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Conversation overheard on phone on bus - sums a lot up :(

(33 Posts)
itshardthinkingofanickname Sat 22-Feb-14 21:03:02

A young woman. Just left college. I don't make a habit of eavesdropping but she was just in front of me.

Didn't go out last night because she was unhappy with her make up so she washed it off and stayed in. Her feet were really hurting with blisters and her toes felt squashed because her new heels were uncomfortable. She was talking about her diet but worried the KFC would put weight on.

It just kind of summed up a lot about expectations that a bloke would never have. Still - it was ok because she had a bottle of vodka at home and she was planning to go out and get smashed that night.

A lot of pressure to fit in.

Nancery Sun 23-Feb-14 00:12:00

I agree. Horrid.
As Cailtin Moran put it, would men out up with this shit?
There's no need! Surely?

peggyundercrackers Sun 23-Feb-14 00:22:57

Really? In my work I would hear a similar tale from a man well apart from the sore feet part. Yep men wearing makeup is quite common now, and yes they worry about their weight too...

MummyBeerest Sun 23-Feb-14 00:30:25

I actually do think there's a lot of pressure for males to look a certain way too. I know quite a few men (and one teenage boy) on a diet and regular exercise regimen.

But I agree that in the grand scheme of things, this shouldn't matter and women tend to feel more guilt than men. Maybe? Or maybe just the ones I know.

LordFocus Sun 23-Feb-14 00:31:35

I don't really understand - what does it sum up? The fact she was having an off day? And why is it horrid?

Nancery Sun 23-Feb-14 00:34:26

Horrid as you feel awful due to how you look?

LordFocus Sun 23-Feb-14 00:43:39

That was probably coming from within. I doubt she did look horrible - she just felt horrible. If she went out no one would have said you look crap be off home. Less to do with social conditioning and more to do with her own self esteem I suspect.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 23-Feb-14 00:47:04

And why might a young woman's self esteem be tied up with how she looks? Could that be social conditioning, perhaps?

LordFocus Sun 23-Feb-14 00:54:38

I understand where you are coming from - don't get me wrong. There is of course social conditioning but I'm just tempted to take the view the OP is making a big assumption based on this conversation. I mean, you don't HAVE to wear high heels and make up. Society may force a lot of expectations on young women but there is a choice - no one is going to have a pop at her for not getting her make-up right. On the other hand, I do acknowledge the fact that society WOULD have a pop at her for going out with hairy armpits. There is an issue at stake, I agree, although I'm not sure this is the best example.

itshardthinkingofanickname Sun 23-Feb-14 08:16:44

It just made me sad - I have never heard a bloke worry about their appearance like their face when they go out. Nor do blokes insist on wearing shoes that are just too small so they look good - yet feet issues to do with shoes are quite common in females. And I have never heard a bloke worrying about the effect of KFC or ever saying "better not, I'm watching my weight".

itshardthinkingofanickname Sun 23-Feb-14 08:17:53

"Society may force a lot of expectations on young women but there is a choice "

Is there - not by looking at the teenagers near me.

scallopsrgreat Sun 23-Feb-14 09:30:23

This is a really good example of the insidiousness and the drip drip effect of all the messages women get. Any choice they have is loaded. This woman probably didn't even view it in terms of choice.

Birdo83 Sun 23-Feb-14 10:55:15

Sorry but that is rubbish about men not having insecurities about their weight and image. I have a 17 year old son and boys are obsessed with having six packs and a toned body these days like the guys they see in the media. Many of them straighten their hair and spend ages on their looks too.

Male eating disorders have increased massively:

Original post is very outdated. In the past men didn't care about their image as much as women, I agree, but things are different now.

itshardthinkingofanickname Sun 23-Feb-14 11:07:29

Walk around town and look at men and boys compared to women and girls.

Tell me who's put most effort into their image and those who really don't care how they look.

I think men care about their physical body more - but not about their clothes, make up, shoes etc.

itshardthinkingofanickname Sun 23-Feb-14 11:08:24

I also know a lot of teenage boys and I can honestly not think of one who cares about their appearance.

But the teenage girls who I know - a different matter.

KerryKatonasKhakis Sun 23-Feb-14 11:59:03

There's a few people being really disingenuous on this thread.

How can you argue that men are under the same level of (bullshit) pressure as women are regarding looks?!

I agree men's grooming/physique standards are getting more intense (though having silly, unrealistic standards for both sexes is not the equality anyone wants) but they aren't comparable.

I agree, depressing OP, and sentiments I can really identify with, you could have been sat behind me! sad

itshardthinkingofanickname Sun 23-Feb-14 12:08:30

You weren't planning on getting smashed with a bottle of vodka?

You only have to look around town - even in the daytime to see the expected standards.

KerryKatonasKhakis Sun 23-Feb-14 12:23:33

A nice cider, not vodka wink

I am a lot less bothered about my appearance now but teens and early twenties were spent with achey feet, tight uncomfortable clothing, worrying about weight, spending too much time and money on hair and make up etc.

Yes, you can argue that was all my choice but I didn't choose to risk breaking my ankle/paint my face etc. just for fun hmm I did it to be considered attractive, or, more accurately, acceptable, because I was socialised form a young age to believe that shit was important.

And no man I know has every worried about any of that ^.

Something that really gets my goat nowadays is the backlash against girls/women who are "too made up". Taking the piss out of fake tans, HD brows, fashion-victims etc. These girls are trying their best to look good and conform to what is expected of them; they put a lot of money and effort into it but get the piss ripped anyway because they didn't do it quite well enough.

MooncupGoddess Sun 23-Feb-14 12:29:57

Agree with OP.

The face that men are suffering more and more from the focus on appearance and unrealistic standards of beauty/fitness is very depressing, but doesn't alter the basic point here.

LordFocus Sun 23-Feb-14 21:16:03

Many girls don't feel the need to conform to an un-maintainable standard when it comes to looks. I had a similar debate not long ago with the boot on the other foot. My view was that females were doing themselves a disservice by collaborating with societal pressure and being so preoccupied with their looks. At that time, the MN feminists argued the other way - that it was their choice and their free will to dress up and look good - that women and girls naturally like to look good for themselves and that I was a misogynist for taking the view that they were objectifying themselves or making themselves a product of media pressure. Which way around it is?

KerryKatonasKhakis Mon 24-Feb-14 00:09:53


I truly doubt anyone said that women and girls naturally like to look good for themselves and meant it in the way you construe it...i.e. that make up/heel/fashion etc. are something women would do without socialisation. I also think the words 'choice' and 'freewill' would not have been used in this context; not in the way you use them there ^.

We are all products of our society and yes, Many girls don't feel the need to conform to an un-maintainable standard when it comes to looks but many more do. It can take courage to go against gender norms.

The phrases you use ("Females were doing themselves a disservice" and "objectifying themselves or making themselves a product of media pressure") come from a place of misunderstanding. Pressure to 'objectify yourself' is patriarchy in action and I find it ridiculous that you reckon women can easily just wise up and give over. The sanctions for not conforming are real.

You'll be telling us that we're our own worst enemy next.

DontGiveAwayTheHomeworld Mon 24-Feb-14 08:59:54

It's funny, I have never conformed to the standards in the media, and it wasn't until I left home that I realised how much it trickles into everyday life. Whenever I get dressed up to go out I'm told I should dress like that/put makeup on/do my hair like that more often (not by DH though!) The worst part is that it's usually other women - who know how much time, effort, money and pain is involved.

Kinda makes me glad I grew up wearing my male cousins' hand me downs. I hated it at the time, but now I appreciate the way it shaped my view of fashion!

ReadyToPopAndFresh Mon 24-Feb-14 10:07:30

I don't think anyone can truly sincerely believe that men are under as much pressure to wear make up as women? confused

Has anyone seen the advertisement for Nutrogena (I think) that basically shows a woman's facial regime and then theirs for men?

Then a voive over. 'Men's skin's not like womens'

The joke being that womens is over the top and painful and generally horrible.. but men's doesn't have to be confused winds me right up considering they sell all the shit women are abusing themselves with and then take the piss out of the women who use it for using it. Yes, aren't we stupid hmm

I can't find the commercial so I've just stuck the Mitchel and Webb video up. It's pretty much the same thing

ReadyToPopAndFresh Mon 24-Feb-14 11:22:58

or is that regimen hmm

Julietee Mon 24-Feb-14 12:39:55

LordFocus It sounds like you have not yet realised that patriarchy is the very air we breathe. No female behaviour in society happens in a vacuum.

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