Generally I don’t comment on trends in the fashion industry, but I thought I’d make a brief exception to that rule. I read an article that claims many fashion models, in an effort to stay rail thin, actually eat tissues. Personally I’ve always been a barbecued Kleenex kind of guy but, of course, who doesn’t love a good old fashioned dish of homemade boiled toilet paper?
Anyway, I read a few of the comments under the article, and I’ve seen some of the analysis of this infamous anorexic model phenomenon, and it always surprises me to see so many people blaming the problem on “unrealistic expectations from a male dominated society”. I don’t know where this idea originated, or why it’s still so popular, but let me be the latest in a long line of men to say, respectfully, WE DON’T FIND BONY AND UNDERNOURISHED WOMEN TO BE AT ALL ATTRACTIVE. STOP IT. In my life I’ve never actually met a dude who likes women primarily for their skeletal structures. I’ve never heard a guy say “Man, did you see that lady? She looked like she’d been wandering in a desert for 14 years, she was so beautiful!” Even the most superficial man is not likely to become overly enamored with a woman’s rib cage or protruding vertebral column. Grown men are attracted to females who look, first, like human beings and, second, like grown women. We don’t want women to be emaciated and frail. We don’t want to be afraid to hug them because we’re worried we’ll shatter them into pieces like a fluorescent light bulb. I’ll be the first to blame men for a lot of problems in society, but anorexia ain’t one of them. When I’m standing in line at the grocery store and I see the girls on the covers of the fashion magazines, I am filled only with the urge to give them all an IV and a blanket.
In fact, who actually reads these fashion magazines? Who really cares what celebrities look like? Who is most likely to pass negative judgments on a woman’s physical appearance? Who is imposing these harsh and unreasonable expectations on females? Well, to answer all four questions: Women, women, women, and, yep, women. Look, I call my fellow men to the carpet quite a bit. I lay the blame on us guys for many cultural issues – from a lack of chivalry to the tragedy of fatherless homes, but, ladies, you have to step up and claim this one. You’ve got your own collective problems, and judgmental superficiality is definitely one of them. Unrealistic expectations are another one. And by that I mean unrealistic expectations of both yourself and men. That’s the main reason why I hate all those damned romantic comedies and Nicholas Sparks movies. They give impressionable teenage girls the fantastical and impossible idea that one day they’ll meet a rugged, charming, handsome, mysterious, funny, romantic, poetic, buff, athletic, blue collar yet financially secure male model with calloused hands, a tortured soul, and an acoustic guitar, who will fight for her affections against a rich and witty, yet snobbish and emotionally distant, New York attorney. That scenario has never played out — even once — in the history of mankind. Yet it’s one of the most common plots in Hollywood. These girls shouldn’t be searching for Ryan Gosling, they should be looking for a hard working, loyal, spiritually founded, honest guy who will love them, protect them, rub their feet after a long day and take out the garbage without being asked. You’ll have a hard enough time finding that dude, but at least he exists. That doesn’t mean you lower the bar, it just means you shift the bar over from the enchanted forest in fairy tale land to the mean streets of reality-ville.
And if you stop looking for a movie character mate, you can then stop trying to look like a movie character yourself. Men don’t need that. We aren’t looking for that. A guy, as soon as he grows some hair on his chest, gets a job, moves out of the house, and matures emotionally, wants a woman with a personality, with a brain, with a sense of humor, not with one percent body fat. Believe me, I’m happy that my wife happens to be physically beautiful but I’m happier that she’s smart and honest and, while I’m getting angry at the news and at people who leave their shopping carts in the middle of the parking lot, she’s walking around with a smile on her face most of the time, because she’s got more positive energy than any person I’ve ever met in my life. If men really ran the world there wouldn’t be a fashion industry and, most likely, Maybelline and Cover Girl would need a government bailout to stay in business. We really do love you for who you are and we really do want you to order the steak instead of the salad and we really don’t need you to layer on the makeup or wear uncomfortable shoes.
So, do these things if you feel the need, but don’t do them for our sake.