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The Empirical Guy
02-03-2013, 10:15 PM
Spurred on by a (admittedly misguided) optimistic view of crazybitch's thread "Beauty Image Discussion", I thought we could have a thread to discuss what I thought that thread was going to actually be about.
We're all fans of Manson, who has never fit in with popular media depictions of what was 'good looking' or 'attractive', and has at various times spoken about find beauty in ugliness. Beauty, it has oft been said, is in the eye of the beholder. We certainly live in an age with conflicting ideals of what is 'beautiful'. As magazines and media pummel us with a barrage of images that we 'must' look like, there is an equally vocal part of the community pressing for 'real' images of beauty - the use of (so-called) "plus size" models, the backlash against photoshopping, even in an age where obesity is at epidemic levels, a quick Google can find any number of websites dedicated to people who consider obesity attractive.
So, how do we feel about body image and how these often conflicting messages are thrust at as? Do you feel a need to meet these demands, and does it impact on your own confidence and well being? Or do you disregard them, comfortable in your own skin no matter what? How have popular depictions of beauty shaped your view of the opposite sex?
I could say a whole lot here, but in the sake of kick starting a discussion rather than just posting a blog-type listing of my thoughts, look at this and consider; these are the first Google Image results for, respectively, "Beautiful Woman", "Sexy Woman", "Handsome Man" and "Sexy Man". Your thoughts?

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-1ymDvCgSrkw/UKT1ZLI9NQI/AAAAAAAAT5E/BNHoBSYVqf0/s1600/Beautiful-Woman-Are-Programmed-to-Be-Unfaithful-2.jpg

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-786PGQl6NqY/T4smt51svrI/AAAAAAAAAxs/DINuKXHEHK0/s320/sexy-woman-wallpapers_13892_1280x800.jpg

http://www.healthyskinsolutions.com/wp-content/uploads/Handsome-Man.jpg

http://www.savvykenya.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Sexy-man.jpg

Celebrity Killing Spree
02-03-2013, 11:46 PM
I hate this topic.

No offense to you Empirical Guy or to Crazy Bitch. There are just few things I find more juvenile and tedious than people's body image issues. Certainly there are aspects of beauty which are open to interpretation but for the large part this is sort of settled argument scientifically. There are standards of beauty which do cross cultural bounds and set at least a strong baseline for "attractiveness." From an evolutionary standpoint HEALTH is an undeniable influence on our perceptions of beauty. Fat people with three legs and a hump are at an understandable evolutionary advantage when it comes to finding mates.

Yes, I'm sure there are people who are attracted to fat people with three legs and a hump but this is obviously a fetish, the exception which proves the rule, rather than overturn the conventional perception. The obvious counter-argument to this is "well what about anorexic swimsuit models? They don't represent health? Why are they considered attractive?" My response to that is they aren't. There is a big difference between Angelina Jolie today and Angelina Jolie ten years ago. She looks disgusting. And most men really don't prefer an emaciated skeleton over a reasonably thin, healthy and active female. You can't confuse attention with attraction. People look at super thin models because of the freakshow/carcrash aspect not necessarily because they think it's beautiful.

But with all that out of the way, if you aren't physically attractive, so what? Manson doesn't really fit the bill. He went from scarred and super thin to scared and bloated. He's creative so he's found ways to get around that and in the process become something that is uniquely beautiful. And that's the big problem I have with people who complain about media depictions of "beauty" and representation of body types. So what? The same people who argue that how a person looks is no big deal are the same people complaining about how everyone else looks. They could be out there doing something unique instead of obsessing over what everyone else is doing. There are certain things less attractive than even physical unnattractiveness and jealousy is definitely one them.

Dysmorphia
02-04-2013, 01:46 AM
I have struggled with my body image and I’ll be the first to admit that my self-worth is somewhat attached to my appearance. That sounds very vain and in all honesty it is. The way I view myself now is a lot more positive. I know that I am never going to be stick-thin, I look and am healthy and I am happy with that.

‘Beauty’ is a construct of the desires of a period and place. For me, healthy is beautiful and I think more focus needs to be placed on wellness and fitness.

MA-86
02-04-2013, 04:40 AM
To each his own, of course, I personally dont find fat people attractive. Fit people always will be more attractive than unfit ones. of course, one has to take in account person's self esteem, the lover it is the more one will loath people who are more handsome, are fitter, etc.

But the beauty standards pushed by media, do create this warped opinion about whats beautiful and whats not, imo, making more people feeling more insecure about them selves as a result and therefore making them "dive" into the multi-billion dollar industry of diet food, plastic surgery, fashion, health and beauty products, etc etc etc

Most people find Manson's imaginary and looks disturbing and even scary to look at, whilst, I personally and I am sure most of the forum members here find his looks appealing and beautiful and find Michelle Obama's haircut more disturbing than anything Manson has ever had painted on his face. :D And I am sure no media or magazine has influenced this (on my part at least), so I would say we develop our own beauty standards according to our own personality and personal preferences and media mostly influences people with weaker minds and less will power.

The Empirical Guy
02-05-2013, 04:08 AM
I hate this topic.

No offense to you Empirical Guy or to Crazy Bitch. There are just few things I find more juvenile and tedious than people's body image issues.

So first off I'm interested in why you consider it 'juvenile'. Body image issues are not something limited to young people, it's something that many people struggle with throughout their lives, particularly as they age, so not really juvenile as such. It's unavoidable in many ways as it's almost hard-wired in to us, we know that the more attractive/ fit we are, the more likely we are to mate, and hence pass on our genes to another generation. That's an animal instinct shared by virtually every species on the planet. We're just the only one that has the consciousness to judge ourselves and has developed an industry based around telling people what is and isn't attractive or fashionable.

Anyway, the thread wasn't so much intended to be a place to whinge about the usual sort of thing that gets mentioned here, but for a more objective discussion. Case in point, the thing that I noticed in the four photos I posted. Look at the first woman and first man. Now, both pictures are almost surely photoshopped to some degree, but that aside they're both fairly normal photos that I wouldn't pass much comment on. For the second photo of each gender, however (the ones that turned up by Googling 'sexy'), compare the two. Given an afternoon, I could easily take a stroll around the beach or shopping centre and find half a dozen girls with a body like that who don't really do much to keep it. They're lucky and were born that way. Are all women? No. But, despite the constant wails that these body image displays are 'unrealistic', some are. The guy, however, has not got a body like that without large amounts of time working out, sticking to a special diet, and probably getting some extensive body waxing done too. This is the portrayal of 'attractive' men we see all the time - large muscled, oiled up and hairless men flaunting their masculinity through how much they can lift. They're in girls mags, they're on men's fitness mags, and they're in any film that has ever required a man to take his shirt off (or, more likely, the shirt removal is suddenly written in to the script post casting). Given all this, I think it's rather disproportionate how much attention is given to women's body image issues. How many men each year must go undiagnosed with some sort of body image or eating disorder, simply through lack of public awareness? It's not too different from the male breast cancer issue.

I say this not to have a whinge about it - I'm quite comfortable with myself - but I find the issue itself interesting that given so much talk about how media coverage is damaging people's body image and confidence, it is almost always directed at women. Just take a moment to think, however, how many ripped men you see in that same media. We've grown up around it all our lives and yet it's so rarely spoken about that it almost becomes invisible to us, so we don't think about it at first, but start to take notice and it's there to see. I know guys that have spent a stupid amount of money on muscle and protein powders and things, constantly at the gym, because they thought that was what they had to attain, but to me it's just as, possibly more, unrealistic than the average girl advertisement bikini girl that we see who gets slammed for being 'unrealistic' or it's assumed she's had surgery to look how she does. It's a gender imbalance on exactly the same issue.

On that note, I'm equally concerned about the swing-back from the super-skinny trend amongst women. For years, it was all about being slimmer. Now, it's going the other way, and I don't think it's always a good thing. Sure, people need to realize that there are different body types and not every one will be able to look like their favourite celebrity. However, the trend is going too far in the public consciousness. It's coming from too angles - the first are celebrities like Christina Hendricks, who got large amounts of media attention when Mad Men became popular, and the talk was always about her "curves" and "fuller figure", and she was often hailed as waving the flag for women who weren't built like the thin end of a twig. However, then this idea of "not skinny" starts to translate in to "big". Full-figure models are in demand. Advertising campaigns like this appear:

http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m876vo42fN1qjr3ui.jpg

"Real Beauty". Now, while none of those women are obese, some definitely carry a bit of extra weight on them. That's fine - some people are built like that, and none of them appear to be particularly unhealthy. However, none of them are slender, and the implication there is that women who are naturally slender and can do nothing about it (save for binge eating a dozen Big Macs a day) do not possess "real" beauty, and to my mind that sentiment is just as damaging as when the same thing was said to the type of women in this picture. It seems to be a growing trend these days that women with some weight on them are considered healthier and "beautiful" - the word of the moment is "curves". Women are told to embrace their curves. Love your curves. The aforementioned Christina Hendricks is curvy. Being built with a large frame is not curvy, and slapping on an excess amount of weight on to a small frame is certainly not curvy. In fact, it can be downright unhealthy, even dangerous, but the message being put out is that you can be bigger and still be "beautiful", because "real women have curves". Are slender women not "real" women? I can only imagine what that does to their self esteem. Meanwhile there's a host of obese people thinking that it's ok to be fat and it's not a health risk because the media is now telling them they're beautiful too. How often have you heard a fat woman declare she was "proud of her curves"? Lady, it's plural, not just one curve around your circumference.

Anyway, not a huge rant directed all at you, Celebrity Killing Spree, just thought I'd take the opportunity to expand upon the sort of issues I intended this thread to take, rather than the usual "magazines make people feel ugly" spiel.

Then again, there's always the possibility that nobody gives a fuck.

Mugwump
02-05-2013, 09:49 AM
Fatness is disgusting. Looking emaciated is disgusting. Try to conform and find the middle ground. Eat a healthful diet, exercise regularly, love yourself. Not that difficult to comprehend, IMO.

I think what Celebrity Killing Spree meant by "juvenile" is that we should be over what other people think of us. Get your body issue shit sorted out at least by the time you're in college. If you're an adult complaining about how the media makes you feel bad about yourself, I pity you.

Crazy_Baby
02-05-2013, 10:34 AM
@The Emperical Guy-Actually I would say that it's not easy for most women to maintain a body like image two as you wrote above, and that's if they even have a natural shape like that in the first place. Of all those women you see on the beach with good bodies, you can be sure many of them probably keep an eye on their diet and are physically active in some way or another. Why do you just assume they put no effort into maintaining their figure? You don't know that. Yes there are always some people (both male and female) who are lucky and never seem to have any problem keeping a healthy figure but that's not the norm in my experience.

Also that body shape is not what a lot of women naturally have even if they do make a good effort to stay fit and eat a good diet-some people are naturally more stocky in certain areas, some don't have curves at all, some have larger or smaller breasts etc. That body is completely unobtainable to a lot of women no matter what they do so that's why even with all its flaws that dove campaign is still a good thing to have out there so that people at least can see that there's more than one body type and they're perfectly normal and not some ugly freaks or something. So really your point about men being under more pressure is bollocks in my opinion, there's pressure placed on everyone lets not put up a divide here. Most women who are fit and healthy put just as much work into keeping that way as men.

And for myself personally all I want to work towards is being the healthiest possible version of myself that I can be, I don't give a fuck what some stupid magazine or whatever says I should look like.

alexismbench
02-05-2013, 10:37 AM
http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m876vo42fN1qjr3ui.jpg

"Real Beauty". Now, while none of those women are obese, some definitely carry a bit of extra weight on them. That's fine - some people are built like that, and none of them appear to be particularly unhealthy. However, none of them are slender, and the implication there is that women who are naturally slender and can do nothing about it (save for binge eating a dozen Big Macs a day) do not possess "real" beauty, and to my mind that sentiment is just as damaging as when the same thing was said to the type of women in this picture.


Okay, so one thing I find amusing is that I've read that any model that is above a size 6 is considered a "plus size" model. I'm not saying that this is true for this picture, or true for every standard of modeling, but I can pretty much say just by looking at the picture that none of these women even look as if they would be carrying a lot of extra weight on them. They do look, however, like what I would consider average weight in comparison to a lot of my friends. Not all, but a lot of them.


But, you are right about the fact that as soon as the media starts saying "these are real sized women," or even giving the notion of embracing a woman's curves, that this in turn could make a natural thin woman with very little curves feel inadequate. While it's sad that the media consistently perpetuates what we all should look like, I just don't think that there is any way around it. I do believe that the image that celebrity and media projects in today's age is a lot more damaging than it has been in the past though, due to the fact that now almost everything is photo-shopped even when there is nothing wrong with the original image. I mean, almost EVERY single photo used in Victoria Secret ads are now photo-shopped because apparently now even a wrinkle on an elbow or a knee is considered a flaw. It is damaging to a person's self esteem, and it does give the opposite sex the idea that this is what a woman is supposed to look like. And, it goes both ways- with pictures of men that are photo-shopped, I'm just using the Victoria Secret pics as a general example.


As much as I feel like it's damaging to the general public because these images are constantly being pushed on us whether we like it or not, there isn't a way around it. I severely doubt that any image the media uses will please everyone, just as you said: they use "plus size", "real sized" or "curvy" models, it makes naturally thin people feel inadequate. If they use "naturally thin", or "heroin chic" type models, it makes thicker people feel inadequate. No one will ever be happy with what the media perpetuates as beautiful.


It sounds like a cliche, but the only solution is for people to be comfortable with themselves and not take any ads, or celebrity pics as any type of comparison for what we should expect of ourselves. I know that isn't realistic on many levels, and I can only speak for myself here, but when I get my Victoria Secret catalog in the mail, I know when I order bras or panties or whatever- that it's not going to look the same on me as it does on the model. Does it make me feel shitty? Not really. I've going through my adolescence and my early 20s with body issues, but what person doesn't? Is it because of all of the photos I have seen in magazines? Maybe. But now, I just think that in our age of photo-shopping and what celebrity pushes on us isn't realistic, in any way- and so I've stopped comparing myself to it.

Celebrity Killing Spree
02-05-2013, 02:04 PM
To a certain extent, it depends on what people want. If someone is looking simply to get laid, then chances are even if you are physically attracted to everyone in the bar, in someway, you are still probably going to go after the most physically attractive you can. If someone is looking for a life long mate than it behooves them to look at more than just a few qualities. But I don't think anyone with any reasonable intelligence assumes that physical attractiveness is the sole measure of how good someone will be as a long term partner.

That being said, every fat girl who wonders why she can't get picked up by the hottest guy in the room still probably wouldn't choose the ugliest one over him. They aren't any "real" or "unreal" women but there are ugly and good looking ones. The important thing is that they are women though, so there's always some guy out there willing to take them home. I wonder if any of them would switch places with that fat guy?


So first off I'm interested in why you consider it 'juvenile'. Body image issues are not something limited to young people, it's something that many people struggle with throughout their lives, particularly as they age, so not really juvenile as such. It's unavoidable in many ways as it's almost hard-wired in to us, we know that the more attractive/ fit we are, the more likely we are to mate, and hence pass on our genes to another generation. That's an animal instinct shared by virtually every species on the planet. We're just the only one that has the consciousness to judge ourselves and has developed an industry based around telling people what is and isn't attractive or fashionable.

It doesn't matter what someone's physical age is. It's childish to make an "issue" out of something so simple. Even the people who complain about body images in the media are only trying to change other peoples minds in the same superficial way. Despite what feminists and middle school teachers say, there is nothing unnatural or wrong with competing for mates. But someone who truly believes that beauty is a myth yet despite that becomes obsessed with how they look is the real fool and obviously full of shit. It may be superficial to try and attract someone with a little make up but there is nothing more pathetic than trying to MAKE someone accept you. No one who puts air quotes around beauty will ever be one or even a reasonable adult in my opinion. The people who have the right attitude aren't the ones that have to convince people what the right attitude should be. They have realized that even if they are fat, pimpled and saggy but don't care because they've bothered finding something else to be successful in.

By some objective degree, some people are simply more physically attractive than others. It's science. But the idea that the beautiful people have such easier lives or are more happy is a juvenile fantasy. Likewise, the idea that ugly people have that if they were only better looking they could attract someone who would actually accept them is a juvenile fantasy and a completely hypocritical rationalization in order to justify getting someone they find more superficially appealing.

When some shallow idiot puts themself through mental anguish in order to attract an even more shallow idiot and then acts surprised when they figure out they ended up with a shallow idiot, I don't, as someone who has grown out of middle-school, feel sympathy. I ask them why they really think we need to ignore science and force people to change their lives just because they feel bad about being a shallow idiot.

I also think there is a false equivalency at work in a lot of this. Sure the fitness and diet industry is huge. But not everyone who gets a gym membership or goes on Atkins expects to ever look like Kate Moss. That's how a crazy person sees it because they assume everyone is as sick as they are. Most people just want to look as best that THEY can. And there is nothing wrong with that. It's healthy and natural. They don't have to prove to the world that they can necessarily pose for magazines and they don't have to prove to others how enlightened they are prove some kind of juvenile rebellion either. Most people simply want to prove something to themselves and there is nothing wrong with having realistic personal goals and working towards them. Again, it's healthy and natural. Some might even call that grown up.

EDIT: Sorry, Empirical, I think in quoting you and then going on a rant it might look like I was strawman-ing you. I think many of your observations are well put.

The Empirical Guy
02-13-2013, 02:22 AM
@The Emperical Guy-Actually I would say that it's not easy for most women to maintain a body like image two as you wrote above, and that's if they even have a natural shape like that in the first place. Of all those women you see on the beach with good bodies, you can be sure many of them probably keep an eye on their diet and are physically active in some way or another. Why do you just assume they put no effort into maintaining their figure? You don't know that. Yes there are always some people (both male and female) who are lucky and never seem to have any problem keeping a healthy figure but that's not the norm in my experience.

Also that body shape is not what a lot of women naturally have even if they do make a good effort to stay fit and eat a good diet-some people are naturally more stocky in certain areas, some don't have curves at all, some have larger or smaller breasts etc. That body is completely unobtainable to a lot of women no matter what they do so that's why even with all its flaws that dove campaign is still a good thing to have out there so that people at least can see that there's more than one body type and they're perfectly normal and not some ugly freaks or something. So really your point about men being under more pressure is bollocks in my opinion, there's pressure placed on everyone lets not put up a divide here. Most women who are fit and healthy put just as much work into keeping that way as men.

And for myself personally all I want to work towards is being the healthiest possible version of myself that I can be, I don't give a fuck what some stupid magazine or whatever says I should look like.

I say that based on experience. I've known personally not one or two but several (in fact, if I really thought about it, probably at least a dozen, maybe two) girls who look as good as the girl in that photo, if not better (imo of course), and known for a fact that they do little more than avoid eating fast food on a regular basis, and maybe go for a half-assed jog on a treadmill once or twice a week. It doesn't work for everyone, some women do work very hard to maintain their body. However, I'm pretty sure that no guy has ever looked like the photo I posted without long hours spent in the gym. Some guys are naturally bigger builds with more muscle mass, sure, but they don't achieve that kind of muscle definition without a lot of hard work. I've never known a guy who looked like those kind of male models just by watching what he ate and some light jogging.

kalim123
02-14-2013, 10:29 AM
I think if someone has weight problems, they don't deserve to be bullied but need to sort their health out.

Tick Tock Goes The
02-14-2013, 09:51 PM
We all get dealt a different hand in life. No good will come from crying about it. If you don't like your body, work hard at changing it or just accept it. Just don't waste your life being miserable in your own skin. Life is too short.

MrPogo
02-16-2013, 03:49 PM
I say that based on experience. I've known personally not one or two but several (in fact, if I really thought about it, probably at least a dozen, maybe two) girls who look as good as the girl in that photo, if not better (imo of course), and known for a fact that they do little more than avoid eating fast food on a regular basis, and maybe go for a half-assed jog on a treadmill once or twice a week. It doesn't work for everyone, some women do work very hard to maintain their body. However, I'm pretty sure that no guy has ever looked like the photo I posted without long hours spent in the gym. Some guys are naturally bigger builds with more muscle mass, sure, but they don't achieve that kind of muscle definition without a lot of hard work. I've never known a guy who looked like those kind of male models just by watching what he ate and some light jogging.

Yeah. I think on the whole the average woman worries a lot more about her body image than the average man but, conversely, women have a much bigger scope for what's considered a good body (anything from stick thin to being able to carry a fair amount of body fat, as long as they're lucky enough to put it on in the right places) and it typically requires a lot less effort to get somewhere into that range; the 'pro athlete' look is the only one ever touted as the male ideal, and that requires very strict diet control (which requires eating the right food, not just watching the calories) and a doing shitload of the right sort of exercise to achieve and maintain.

1984
02-16-2013, 04:30 PM
I agree that this is a mostly juvenile topic. I had body image issues when I was a teenager (14/15/16) because I'm naturally very, very skinny and was teased because of it during school but as I became older I found an attractiveness in it and as grew yet more old, I found it's ultimate irrelevance.

I believe that males and females alike should do some reading into the Feminist ideal of "patriarchy" because it explains very well the notion of "am I eating well/exercising because I want too or is it the pressures and distorted perception of beauty in modern society telling me that I must look good?".

303
02-16-2013, 08:30 PM
I've never really cared too much for myself. I don't consider myself good looking in the face department at all, but what can you do? I just get on with it. And it could be worse anyway. I work out a lot, and keep fit, and think my body is in pretty good shape, but I enjoy keeping fit and feeling healthy, its not just to get the ladies or whatever. I think when looking for girls, there is a little bit of shallowness involved so to speak, yes I like girls who have the right personality, that's a huge thing, but I need to be attracted to them as well for it to be, I guess a complete relationship, for lack of better term.

Crazy_Baby
02-16-2013, 09:15 PM
Well I know you're not foolish enough to think that your experience of a few women means it must be the same for everyone. Also I don't believe an extremely muscly male body is the only touted as the must have body for men, there are plenty of men in the entertainment and modelling industries for instance that are far from that 'ideal' and are generally considered sex symbols by many.