sometimes it is out of their control. Maybe you don’t see how disgusting it can get because you are not that familiarized with the issue. Maybe you seem to try to turn it into something much simpler because you believe it’s still not affecting men the same way it affects women ” Bang on, July! … I’m 51 & have about 18 years total experience in my career …2 years ago got pushed sideways by a very pretty on the outside/very light on skills & work ethic young woman… & now do most of her job as well as my own … I wonder these men here who think they whole airbrushed/young supermodel beauty ideal of society has no cost to women would feel if they faced a similar situation??

  49. Adam,

    Really nice piece, thank you. I am curious, your room the impact of the love of a man on a woman, isn’t it the love – romantic love I assume – of anyone, male or female? It seems a bit narrow or hetero-centric to limit loves impacts to our bias or unconscious norms about gender, relationships and love.

    • Jim,
      Thanks for your kind words. I would agree with you, that this mechanism of beauty/love is true for most men as well as most human beings. As a man, writing for the Good Men Project, it is a fine line I walk: if I speak for men, some people judge that I’m paternalistic and not including women. If as a straight man I speak for men, some will consider me hetero-centric. My challenge is to be specific, yet inclusive, AND to have thick enough skin and to recognize that I’m writing to support people.
      Thanks again,
      Adam Sheck

      • schrokit says:

        It’s wonderful that you think your supporting people, but isn’t the POV that *matters* actually the one of those who can say ‘this supported me’? Otherwise that’s an awfully hubristic and borderline arrogant thing to say.

        I think it’s clear your article comes from a good place, but I genuinely found everything from the title of the piece to some subtle yet still outdated ideas about women, to be offensive to me, as a woman. It stills feels largely cloaked in objectification however magnanimous it purports to be.

      • You walk your line balanced and gracefully.

  50. I believe so, that you’re on to something I mean. Because even I, a woman have experienced this. In fact, two of the guys I’ve loved the most I didn’t initially find attractive. It wasn’t until I got to know them that I began finding things that I really appreciated about them and yes I mean physically. For example, my last boyfriend. I took one look at him and thought, nope. But then, I had a conversation with him and we hit it off. Then as time went on I started looking at his jaw line, the way his cheek bones were placed and I absolutely loved it. And I couldn’t get enough of kissing his face and rubbing my face on his. The other guy, I fell in love with his shoulders and I just loved it when he had his shirt off.

    The most beautiful person ever, to me anyway was my best friend. And the reason wasn’t because she was actually the most beautiful person ever (although she did have initial attractiveness) but because I loved her so dearly and through that love I found all of her to be extraordinarily lovely. Particularly her nose and hair. And so I would give her a kiss on her nose whenever she’d let me. I believe that the more we love a person, the more we focus on what we like about them. And those little bits become so endearing that we can’t get enough of them. It’s when we begin to dislike them that their flaws become ever present. And who knows, maybe if we find something to like about someone’s appearance, we’ll begin to appreciate them as a person a little more. So it may work both ways.

    • Denis Stone says:

      That is your female mind. Girls really do pay more attention to the personality than the physical. The male mind doesn’t work like that. If the woman isn’t hot from the beginning, she can be as cute and sweet as it gets, we will not want to have a relationship with you. At least not for long. We could still bang you when in need and even date you for a while but as soon as an actual hot woman appears we will feel this urge to just leave you and seek the better female. Sometimes the guy will fall in love with a not so hot woman and will actually not leave her in the end, even stay faithful. But that is not because he doesn’t deep inside wanted the hot body over there much more than yours.
      It’s NOT because we think women have no personalities. In fact when looking for a wife we will search between all the hottest women for the one with the sweetest and most pleasing personality. Someone who sees her role as a wife as the most important role, someone who respects her man’s words and desires. We are like that just because we are too fixated on the physical.

  51. I appreciate the points this article makes, so thank you for that. What seems most important to me is how one percieves her (or him) self. In the same way that a happy person’s sense of joy can be enhanced through love, so too can one’s sense of beauty. It is unfortunate that so many women (and men) are not able to feel beautiful until they meet a person who sees that beauty. So with regard to your daughters, and I realize this is not news, it is important to support their positive self-images so that they recognize how they are beautiful without anyone else’s help or gaze. I can attest to feeling more beautiful when one is in love, or when one is surrounded by love. There have been many nights in the company of friends my heart felt it was filled to the brim, and people would comment on a glow that I think represents the beauty and joy of the soul. But each of us must know that we are beautiful as individuals, and can let that beauty become magnified through our response to love.

  52. I can’t ignore when he says “A man creates beauty in a woman when apreciate them” that is only a man’s game.
    A man creates beauty in a woman that wrong way, when they figure themselves out across the woman’s beauty. By choosing, watching or feeling atracted to them but also it gets creepy when it comes that they build they concept of that idea of the woman’s beauty straightly related to their capacity to be a man(like they need to get the girl everybody wants to feel what they represent, and they tend to magnify the value of that power) And when they reject them, they made a hate ball that grows inversely proportional to their social skills to apreciate a woman like a person.
    When they get real-nonedipo love, they learn to apreciate womans like persons, but untill that, a woman is just a weapon to being while they don’t understand themselves, just like the girls that lives for their image and will never be happy or feel a person.
    The most stupid about everything that is that superficial, is that is a happines that only last seconds, and it turns randomly to whatever place that has a random major power of atraction. Then a woman’s mind goes the same, and that is infinite wasted energy but the person is very poor and finite.
    The power of seeing the beauty is the power of see the infinite and to understand your own limits as a observer and then learn to magnify your humanity and create like a human more that a simple thought, without falling in love with everything, because is the same small thing, like when you learn to listen to music or you just dance like a dumb with the popular track in the radio.

  53. Speakyourmind says:

    A great and true article.Hope many girls knew this and wouldn’t have a hard time deciding weather they are beautiful/attractive.Also,it’s great that we are aware of media’s control over our minds.Thanks for the good article.

  54. Seriously ladies, getting your nose bent out of shape. Have you not ever been around a man that admired you? And this made you feel good, and encourage you? Mirror, he uses that word. I like the point of the article, meaning that our soul is beauty….beauty has a beholder whether it be the woman or the man admiring her…and he encourages her in her beauty. My take away. Sexist? really? I don’t know about that, I mean men and women are different, but this admiration and encouragement can go with any relationship.

  55. Nice words lovely ideas but why as a woman do I have to beautiful? By anybody’s definition?

  56. Thank you for such a well written piece
    I agree with you and have been saying this for years

  57. I believe it’s necessary to be natural. Because it helps to present the reality of a human being in a natural way. The more i am real,honest to my behavior, emotions and feelings, the more i am beautiful to my partner. As said by my love to me

  58. PurpleHazel says:

    You’re a hopeless romantic, but it’s beautiful.

  59. kevin funk says:

    Personally I really enjoyed this segment. I really got a full understanding from a simple word that creates a thousand feelings. Yes like my self we as men all have our preferences on looks and physical attraction and the human sex drive that derives from deep within our DNA ultimately coming down to will or will not this person be a good mate. It all cones from deep within our subconscious as to how we were raised. Who influenced us in our lives etc. But he’s right the soul wants love and beauty is only skin deep. And I’ve experienced several times when I found a women so beautifull it brings a burst of emotion and almost at times tears. Just from the admiration of God’s creation when a normal man would just completely disregard her potential for being beautifull for meer looks but within my expeexperiences the bond the soul makes with one another is admirable and beauty is created as we open up to one another so we can fully take it in. Yah I’m a 25 year old man and have no trouble finding attractive girls and them finding me. But there’s a fine line when lust turns into admirmability and ultimately creates it’s image of sheer beauty. Well like today I was at The gas station and I saw I young woman my age about 110 lbs 5 ft 3 great body and a beautifull face evEn though I did not know her the lust came from the admiration of a hot little body. But when I looked into her face she was beautifull we made eye contact and a simple smile was shared between us. But after looking into her eyes I felt saw and admired her beauty I felt a slight connection on a far deeper level. And the want to know her and meet her created beauty for me. Its so complicated but I did get a lot from this aarticle. And I really enjoyed it

  60. I completely agree with this and was actually talking about it the other day. The human body is intelligent and knows what it needs. When I was a teenager I would only be focused on the “traditional” beauty in a man, instead of physical attraction. I would go for the guy that everybody thought was handsome, without regarding anything else. At some point at my 20s, I started feeling incapable of starting anything with a guy I didn’t feel that certain “click” with. That “click”, as I call it, is chemistry, it’s what’s described above. Attraction and instinct. Ever since I started being that way and listening to this instinct, witho t focusing in traditional beauty, I’ve had deeper feelings towards these men, than I ever had before. In fact, I’ve been with some of the most amazing men and human beings thanks to this instinct. And yes, regardless of that traditional beauty, that person becomes beautiful to you. Every inch of him or her. Yes, you can tell the “defects”, but they simply don’t bother you. Everything sort of matches like a puzzle. Nature is intelligent. I wish people would acknowledge this and stop being so obsessed with beauty and that list of qualities a person must have to be “dateable”.

  61. Lorelei B. Diaz says:

    thank you dr. adam for this beautiful article.Thank you for the hope of reminding us women on how beautiful we are and how beautiful we can be.This has enlighten me that what our soul speaks for is more beautiful than any artificially created beauty.Love eradicates the symmetry and proportion outlook but burrows deep within a womans inner beauty…May you continue to influence everyone sir..😊😊😊

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