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!

Haha, that'd be because i tried to link you to the word "for", which is helpful of me hmm

The actual link

MidnightMasquerader Fri 25-Jan-13 19:40:13

MoG - your link didn't work...?

doyouwantfrieswiththat Fri 25-Jan-13 14:03:38

Some men still rely on a cuban heel now and again.

but can he ride a horse

Interesting info about high heels

"The high heel was worn for centuries throughout the near east as a form of riding footwear," says Elizabeth Semmelhack of the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto.

Good horsemanship was essential to the fighting styles of the Persia - the historical name for modern-day Iran.

"When the soldier stood up in his stirrups, the heel helped him to secure his stance so that he could shoot his bow and arrow more effectively,"

"Although Europeans were first attracted to heels because the Persian connection gave them a macho air, a craze in women's fashion for adopting elements of men's dress meant their use soon spread to women and children."

"In the 1630s you had women cutting their hair, adding epaulettes to their outfits," says Semmelhack.

"They would smoke pipes, they would wear hats that were very masculine. And this is why women adopted the heel - it was in an effort to masculinise their outfits."

Interesting that high heels were originally seen as masculine!

woozlebear Fri 25-Jan-13 11:31:54

"We all know marketing works. We all understand the power of brands. And yet some of us feel that we're better than that and not susceptible to the influences that others are."

I kind of fall into the category you're talking about, except I don't think I'm not susceptible, rather I'm hyper aware of how susceptible I am, which I why I make a very conscious effort not to read certain types of magazine and to watch very little tv. My personality naturally veers towards the non-conformist, although this in itself is something I've fought against at times - I've often wished I could feel happier being a tad more normal, and I've tried to, and failed. Over the years I've realised that I'm at my happiest not being exposed to this marketing. I genuinely think I look my best wearing whatever, no make up and looking fairly musssed up doing something I enjoy. In that sense I am not influences by the same things as most people I know, but only because I've made a conscious effort to encourage my innate thoughts and feelings and avoid these influences.

Have BBC been reading this thread ideas for articles??

BegoniaBampot Thu 24-Jan-13 18:59:27

My mum put makeup on every morning no matter what, even if she was just staying in all day. And every day I'd ask her where she was off to, you'd think I'd click eventually. When she became terminally ill, everyone knew it was close when she stopped putting her make up on, was the first thing everyone mentioned. She must shake her head at me, I'm the opposite and much more a casual slob, only wear make up the odd evening out if then.

AmandaCooper Thu 24-Jan-13 16:33:24

If you are conditioned to feel better with makeup on, then I guess you will feel better with makeup on regardless of where you are and who you are with. This doesn't mean you will always wear it, but it would explain wearing it around the house.

Latara Thu 24-Jan-13 14:25:17

I am on my own today, not leaving the house to meet other people until this evening.

But i'm still wearing make-up.

Why is that; i'm not sure!

AmandaCooper Thu 24-Jan-13 13:14:51

MOG we can but speculate! smile

Pigsmummy Thu 24-Jan-13 11:02:31

I look far better in a pencil skirt than trousers or jeans, add a pair of courts and great. It's true, nothing to with conditioning/advertising etc I am slightly insulted at the suggestion that women don't know what looks good or not and that it is all somehow a male conspiracy. Give us some credit

"It seems counterintuitive to me"

That is however going to be clouded by your own preferences.

"surely in the total absence of other humans you'd seek to change the aesthetics you were looking at rather than your own appearance?"

It sounds logical, but doesn't necessarily mean all people would react that way.

TheRatsTheRats Thu 24-Jan-13 09:37:45

As a PP pointed out, most women dress for other women.

Bingo. That IS the whole fashion industry. Men just don't get it so it's not for them grin

fromparistoberlin Thu 24-Jan-13 09:34:01

well, yes and no

there is NOTHING wrong with wanting to look nice, nothing. I have alot of respect for people that are well presented

the items you mention can look slutty as fuck, or extremely elegant

I am sure you have a point here, but....... confused

TheRatsTheRats Thu 24-Jan-13 09:32:54

I'm sorry but I just don't think some of these things (mainly the clothes ones) are attractive and at 22 I am not sure that is the message we are getting. Women who wear tight clothes are often mocked and have their morals questioned.

The cinched waist to me is wanting to look healthy, and feel it, and know that I am taking care of my body and working at it. It's the only body I have got. The rest of the things though - absolutely.

BUT why do we need to tell ourselves this is just poor women and how women are treated? Look at ourselves on MN. Was there not a thread about beards just the other week? It is totally natural for a man to have a beard and yet the VAST majority of us hate it and find it unsexy. That is the same thing.

AmandaCooper Thu 24-Jan-13 09:26:42

Oh crikey don't go opening that can of worms again!

BegoniaBampot Thu 24-Jan-13 08:44:17

Maybe social conditioning is highlighted better with how we shave or remove our body hair. Hate that we are pressurised to conform in that way but I still do it if my legs, arm pits, bikini line are going to be on display. So though I recognise it's social conditioning and adhere to it sometimes, it still frustrates the hell out of me that people feel pressurised to conform.

Montybojangles Thu 24-Jan-13 07:41:38

Meh, and why do men wear the clothes they do, have the hair cuts/beard styles changes they do, wear aftershave etc?

Humans are still animals with a basic drive to attract a mate and procreate. Man or woman we all do it to some degree. Each of the things you mention enhance a feature that is attractive to the opposite sex and is acceptable in our society. I have fantastic tits but doubt I could get away with walking down the high street without a top on (western society), other places in the world it would be perfectly acceptable, so instead I just flash my cleavage.

I don't quite understand the reason for your post. So your friend dresses the way she does because it makes her feel good, don't we all? generally we don't really dress too far outside our society's "rules" while wanting to feel good within ourselves.

I only think its an issue if you dress to please others not yourself (exh-"wear shorter skirts/high heels blah blah", me-"fuck off"). I can, and do still look damn hot when I want to in the clothes/makeup I like. And enjoy doing it, fully aware I am dressing to catch men's eyes.

I find it rather tragic when young women think its the most important thing, and feel that dressing like barbie (or a TOWIE extra) is the way to get a man and security, rather than wanting to challenge themselves and do something constructive with their lives and contribute to the wider society, but that's a different matter entirely IMO.

Mesopatamians and ancient Egyptians wore lippy, I'm guessing marketing wasn't too hot then, purely cultural, so society driven, as we all are to a large degree (whether you like it or not).

AmandaCooper Thu 24-Jan-13 07:34:29

"Physical sensation maybe? Or aesthetics? You'd still have aesthetic preferences even in a social vacuum, and who is to say someone wouldn't like the look of high heels?"

You would almost certainly still crave aesthetic expression, as your life would be incredibly empty and unnatural. Is it plausible that wearing heels might be part of that? It seems counterintuitive to me - surely in the total absence of other humans you'd seek to change the aesthetics you were looking at rather than your own appearance?

Perhaps you might wear heels sometimes for the novelty factor. Certainly if you came across a pair you'd never seen before you would try them on for the mental stimulation of doing something different. But that's not the same as making a footwear choice really.

Of course it might be a fetish - but I honestly don't know enough about fetishes to understand whether one might develop in such circumstances.

controlaltdelete Thu 24-Jan-13 07:25:26

I only do 1 thing off your list and I never had a problem with attracting the opposite sex either.

MidnightMasquerader Thu 24-Jan-13 04:30:00

See, I don't see anyone saying 'how dare women X, Y, Z?'

I just see people asking why we do things and perhaps sometimes feeling a bit exasperated by the status quo...

Different perceptions of the same thing, I guess...

Harriet35 Thu 24-Jan-13 02:30:20

I think women are more conditioned by the media than men are when it comes to ideas about female attractiveness.

DizzyZebra Thu 24-Jan-13 02:29:01

Wow, Dizzy - you seem mad!

Well that depends on what definition of the word 'mad; we are using grin

It's weird that I don't feel patronised in the slightest by acknowledging that I am affected by social conditioning. I wonder why others do, and get quite so defensive...

No, I understand marketing, i understand fashion. I don't believe i'm above influence of such things.

What i find offensive is the sort of women (Not saying the OP is but these sorts of things usually lead to it) who cannot accept that some people just do things because they like it for themselves, That any woman dressing a certain way must have a sexual motive. As a PP pointed out, most women dress for other women.

I personally don't like or have any interest in mens fashion. But i'll look at pictures of pretty women all day long.

Obviously, I would be stupid to deny there is no influence. That's what fashion is. If there were no influence we would all still be walking around in rags and skins.

It's also the judgement often involved. 100 years ago we were under the orders of men. These days it's other women. You only have to browse a few threads on here to see that - Why don't women wear make up? Why don't women dress nicely? To the other end - how dare this woman wear a revealing dress? How dare this woman display her body in a magazine? Must be because she's forced to by men. No, Not because they enjoy it at all and want to do it.

MidnightMasquerader Thu 24-Jan-13 02:09:01

grin Absolutely personal choice comes into it. Which is pretty much why Communism continues to fail.

"We all know marketing works. We all understand the power of brands. And yet some of us feel that we're better than that and not susceptible to the influences that others are."

Totally OT, but in my experience the people who talk the most about not being affected by advertising/marketing are often the most susceptible to it. I think it's because they are so determined not to admit to it that they don't examine their thought process to closely. Instead they just keep telling themselves that all the thoughts in their head got there without any external influence, and so can't or won't step back and analyse those thoughts.

I wonder if it's the same with societal conditioning?

Just a note though, it's just as daft the other way when you get people who are aware of the presence of societal conditioning but will refuse to accept that personal choice plays a part too, tellingly personal choice only applies to their own choices.

Both affect our decisions. It's like the nature/nurture debate. It's a bit of both really.

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