(Not Just) A Pretty Face

I am notorious for my inability to take a compliment, and this piece probably explains the larger reason for that.

“Not just a pretty face”…not “good job”, not “well done”, not “keep it up, and I’ll be out of a job soon (in good jest of course)”, not even “wow, beautiful and smart” but “not just a pretty face”. Truth is, I’m not so pretty to begin with, but thanks for noticing me…I think.
I wonder, does flattery need to be shallow and slightly insulting even? Need it be ridden with clichés that permeate common civility, so much so that the purpose of fraternisation becomes questionable? What was ever the purpose of cordiality? Was it truly to mitigate human correspondence, or to keep up some façade of civility? Back to this piece though, women are referred to as the ‘fairer sex’, but when it overshadows the variety of potential that we house as a specific demographic, I doubt the phrase was ever sincere.

Not even in the aesthetic industry, are women unjudged. Not in management therein, in production, in direction, nor actually in performing arts. Irony aside, it is hypocrisy!
You find these beautiful women so distracting, so ‘woo-ing’, well fine…watch, but, yes, they’ll charge a pretty penny for it and, no, it does not make them available to you or any of your whims. And then, when you see what was made on the last album contract alone, you judge society for supporting ‘profanity’, ‘indecency’, ‘immorality’ etc..

These women are talented, and yes they can be titillating here and there, but a lot of their work, at least during early-career years, is geared towards capitalizing off of the entire spectrum of society ranging from perverts to connoisseurs. Why there’re still so many perverts? I don’t know, and I wish there weren’t, if only because, then, I’d only have to cover up from natural elements. Not that covering up ever hid a woman well enough from any kind of abuse, though. But what else do we do when we garner unwanted attention, especially when we are younger, still growing physically and therefore still adjusting into ourselves, more naïve to the world? We shy away and nurse in private, and with time, once we have ascended our platforms (should we ever), we can only endeavour to make our voices heard and environments more conducive for others like us. And yes, it is true for any under-represented demographic. However, taking into consideration that we form almost half of societies everywhere, gender-inequality both professionally and socially speaking is simply wasteful.

My real issue with it though, again, as redundant as this is pertaining to this piece alone, is the reduction of a woman to whatever you perceive literally at face value. Not only are the inferred women making a good living in entertainment, they often participate in society more constructively than most. They propagate the idea that hard work pays off. Vocal training is one thing, but learning even one dance routine, and getting it right in costume, on set, with background dancers can take days if not weeks. That, on top of the track and vocals, which when paired with the snipped cinematography, makes one music video on one album of one rendition of one song, which is usually up to 4 minutes long. In addition to that, they do give to charities and social programmes. Even if the latter is directed towards arts education or community centres, it is more than most of us ever think about. Having said that, most people do not see the arts as too much more than, again, an image propagated in a few minutes worth of entertainment by a chart topper. I know I’m almost going in circles myself here, but when does the judgement halt long enough to at least air the entire picture and story?! The least one can do, before propagating some simplistic over-arching character butchery of women in the arts especially, is inform themselves thoroughly first. But no, that’s too much effort that’s clearly better spent ripping someone to shreds verbally, because they had the audacity to market themselves so well that you couldn’t ignore them. Just in case I was being too subtle, I was in fact sarcastic in the previous sentence.

On a more general note, it’s amazing how much of language itself, even if it is just ‘something they say’, is actually gender-biased/degrading. And the truth is, that is how a lot of ideologies are either created or made common. Essentially, it’s the basis for a woman’s face value and unfortunately not specific to assessing fashion models.

Jackson Katz: Violence Against Women It’s a Men’s Issue

More popular common phrases:

“Rule of thumb”, which almost sounds like the right hand rule in electromagnetics. Yes, I was that oblivious to the ‘subtleties’ in language that were propagating and preserving archaic ideologies that truly do shape a woman’s world. The number of times I must’ve used that phrase in the kitchen alone…sounding so insightful about cooking when in reality I can barely boil an egg. The feeling is betrayal, when I see myself in an image so gorily stereotypical, that a woman be in the back, cooking with instructions and methods as common as a law specifying the limits of an instrument that a man may brutalize his wife with. P.S. not sure why exactly there was ever a denial of such a law, but bearing in mind how history dwindles into mythology and fiction, I’d take every precaution to look past such dismissiveness. As far as I know, there are in fact records of such legalities in legal literature.

“Grow a pair” or “man up” highlighting male genitalia as symbolic for courage…because only men are courageous? Let’s pair that with such giant architectural erections as the Eiffel Tower. Contrarily, a meek being is a “pussy”. Not sure I need to go as far as a “beaver” to really prove a point here. I mean what’s wrong with the word vagina for starters, and when did that become a sign of weakness? All things considered, it’s the woman who is truly bears the fruit of any loin in sexual kingdoms, and the pain of childbirth tips this particular scale for women, methinks. And yes, a ‘good man’ may just have to ‘break his back’ to keep up with the expenses due to either an unplanned pregnancy, or perhaps a recession. But, (and yes I did dare contradict the off-topic common critique) this is actually irrelevant to discussing the degradation of womanhood as portrayed by popular jargon. I will also admit that Dan Brown did swing it towards the more pleasing image of a precious metallic chalice, perhaps even studded with jewels and giant ancient archways, of a sanctity likened to the endorphin highs of an orgasm. Prior to that though, there was the ‘fur cup’, or for the lesser artistically savvy, the ever popular mouldy image of the ‘fur burger’. The natural aerodynamics of the phallus and the inferred athleticism of the ejected swimmers aside, I do often wonder why we were ever considered ‘fairer’, us chicks and mother-hens.

Common Slang Words for Vagina
Wikipedia: Fur Cup

Now let’s see if we can move past the more pleasing imagery of essentially motherhood, and encompass womanhood as a human life, of a being only inherently deviant physiologically from a man. How is it such a chore to accept that? That all we are is different biologically. And even then, there are more diseases that plague both genders than there are that are specific to either. That we actually have more in common than we ever seem to be conditioned into thinking. The problem is an imposed social stigma, and we can overcome it with reason. Can we truly not spare those few good minutes of sensibility, literally for our other halves?

Dustin Hoffmans Tearful Tootsie Interview About Women

A woman should not be subjected to stereotypes. She (or anyone really) shouldn’t have to ‘look the part’ especially when the common ideas of how certain professionals look, let alone what they actually are, are misconceptions rather than actual knowledge. She should be taken seriously as a professional regardless of what she’s wearing. A sexy cocktail dress (which could be as simple as figure flattering) – even at a work party, let alone after hours – does not make a woman any less of all the things she is. Her mind, her personality, her talents and intelligence, her philosophies, strength and motivation, she is a whole person before all else. What you see at face value, only your opinion as it may be, does affect her because your actions are guided by your misconceptions, as with others who adhere to them as well.  

A woman should be perceived as representative of a significant portion of raw talent in human resource everywhere. Yes, she may get ‘weaker’ during her pregnancy years. And yes, that may be less efficient during certain more exciting periods at any firm, but it is not the case that men do not fall ill and need times off too. And yes, there are women who epitomize stereotypes, which they have taken-on willingly whether or not it’s due to an overly Stepford-like early environment. But that freedom alone, to choose and build your own life is necessary and it should be kept personal. It should not be projected unto others, especially when they do not share many interests or even personality traits with whichever designated alpha. As a demographic, women are still marginalised. The statistic of even physical domestic abuse is still present, and while I am glad there is such a statistic, which means there is now some support for us, the threat is real and ever present. The social trauma is ever present, even as the world is beginning to accommodate us more inclusively in various rungs of working classes. And for those who are actually wondering what the problem is, since we are allowed an education and a vote these days, I will point to the obvious numerically validated patriarchy that we live in, as righteously as you deny even your own role in deprecating the feminine.

And before you even think of raising hormones as an issue, stop telling women what’s medically unconducive about us! There is only one kind of person that can do that, and you can find them in either gynaecology or psychiatry and if they’re not in either of those departments at your local medical facilities, they at least have an M.D. and will refer you to one. Having said that, there is really no good sense in any reason as to why there isn’t as many female doctors even in these particular specialisations.

Signed,
Not-so-pretty

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