Respecting men for their bodies, and women for their brains

Discussion in 'The Locker Room Bar & Grill' started by thardey, Feb 6, 2008.

  1. thardey

    thardey Master Black Belt

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    So another thread in the locker room reminded me of a question that could make for a good discussion, and maybe some surprises.

    My wife is very intelligent, but she is also very beautiful. Of course, while she appreciates the attention her looks get her, it quickly becomes loathsome if it detracts from the respect for her intelligence.

    Basically she would rather be admired/respected for her intelligence than her looks. And I believe her, it's not one of those "I hate it when people tell me I'm so beautiful" attention stunts. It disgusts her to only be noticed for looks.

    So we were watching a movie the other night, where the heroine enters the scene in a slinky evening gown, all done up, and all the men in the room are leering at her. She says "how would you feel if you were treated like that?"

    My first thought was "I would LOVE IT!" And I told her so. Which started an interesting discussion. I've polled a couple of my guy friends about this, but no other women, but all of the guys agreed -- to be able to walk into a room full of confident, powerful women, and be able to turn their heads by our looks alone would be so much fun -- it's just not gonna happen, though.

    Now the questions for discussion:

    1. Is this a surprise to other women here?

    2. Do other men feel this way?

    3. Is it because men are "sight-oriented" when it comes to romance/sex that they want to be desirable by sight?

    4. Or is it that we just want what we don't have - since men in our society aren't considered to be generally "good looking" on their own, but character matters, that if we got that, we would hate it, too?

    The discussion ended with me, mock-poutingly, insisting: "Don't only pay attention to my brains! I have a body, too y'know!"
     
  2. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Well I think everyone wants to be admired for their looks. That seems to be pretty normal. However, if you are only admired for your looks and nobody gives a care what you think well that would get really old, really quick.

    I used to work a long time ago in a very upscale environment with a lot of really gorgeous people. (were talking New York runway model types or just maybe a tiny notch below) They all particularly to a T disliked it when they felt they were dismissed as being clueless. This inevitably happened to them all the time so they worked extra hard to be taken seriously intellectually.
     
  3. thardey

    thardey Master Black Belt

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    So you don't think it's related to our "wiring"? Men are interested in looks, women in character? (generally speaking).
     
  4. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    You know there might be a little to that and I believe I have seen some studies particularly about how women size up mates in regards to their looking for someone that fits a genetic mix that will lead to success down the road. So I do think we are hard wired differently but still pretty similarly.

    Still I know of no women or men who do not want to be found attractive and have people comment nicely on their looks and also be thought of as intelligent. [​IMG]
     
  5. thardey

    thardey Master Black Belt

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    But of course . . . but how many men, other than a couple of movie stars are complimented on their looks at all? Jeff Foxworthy seems to have hit it . . .

    "Women's bodies were made to be alluring . . . Men's bodies were made to be able to pee while running away from large animals."

    During the Renaissance, the male body was considered to be a pinnacle of beauty. When I read the short clip on "sexiest men of the year" last month -(I'm curious about such things), the picks were based on the personalities of the characters they played in the movies, not on looks at all.

    I've made the joke for years -- When women "dress up" they put on less fabric, when men "dress up" they cover themselves in layers.
     
  6. Jade Tigress

    Jade Tigress RAWR

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    Society as a whole values good looks. Studies have shown that objectively attractive people get paid more, etc. It's nice as a woman to have my intelligence acknowledged. Do I want to be unattractive and noticed only for my brains? Of course not. I like having my looks acknowledged as well. (Everyone does whether they admit it or not)

    However, I don't like being "leered" at by lowlifes who only see a body. I'm more than a body. Men get noticed for their looks too, and brains are just as important. Believe it or not, there are good looking dumb guys out there. No thanks.

    My 17-year-old daughter is gorgeous, 6 feet tall, a natural blond, 140 pounds and a smart as whip honor student. I've asked her about guys at her school, does she like anyone, etc. Her response, "well, there's this hot guy but....he's stupid". She has no interest in a guy without brains no matter how "hot" he is. I've found the same. Most (not all mind you) but most of the really good looking guys I've known have been total *******s, thinking they're God's gift to women. Well, they never end up in any relationship for long. They end up getting dumped and usually end up with some good looking dumb girl where they maintain a shallow relationship until the next good looking shallow person comes along.

    The ultimate in a person is beauty AND brains, be they male or female. I also don't know any guys who will tolerate a dumb girl for long, no matter how good looking she is. This is where subjective good looks come in. And that is much more important IMO. That's why I don't believe in "love at first sight". Lust at first sight, but not love.
     
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  7. Sukerkin

    Sukerkin Have the courage to speak softly

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    It's not only a gender issue, there's an age element too.

    In my twenties I would never have dreamed of forming a relationship with someone shaped externally like my missus (who is, not to gild the lily, fat).

    Back then, when I too was 'prettier' than I am now, I had a succession of relationships, that never went anywhere (other than bed), with a number of physically beautiful girls/women.

    With one notable exception (she went on to take a Masters in Physics) their excellent 'externals' masked a lack of creditable 'internals' i.e. great looks but terrible personality and general lack of other traits good for building long term relationships.

    I got so soured by the whole circus that I essentially opted out of the game for ten years or more and stopped looking for a wife.

    As the years rolled on, I got to know the woman who would later become my intended. I liked her from the beginning but had an issue reconciling my 'internal image' of how my ideal woman should look with the incontrovertible fact that I had found a woman who was ideal. The small hinderance that she was seriously involved with a friend of mine was not an inconsiderable factor too :D.

    Eventually, circumstances changed and she, via the auspices of a mutual friend, extended the notion that maybe we should get 'together' - the rest is history {and an expensive ring :lol:}.

    My point (you knew I had one, right? :D) is that, twenty years ago, hormones would've prevented me from forming a relationship with the woman who is right for me because she was not physically what society has taught me to want. My own maturity (in years) allowed me to see past the physical to the things that truly matter.

    It is a general truism that the younger you are, regardless of your gender, the more focussed on looks you are.

    When I was a mid-'teen, I was not appealing to the eye of my female contempories, which meant that I spent a lot of time pursuing my interests rather than girls (teenage egos being what they are, it was easier not to play than be rejected :)). As I left my 'teens, things settled down in the physical department and the fact that I had intelligence and 'interests' came into their own, such that I used to be accused (falsely, I hasten to add :eek:) of being a babe-magnet. That's an interesting inversion of the OP actually, as I used to protest that girls only liked me because I could hold a conversation and had a fund of anecdotes (some witty, some erudite) to draw on ROFL.

    However, I've never been comfortable with being the centre of attention solely for how 'pretty' I'm perceived to be, so I can understand to an extent how some women feel if that is all they get, regardless of what other positive attributes they have. I would dislike that total focus on the physical too, even if I did understand that, at first meeting, appearance forms a large part of how people react to you. It's because, in the end, reaction based on looks is only temporary but is inhernetly limiting. If someone takes a liking to you because of how you look but does not get the physical gratification they instinctively seek then that positive first impression can turn to a long-term negative.
     
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  8. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Interesting thread.

    I do believe there are some wiring issues. I believe men in general tend to be visually oriented, and are more easily "aroused" in some way thru visual stimulation. I believe women also possess this wiring, but it is either less prominent, or else women are conditioned by society to repress and deny their visual interests. This is probably a big reason why the vast majority of pornography is geared toward a male's point of view. It is accepted that most women simply lack any interest in it, whether or not that viewpoint is accurate.

    I also believe that everyone would like to be confident that others find them physically attractive. I just cannot believe anyone would actually like to be seen as ugly.

    However, I can see how one's physical attractiveness could become a hinderance, and even an annoyance. There is a difference between someone casting an appreciative second-glance at someone, and downright rude and intrusive leering. Attention from the wrong person could even become a real danger, if that person is mentally imbalanced or is lacking in moral character and becomes a stalker who might do someone physical harm.

    I am also sure that people, both men and women, would like to be respected for their intelligence. The perception that one's physical attractiveness implies mental weakness would probably be quite annoying for anyone.

    There are some people, male or female, who are downright exhibitionists and love attention, especially centered around their physical attributes. I suppose for those people, a room full of leering people would provide for a sexual rush, as long as they are confident that there is no threat of actual danger from the crowd.
     
  9. Archangel M

    Archangel M Senior Master

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    [sarcasm]Oh poor me. Being so good looking is such a burden.[/sarcasm]

    I see where the original post is trying to go and I would have to agree. I would not mind being admired for my looks one bit.

    You can always prove your intelligence.
     
  10. Sukerkin

    Sukerkin Have the courage to speak softly

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    I think that's sort of the question tho', Angel i.e. given a beautiful exterior can you ever really break free of it to prove your inner worth?

    Also, there is a flip side to this in that if you are intelligent you can get very fed up with being expected to know the answer to all questions on every subject. It's not so much a problem for me these days, with having had half my brain turned to mush via extreme-blunt-force-trauma, but it did used to get a bit annoying to be treated as a walking encyclopedia.

    Any characteristic taken to excess and used to define you can be a burden.
     
  11. thardey

    thardey Master Black Belt

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    But what about the "decent-looking" guy. Sure, women may think he's cute, or something, but will he ever hear it? I guess what I'm wondering, (and this is more of a social thought experiment more than anything), is that while women have done a good job of teaching men that they want to be liked for both their brains and their looks (and deservedly so, though more work needs to be done), men have been content to be liked for one or the other.

    Men who are "hot" don't seem to care how their character and brains seem, and most men don't believe they are good-looking (strong and athletic, yes, but I'll cover that in a second), so they try to get women's attention by being smart, or charismatic, or funny.

    Now, about being in shape -- I don't think our society actually regards a healthy man's body as "beautiful" -- it's efficient. It goes back to the "protector/provider" mentality, which is really a thing of the past.

    Sure a guy is supposed to be chiseled and strong, and suits are designed to enhance that, since that appeals to the protector gene, but in another way, isn't that a little one-dimensional for men? At the root of it, couldn't that be taken to mean that men only have one purpose -- to be used as soldiers, or personal bodyguards? Sure, we're not sex-objects, but still objects to be used.

    The modern man now has access to pursue beauty in ways that have rarely been allowed in history. While some men are getting "edged out" of their realms of power by women in the workplace, other men are seeing this as a freedom to pursue "beautiful things" like art, poetry, music, family, etc.

    Now, while I'm sure that there are many women who do see the beauty of men, most men aren't aware of it. Men are complimented all the time on intelligence, character, etc - things that women would be preferred to be complimented on.

    But 50 years ago, there were many men who appreciated the intelligence of women, but culturally it was never said. So many women felt undervalued because the compliments they got were one-dimensional: looks. I'm wondering if men would even care that the compliments and expectations that we get are one-dimensional too? Do we, as a culture, undervalue the looks of men, just as 50 years ago we undervalued the intelligence of women?
     
  12. Archangel M

    Archangel M Senior Master

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    Would a beautiful woman [if she were able] trade in her good looks for ugliness in order to have her mind appreciated?
     
  13. Sukerkin

    Sukerkin Have the courage to speak softly

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    I'm wondering what role culture has to play in this too?

    I am in no way seeking to aggrandise myself (as I reckon I look like a fat Gollum :D) but, since I 'grew up' I have not infrequently been complimented on my looks both directly and via flirting. I suppose the fact that I am an inveterate flirter myself has an impact on this but could it be that British women are just more open on such things?
     
  14. Archangel M

    Archangel M Senior Master

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    And how does that saying go?

    "Well...stupid can be temporary, but ugly is forever". :)
     
  15. thardey

    thardey Master Black Belt

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    Well, that is the question. Can we get by only on being respected for "character" alone? Or do we all crave being physically attractive, too? Age notwithstanding?

    When I was younger and single, I was pursued by a young woman who was very pretty and nice, but I knew she only liked me because of my social position, not because she was attracted to me in any way. It turned me off completely.
     
  16. thardey

    thardey Master Black Belt

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    HA!
    :lfao:
     
  17. thardey

    thardey Master Black Belt

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    Or the flip side:

    Would an ugly "action hero" type guy trade in his abilities to be "hot"?
     
  18. thardey

    thardey Master Black Belt

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    I know it's weird to quote myself, but I may have tipped my hand, there.

    At one point, I was a big fish in a little pond, and I got attention for that. However, at the time I was a cripple, and so not athletic at all (I used crutches and canes from 17 to 22 yrs old. Over time, that was healed.

    Now, I am very athletic, and I have an excellent build for almost any physical activity (6' tall, broad shoulders, thick chest, long arms and legs), but I have a psoriasis over about 60% of my body, and part of my face, which, on a good day, makes me look like a burn victim, and on a bad day, a leper.

    I can do the "action hero" stuff, and I love adventures, and have been on several, but it's hard to stay confident when I take my shirt off. Essentially my skin is ugly. I don't want to be ugly any more. I'm tired of being respected for charisma. At best, my wife overlooks it. Ideally I'd have both, but some days I wonder what life would be like on the other side . . .
     
  19. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Zoolander: "That Hansel, he's soo HOT right now!"
     
  20. Sukerkin

    Sukerkin Have the courage to speak softly

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    There's one charcteristic that transcends all others and we've avoided mentioning it so far - confidence.

    That indefinable air of being comfortable with yourself overrides nearly everything else.

    Thardey I cannot walk in your shoes so I can't know exactly what it is like to feel as you do but, in that previously referred too 'teen-time I had such bad acne that even today I still look across my back and shoulders as if I've been hit by an Alien acid burst. I have large purple scars down my internally destroyed right arm and a big welt in the middle of my chest. I refuse to allow these to define me, any more than I allowed what used to be my high intelligence to define me.

    As humans we all react first to appearance but, given some time, those other elements that make us "Us" will shine through - oddly enough, the hardest 'handicap' to overcome for this step is physical beauty. The best example that occurs to me of this is Marilyn Monroe - driven to suicide because she could not escape the trap of her sexual appeal.123
     

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