to be surprised by how many women don't seem to realise that we are conditioned to think certain looks are attractive?

(228 Posts)

Inspired by a few recent threads.

High heels.
Exposed cleavage.
Cinched waists.
Exposed legs (in skirts or tight trousers).
Tight/skimming clothing.
Lipstick.
Eyeliner.
Hairless legs/armpits.

All these are in order to attract heterosexual males. Dress like it if you want to (I certainly feel I look better if I utilise a few of the above) but don't fool yourself that it has nothing to do with socialisation.

I'm sure someone else can put it far more eloquently but I needed to let this out before I have another argument with a friend!

RubyrooUK Tue 22-Jan-13 21:09:30

Well I think obviously we are conditioned to think certain things are attractive. That is the whole principle behind fashion apart from anything else...that's why people are wearing peplums at the moment even if it adds four inches to their waistline. Humans like to define what is attractive and then fall in line with it.

So it stands to reason that women dress a certain way because they think it will attract the opposite sex too. Even if it is all subconscious.

Personally I want men, women and even aliens to find me attractive. I'm very greedy. But also lazy. Hence I can't be arsed with many of the things on your list. grin

Some women think that looks nicer, some women don't. Why can't the women who do think that particular look is nicer for them be credited with the same brains to form an opinion as the women who prefer different looks?

HollyBerryBush Tue 22-Jan-13 21:11:46

High heels.
Exposed cleavage.
Cinched waists.
Exposed legs (in skirts or tight trousers).
Tight/skimming clothing.
Lipstick.
Eyeliner.
Hairless legs/armpits.

Shall we all invest in a naquib or burkha? Would that make you feel better OP?

WorraLiberty Tue 22-Jan-13 21:13:24

So if you choose to wear baggy unattractive trousers and a t.shirt, you haven't been conditioned by society?

If you happen to hate baggy trousers and t.shirts and opt to wear a smart skirt and a blouse, you have been conditioned by society?

Is that it? confused

So because one style might be less attractive to men, it automatically means the woman only likes the other style because she's been conditioned by society?

I walked into B&Q the other day to choose some wallpaper. There were many many different styles to choose from.

I chose the style I like best and the styles I really didn't like, I left on the shelf.

Have I been conditioned by society to choose a certain wallpaper...and have those who chose the wallpaper I hated, not been conditioned by society because their choices were different to mine?

I like chicken and mushroom pie...I hate steak and kidney pie.

That ^^ is my personal taste and nothing to do with society...just like my wallpaper and choice of dress.

Feelingood Tue 22-Jan-13 21:14:21

I think some of those things have their routes in innate drives like when looking for a healthy mate men subconsciously look at hips, women look a bums (think thrusting)

These are left over from long ago before we evolved to living as we do I societies.

As looks are often part of our own sense of identity through bodily expression it can very much be argued that these are indeed social constructs so yes I agree with the conditioning thing. I also think some people just follow fashion in clothes and beauty blindly.

Missy I'm not saying that they are less intelligent, as I said in my OP I do/wear several of the things on the list. I'm not criticising women who dress this way, or those who don't. Women should wear whatever they feel best in.

I just don't understand how women who do think they look best dressed this way can fail to realise the underlying context.

Holly I've been tempted, it would make getting ready a lot quicker! grin

WorraLiberty Tue 22-Jan-13 21:15:40

YAsoooNBU

I can just imagine some of the "but I just happen to like high heels" gang walking round the national portrait gallery all "wtf with all the pictures of uggos?"

Can you explain what you mean by that?

Are you inferring that women who like to wear high heels see people as ugly, or are you inferring that they're thick or something and won't understand the subjects of the paintings?

Genuinely confused here.

AViewfromtheFridge Tue 22-Jan-13 21:15:45

You're missing the point. She's not saying we shouldn't do it, just pointing out how heavily we're influenced by societal expectations.

The teenage girls I teach are so groomed these days it's terrifying.

CaptainVonTrapp Tue 22-Jan-13 21:16:57

If I think I look better in a skirt and my friend thinks she looks better in trousers which of us has been conditioned? Or both?

LaQueen Tue 22-Jan-13 21:17:07

I think genetically we are designed to find symmetrical features, clear complexions, bright eyes, good teeth, full lips, shiny hair etc...etc...physically alluring because typically they denote good genes and good health - I remember watching a very interesting Horizon progrma on it once.

Same with a woman's hip to waist ratio...can't remember what the ratio was, but men were attracted to women with neat waists and curvy hips - regardless of whether the woman had big breasts, or heavy thighs, or a flat bum, or whatever.

Apparently, the hip to waist ratio denotes good fertility etc?

But you haven't answered why this particular look is down to society while all the other millions of looks there are is down to choice?

Perhaps some women (myself included) are more susceptible?

InNeedOfBrandy Tue 22-Jan-13 21:23:03

There is so many different styles to choose from nowadays! People can dress how they want to dress and do, tis called personal taste.

It's the whole I'm superior because I'm not dumb enough to wear a bit of lippy like you, when really anyone can wear whatever they want to wear.

thebody Tue 22-Jan-13 21:23:40

So as a married mom of 4 I dress 'well' high heels makeup etc to 'attract a male'?? Really.

Grow up.. I do this as it makes ME feel good about myself.

Men do the same, work out and dress well.

If you don't wear makeup or heels well good for you. Noone cares at all.

It's about personal choice, thankfully my religion and country allow me to choose how I dress and look, work and drive, have a vote and participate

But if course that thread would be far too sensitive to start aye???

InNeedOfBrandy Tue 22-Jan-13 21:23:44

laqueen isn't it something to do with good child birthing hips grin

ApocalypseThen Tue 22-Jan-13 21:24:58

I'm astonished at the defensive tone of some of the responses.

With regard to people who choose to dress against attraction conventions, the point is that they choose not to conform, but they know what conforming would look like.

ApocalypseThen Tue 22-Jan-13 21:26:27

Grow up.. I do this as it makes ME feel good about myself.

Why do you think it makes you feel good to conform to socially conditioned expectations?

Or maybe it is a genuine preference based on their own personal taste, that they would probably still choose if they lived in a world with no magazines, papers, internet, tv or advertising and stayed indoors until they were 30?

mercibucket Tue 22-Jan-13 21:27:44

it's education, particularly social sciences, and critical thinking

both pretty lacking at secondary school so it's only if you either study some a levels or go on to a certain type of undergrad course, that you are exposed to these concepts in the uk system, or so it seems.

Brandy It's the whole I'm superior because I'm not dumb enough to wear a bit of lippy like you, when really anyone can wear whatever they want to wear.

Have you actually read my posts?

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Tue 22-Jan-13 21:28:33

It's a very narrow definion of what is seen as attractive, though. In some cultural groups, a woman wearing high heels and revealing her legs would be thought of as slutty and immodest and contemptible (not that this is in any way better). In other cultural groupings (green activists or whatever), a woman wearing mainstream fashion and makeup would be seen as shallow and vain.

ICBINEG Tue 22-Jan-13 21:30:40

worra I am saying that if you assume that you choose what you find attractive with no influence from society or with some over arching absolute definition of beauty it must be difficult to explain why all the women that were considered great beauties hundreds of years ago now look ugly.

You can wear high heels and accept that your view that they make you feel attractive is mostly down to current fashion ideals, or you can believe it is your own unique take on things that randomly lots of other people seem to agree with or you can assume that high heels are intrinsically attractive. IF you believe either of the latter two then you would have trouble explaining why such things are only considered attractive periodically through history rather than generally.

Shakey1500 Tue 22-Jan-13 21:30:50

It's ambiguous I feel.

Nobody can categorically state or prove that all women who wear any of the listed items have been socially conditioned. It may be (for one individual), it may not be for another.

And even if it is ever proven, it's not like millions of women will stop wearing xyz on the basis of it.

WorraLiberty Tue 22-Jan-13 21:31:30

I'm astonished at the defensive tone of some of the responses

Really?

You can't see why people get defensive when some randoms on a chat board tell them they know more about them and their choices than they do about themselves?

This tired old argument gets more ridiculous every time it's played out on these boards.

Some people have read up on this societal conditioning theory and therefore in their minds it's 100% true...no ifs, no buts, no room for personal tastes etc.

It's as though some people have brainwashed themselves which is ironic really, since they often claim anyone who doesn't agree with them are errrrr....brainwashed confused

Just because you happen to believe something, it doesn't make it true.

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