Real Beauty: Distinguishing Truth From Fairy Tale

We’ve created make-believe conceptions of beauty for ourselves, and neither men nor women can ever live up to them.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post is in response to the apparent paradox posed by “anonymous male” in A Paradox about Men, Sexual Attraction, Women, Beauty.

What’s happened, with men lusting only after the perfect babe, is that the spectrum of beauty through which men perceive women has been seriously skewed by the images of “perfect” women that bombard them. Once upon a time, men would travel by sea to see the great beauty of Helen of Troy.

Today, any weak, flatulent Joe Schmoe can have a sexual experience with multitudes of beautiful women, at any time of the day, without any effort, through porn. Men no longer need to be desirable to interact with a desirable woman. Porn lets men be the village tyrant, taking whatever woman he wants through force. On varying levels, men are sufficed by these “experiences” with beautiful women, leaving real-life women in the ugly pile.

Women, wired to seek approval from men and society, are reduced to competing against each other, while nature was designed to create a platform for male competition. This competitive energy sucks the feminine nature of woman; the parts of her that are so much more deeply sensual and beautiful than any media, sales-based and skewed hacked image could ever capture. Women are robbed of the very sexiness these images are said to champion.

Women’s obsession with beauty has everything to do with men’s obsession with beauty. If men were able to distinguish the truth from a fairy tale, then women wouldn’t kill themselves when they realize they aren’t the princess.

We’re all operating from nature: men—to have sexual experiences with as many attractive women as he can—and women—to play in the evolutionary scheme by wanting the choice of a partner because of our own desirability. Modern nurture and circumstance is messing with our ability to relate to one another in a natural way and skewing our ability to find beauty in real people.

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About Annette Campbell

Annette is 28-year-old woman, whom some call beautiful and others pass by on their search for perfection. She works at an advertising agency where she's known more for her good attitude than her intellect but sort of likes the freedom this provides. She lives in Brooklyn, NY and wants everyone to know that she really loves men.

Comments

  1. “Porn lets men be the village tyrant, taking whatever woman he wants through force.”

    Wait, so porn is now rape? That’s quite a stretch.

    • In so much that it gives access, often compulsive in nature, to people (not just men) who would not normally be able to have a sexual experience with the woman in the picture. See “Porn Zombies”

      • If this is not about Men & Women’s roles in mutually degrading behavior then why is this article so filled with insulting language towards Men?

        There’s a passage in Sun Tzu’s Art of War that says “Do not fight a retreating advisory because he will fight as if  it were his last day on earth.”

        Ms Campbell, If the you want to attack men for escaping into a fantasy world then you should at least try to convince them that the fantasy world is unnecessary. If you cant do that, then prepare for the backlash.

  2. Ms. Campbell I would hope that someone who works in Mass media would fully recognize what role women play in their own role subjugation. I don’t buy Cosmo, Vogue, or Marie Clair. I don’t even buy Maxium. All of whom are filled with female writers and Editors telling me who to find attractive and why I should buy what they tell me too.

    As a survival tactic I use the term Commercially attractive. That way I won’t put the wrong person on a pedestal. Intelligence, grace & altruism are in my opinion the true beauty standards while Commercial attractiveness offers little more then monetary compensation for those fortunate enough earn a living off of their genetics.

    • It’s not about women’s roles or men’s roles in the subjugation of women — it’s about what’s happening in society and it’s effects on both men and women.

      • i didn’t read it honestly but who care if men watch porn or and those women look hotter then the normal women. Women read romance books for the same reason the sexual thrill no man can live up to that. Also women view men as wallets of money its the reason why whores attract to rich men and its why rich men date hot chicks. I myself love porn and i also love women of all races and sizes even plus size women usually don’t go for fat guys but men take whatever they can get

  3. We’re all operating from nature: men—to have sexual experiences with as many attractive women as he can—and women—to play in the evolutionary scheme by wanting the choice of a partner because of our own desirability.

    That’s funny. You use the word all, but I’m a man and I don’t operate at all to have sexual experiences with as many attractive woman as I can. Sounds like some serious confirmation bias / pop evo psych BS here.

  4. MsAttitude says:

    Americans have this problem the worst. If we don’t fit into a standardized version of beauty, we berate ourselves. I don’t understand why people can’t see that every human being is an amazing work of art? It saddens me a LOT that Hollywood furthers this criteria.

  5. Marcus Williams says:

    with men lusting only after the perfect babe

    Do you only hunger after the perfect meal? Do you only read your favorite book? Do you only listen to your favorite song or singer?

    Of course we lust after perfect babes. (There’s more variety to what individual guys consider “perfect” than you might think.) Like other aesthetic tastes, though, lust is not exclusionary. It does not mean that the look we like most is the only one that turns us on, or that other qualities besides looks are ignored. I believe it’s the same for women, even if looks aren’t always weighted as heavily.

    • I believe that media images and increased access to altered images have skewed the scale by which we rate/feel about our partners.

      • Marcus Williams says:

        I agree that media images have influenced our contemporary notions of beauty, but that’s no really a new development. Before the ‘net, there were TV and movies, and before that, paintings and sculptures, and before that, local dress or customs, all of which “skew the scale” by which beauty is judged. The part I disagree with is your conclusion that as a result of such influences, men lust *only* after perfect babes. How do you make that jump? I assume you have tastes, and that no single taste makes it impossible for you to enjoy or appreciate things that don’t match your ideal. I’m sure that’s the case in food, music, art, or anything else where you like some things more than others. What makes you think that lust is different for men, trapping them in a fairy tale?

  6. The Bad Man says:

    “Women, wired to seek approval from men and society, are reduced to competing against each other, while nature was designed to create a platform for male competition.”

    -If you’re going to be consistent with evo-psych then both men and women are wired to attract and compete for the best mate. The standards are just higher for men, while women can often rely on just natural beauty, men must also have strength and survival skills.

    Men are often blamed for societal pressures on men and women. Don’t women have any personal responsibility?

    • To answer your question, yes… under certain circumstances. Women have personal responsibility when it comes to their successes (i.e this woman is responsible for overcoming the patriarchy and gaining occupational success) but any failure or problem or negative is wholly blamed on men.

    • If you’re gonna put it that way, I’d say it’s higher for women because if you don’t have natural beauty, you’re screwed. But strength and skills are something that can be gained, not something you have to be born with.

      • Sarah,
        In other words those women who don’t hit a certain benchmark will have to initiate if they want relationships.

        In other words the bottom 30% of women are equal to 90% of men. How sad for them.

        I remember Steve Byrne having a funny bit about princesses. He calls all the princesses from fairy tales lazy–“no don’t look for love, just sit there. Love will come find your a$$!”

        If those women who don’t fit the ideals have to initiate more (as men already do) so?
        Did you really think that every changing gender role was going to be an advantage for women?

    • Absolutely women have personal responsibility but, it’s a societal problem that will effect generations to come — rather than an opportunity to point fingers.

  7. “Women, wired to seek approval from men and society, are reduced to competing against each other, while nature was designed to create a platform for male competition.”

    I’m sorry, but you are 100% wrong on everything you’ve stated. Men are still, and will always, be the ones competing. Men compete for women, it is the basic nature of everything. How many women are asking men out? 2%? 5%? What is the ratio of men asking women out to women asking men out? 100:1? 80:1? The FACT is that men are still the ones competing, not women. Not only is viewing porn not a sexual experience with a beautiful woman, but I love how you degrade every man while simultaneously propping up all women.

  8. Beauty is in the aye of the beholder!

  9. wellokaythen says:

    I think there’s a difference between completely unrealistic sexual fantasies and expecting real people to conform to those fantasies. Fantasies can intrude on your individual reality if you’ve lost the ability to distinguish between the two. In that case, there are lots of other problems that guy needs to sort out. Let’s hope he doesn’t learn about driving and firearms only from playing games….

    I don’t think fantasies themselves are inherently the problem, even if they are extremely unrealistic. (If you restrict your fantasies to strictly realistic portrayals and scenarios, then what’s the point of fantasy?) I wonder how often men really do turn down available, willing women because those women are very lovely but do not perfectly conform to pop culture visuals. How many guys obsessed with big-busted anime characters are turning down sex with attractive women because they just aren’t quite like their favorite characters? Surely you could find anecdotal evidence here and there. I would guess that these men fantasizing about physically impossible female forms are not turning down any opportunities that they’re aware of. Many of them no doubt think that women don’t really want men like them, anyway.

  10. Ms. Campbell-
    I completely agree with you. Our culture socializes us all to live up to standards that are completely unrealistic. It’s sad that most people on this thread do not understand sexism as institution-one that permeates all aspects of our lives. Women participate in their own subjugation because they are socialized to.

  11. “Today, any weak, flatulent Joe Schmoe can have a sexual experience with multitudes of beautiful women, at any time of the day, without any effort, through porn. Men no longer need to be desirable to interact with a desirable woman.”

    Is there a new rule now? People should only fantasize about persons of commensurate appearance and attractiveness?

    So if these male dregs consumed pornography that only depicted homely women, you would have less of a problem with that? If attractive male persons view pornography (as I am told they sometimes do) that depicts attractive female persons, would you have less of a problem with that? Perhaps certain grades of pornography should only be vended to customers of qualifying attractiveness.

    “Porn lets men be the village tyrant, taking whatever woman he wants through force.”

    Likening pornography to rape is nothing new. Does this also apply when the tyrant uses written and fictional pornography? Or things like hentai? Things that depict no actual person?

    “On varying levels, men are sufficed by these “experiences” with beautiful women, leaving real-life women in the ugly pile.”

    And that is their prerogative. If they wish to waste their lives masturbating to fictional things and forego any actual sexual experience with real humans, then such is their right. Some female persons are probably “sufficed” by “experiences” with vibrators and probably think real sex with real people is unnecessary, unsatisfying and redundant. Some alcoholics conclude that the rewards of sober life are not worth the difficulties and not worth pursuing, and so they may as well just drink and seek gratification that way. And sometimes they may be right. And some persons figure the rewards of any real sex life would just be mediocre and not worth the effort, so they may as well just indulge in fake, idealized sex. And who knows? Sometimes they may be right.

    You are condemning these pornography users because you think they are violating some kind of obligation. Although you denigrate them as “flatulent Joe Schmoes” who could not possibly achieve sex with real people, you simultaneously think they have some kind of duty to seek realistic actual sexual partners because you think they must keep themselves “available” to these other “real-life” people so as to spare their self-esteem. We have heard that argument before, except that it is usually applied to female persons, about how they should lower the bar and humor mediocre males so that they do not feel bad or are left “in the ugly pile.”

    On that note, what do you think about men who take oaths of monastic celibacy? By not participating in real sexual interaction with humans, they are potentially depriving “real-life” people of sexual partners and leaving them stuck “in the ugly pile.”

    But why would real-life women want ugly, weak, flatulent Joe Schmoes? Aren’t they doing females a service by removing themselves from the field of real sexual interactions?

    • I could not have said it better myself. I thought the “weak, flatulent Joe Schmoe” phrase was very telling. I am not all that weak, but I am definitely flatulent, and I watch porn and play video games. I am average in many ways but not in every way. Am I one of the problem ones or not? I can’t quite tell.

      I would add that everyone is flatulent to some degree, unless you have some sort of -ostomy bag.

      On a related note, Helen of Troy may be a very poor example to choose. The story of the Trojan War is largely fictional. Helen of Troy was an actual person, but most of what we think we know is exaggerated legends. Even the _Iliad_ does not say much about whether she was beautiful or not. Those thousands of Greeks who crossed the sea did so NOT because they wanted to see her face, but because of all the other reasons people go to war: fame, plunder, political advantage, and being drafted into it.

      Is this the standard you’re going for, thousands of men killing each other for ten years all because of desire for one woman? Dear me, that sounds like a very unfair gender standard….

  12. You’ve fallen down the deep deep hole of man-blaming here. The valuation of women for their beauty wasn’t something men (or women) came up with. It happened because the cultures that emphasised that trait survived better. Equally, its not something perpetrated by men on women, both genders play into it and derive both benefits and negativities from it.

    Its true that porn has ended the days when a beautiful woman could command kings, but breaking down female power and privilege is at least as important as challanging male power. I think you’re being too pessimistic about men when you discuss the influence of porn. Most men are able to draw the line between fantasy and reality.

  13. “Women’s obsession with beauty has everything to do with men’s obsession with beauty. If men were able to distinguish the truth from a fairy tale, then women wouldn’t kill themselves when they realize they aren’t the princess.”

    Wow. So, I could just tell a bunch of women what I think is beautiful and they’ll all just internalize it, because they’re only programmed to please me even if the request is physically impossible? Man, this patriarchy stuff is wicked powerful. It’s like some kind of zombie mind control, just like in the video games. I better be careful what I express an interest in, because I might accidentally brainwash a woman into trying something impossible. This quote suggests women really are mindless automatons.

  14. Thank you Ms. Campbell for your spot on post! I see change on the horizon!

    • Change?
      What sort of change?
      Women, at the behest of men like Karl Marx, burned their bras and ignited a sexual revolution. Now the beast is on the loose and some would like it contained. Redistribution of any commodity, be it material or even sexual power is tricky business.
      Only those at the very top are going to win- the rest are left holding withered picket signs and mouthing empty slogans about “fish” and “bicycles”.

      So tell us about the change you see Stephanie. If it doesn’t include hordes of lonely Chinese men seeking women from Ms Campbell’s “ugly pile”, then there isn’t a touch of realism to be had in your imminent “change”.
      Going to outlaw porn, curvy Coke bottles and masturbation…wet dreams?
      You might as well try I guess.

  15. wellokaythen says:

    Obviously there are some women who have become conscious of these cultural pressures and are rejecting these fairy tale standards. They came to this conclusion through their own experiences and are now immunizing themselves to the effects of these images. I suspect most women deep down know that these images are completely unattainable, so I wonder what is really going on.

    If you see these images as stupid and misleading and unrealistic, what prevents other women from doing the same? It seems like this article is suggesting some women have broken out and some women are still trapped. Are women totally brainwashed or do they have the independence of mind to decide for themselves?

    I ask partly to play devil’s advocate and partly to ask the question of where to go from here. If there is some sort of consciousness-raising necessary, then what makes some women the consciousness raisers and others the unconscious?

  16. I love the gross oversimplifications of male and female sexuality that have been hitting this website recently…

  17. “any weak, flatulent Joe Schmoe can have a sexual experience” blah blah blah…. Men no longer need to be desirable to interact with a desirable woman…some really ridiculous stuff about undesirable men being village tyrants…blah blah blah …men are sufficed by these “experiences” with beautiful women, leaving real-life women in the ugly pile.”
    So are you saying that certain women should be resigned to prostrating themselves for men whose sexual qualifications amount to holding a centerfold one handed?

    Tell us what you really mean- because you can’t possibly mean THAT.

    Maybe we should eradicate porn and chop their fingers off for good measure. That’ll even things up for the self pitying women in your “ugly pile”. I’ll bet those Schmoes will picking through the ugly pile looking for that one woman who leaps into their arms.
    Of course, I dunno what you’ll do when these fingerless, weak Schmoes start wet dreaming again. Maybe castration, or a bullet to the temple.
    That’ll make the ugly pile feel better- for a minute.

  18. I’d like to see an article about women who watch mainstream porn, considering i am one, and know at least two other girls who do that too.

  19. In truth beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This article is saying I a man should let someone else tell me what to like. I behold a woman I consider attractive. whether the male to my right or left thinks the same is hardly relevant to my judgement.

  20. sexy ladies
    i like them

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