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a pondering

(69 Posts)
southeastastra Sat 31-Oct-15 22:21:45

why do women get dressed up for men and wear make up when in the natural world it's the opposide?

QueenLaBeefah Sat 31-Oct-15 22:25:52

Often wondered the same.

Although throughout history there were periods when men seemed to make more of an effort Like the Georgians for example.

thatstoast Sat 31-Oct-15 22:41:46

It's not always the male of the species though? I know it's the case for a lot of birds but in mammals there's not much difference?

usual Sat 31-Oct-15 22:45:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

noddingoff Sat 31-Oct-15 23:19:48

Male mammals don't have the fancy colours but they do show off in other ways. I suppose they need big muscles to fight if necessary but they do some quite elaborate body language to females as well as rival males -a stallion trying to impress a mare will tuck his nose in to make his cresty neck look bigger, hoik his tail up a bit and do a very fancy high stepping springy trot up and down in front of her while she's just standing there watching like "Yeah whatever".

PlaysWellWithOthers Sun 01-Nov-15 06:55:03

I'm trying to think of an animal species where it's NOT the male that does all the dancing about and looking pretty.... and I can't.

VestalVirgin Sun 01-Nov-15 09:49:25

One of the reasons for the peacock is that it doesn't help in raising the young. It couldn't afford to be as colourful, otherwise.

But you are on to something - male birds of other species try to impress a mate in other ways.

Patriarchy creates an artificial dependancy of women on men. Thus, in times gone by, every woman more or less had to marry, her choice was (if at all) whom to marry. Men basically only had to make an effort if they wanted a higher status wife.
And now that many women are economically independent, many men still don't make an effort and wonder why they don't find a girlfriend.

It has long been one of my criticisms of patriarchy that it creates an artificial environment wherein ugly old men can monopolize the reproductive potential of pretty young women. The only trait this system selects for is power. Not even physical strength, just power.

Rape and coercion (if you don't want to call the more subtle ways rape) are not only a crime against every sensible human beings' sense of right and wrong, but also a crime against the human species.

I can't prove it, but I am rather sure that the human species would be in a better state if all women could choose whom to have babies with, freely and independent of finances.
Maybe we would all look like supermodels (unlikely, as beauty ideals are rather artificial), maybe we would just see a decrease in infant mortality in developing countries, due to the improved genetic fitness. Whatever.

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHorrid Sun 01-Nov-15 15:27:56

I'm trying to think of an animal species where it's NOT the male that does all the dancing about and looking pretty.... and I can't

Female chimpanzees in heat have swollen red vulvas to show they are ovulating.

alexpolistigrakia Sun 01-Nov-15 18:18:48

Mind you, there are some animal species we probably shouldn't emulate.

The way the female praying mantis treats the male, for example. Might get us into trouble.

VestalVirgin Sun 01-Nov-15 18:29:18

Actually, it has been found out that the praying mantis only bites off the male's head if it is put under stress. Like scientists watching it have sex. Apparently, happy, well-adjusted animals in their natural environment don't do this. Which is logical. Would be rather bad for the survival of the species if they always did this.

You are right, though ... the rape culture of the species "homo sapiens" is also something we should not emulate ...
Not everything that happens in nature is a good thing. Definitively.

alexpolistigrakia Sun 01-Nov-15 18:36:39

even the name of our species is male: homo=man. So homo sapiens is not gender neutral as a term.

I don't really know much about other species and cannot comment on their behaviour.

But I do notice one thing: in some of the species already mentioned here, such as the peacock, the male is decorative, because that is how he is. Nature has made him that way, as it were, he doesn't have to make an effort. Whereas human women are expected to do a lot to our appearance: nature has not already done the job, according to societal expectations.

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHorrid Sun 01-Nov-15 19:49:35

Nature has made him that way, as it were, he doesn't have to make an effort

That's true, no other species messes about with eyeliner and push up bras (disclaimer I quite like eyeliner and push up bras).

Lweji Sun 01-Nov-15 19:53:37

Men also make displays and perform in leks, but, traditionally it's of wealth. Suits, shoes, watches, cars...
Or nest: get a house and acquire wealth or power.

DeoGratias Sun 01-Nov-15 19:53:53

We don't always of course.... plenty of women put the same effort into looks that men do and look absolutely fine.

Lweji Sun 01-Nov-15 19:55:29

the peacock, the male is decorative, because that is how he is. Nature has made him that way, as it were, he doesn't have to make an effort.

The effort is to survive with the handicap of the huge tail or bright colours. Males are advertising how good their genes are.

Lweji Sun 01-Nov-15 19:56:23

The peacocks are like that through sexual selection.

TeiTetua Sun 01-Nov-15 22:05:36

Male bowerbirds aren't outrageously decorative themselves, but they build outrageous structures to try to attract females. But at least male birds just strut and preen to find mates: among mammals, fighting it out is much more likely.

I don't think it's fair to say that women (those who indulge) mess about with eyeliner and push up bras just to attract men. It's often more that there's this idea that a woman who doesn't do that stuff just isn't trying or isn't making anything of herself and other women may pull her up for it. It's presented as a social requirement.

PlaysWellWithOthers Sun 01-Nov-15 22:42:42

Oh, so there's one species.

That's settled it then.

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHorrid Sun 01-Nov-15 23:38:32

I think a lot of the problem is that we look at a peacock from a very human perspective.

It's clear to us the male is far more attractive than the female. But from a peacocks point of view a peahen in season is probably sexy as hell.

TeiTetua Mon 02-Nov-15 01:01:51

I should have linked my previous post to alexpolistigrakia's point that "the male is decorative, because that is how he is. Nature has made him that way, as it were, he doesn't have to make an effort." The bowerbird actually does make the effort, but no, it's not common in nature. And even then, animals aren't thinking about what they do, they just have the instinct to do it, at least that's what we believe about them.

You can find a fair amount of stuff by searching on "peacock feather jewellery". A gift from the male bird to the female human, while we tell the male human that he doesn't need much to catch the eye except himself, just like the peahen. Something to ponder there.

DeoGratias Mon 02-Nov-15 07:15:55

Isn't it about money and power? If you earn quite a bit whatever your sex you can just pick one uniform you wear every day and spend af ew seconds doing basics like washing your face or shaving if you are man and that's it. If instead you need to entice a man and keep one to support you financially then you can't?

Lweji Mon 02-Nov-15 08:00:17

Yes, it is deo.

And as I mentioned, human males display signs of wealth, not necessarily beauty. But they display their good genes, as strength and aggressiveness as well. Remember Bridget Jones' famous cock fight?
It's often said these days that men pay more notice to their appearance. Possibly because the game is changing. Females also need to be conquered by looks because they have economic power as well.

Where a pair is needed to raise young, male and females look very similar and behave similarly. Or the male makes nests to prove his value, for example.

Humans are somewhat mixed. A couple is desirable but a village can raise a child. Men are bigger than females, presumably to keep their females from being impregnated by other males and protect their own offspring, but not too big or flashy.

MrNoseybonk Mon 02-Nov-15 09:26:04

Why are guys growing huge beards at the moment?
Is it beautiful plumage to attract women?
Read a few male forums and the answer is distinctly yes!
But that is mostly younger guys, the "politician look" of dull be-suited boring guy and glamorous, often younger, wife is obviously very prevalent.

PlaysWellWithOthers Mon 02-Nov-15 09:30:02

Not sure that a bunch of men not shaving really equates to all the primping and preening that women are expected to do if they 'ever want to catch a man', but you might have a point.

Possibly.

MrNoseybonk Mon 02-Nov-15 09:41:31

Maybe it's just the forums I read (the men's health - well men's and women's health really - ones), but there is a lot of talking about getting good bodies, grooming, shaving or not shaving, waxing, dressing well, etc. And their goal is to attract or "get women".
It doesn't equate to the history or lengths that women have been expected to do over the centuries, but it exists now.

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