"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Should Beauty Be Off Limits?

A Washington firm whose mission was ‘development’ – to manage contracts that would, in principle, improve the lot of the world’s poor - was a magnet for young women who found its mothering nature appealing; and its low-level intensity conducive to having the time for important social activities.

The young women in the company all dressed in a youthful, casual, and often sexy style.  Nothing meretricious or elegantly provocative in the style of Fifth Avenue – Washington is a very dowdy town – but a lot of low-cut blouses, sleeveless dresses, and short skirts.  Hair styles changed often – not as often as shoes or make-up, but enough to notice.  And men did indeed notice.

Why did women go to all that trouble?  Women took style and personal appearance in a very different way than men. Dress had more than just a social purpose, an emblem of class, breeding, social attitude, or politics.  It was an allure, an enticement, a notice of fertility and availability.  An article on the post-Feminist return of sexy women’s magazines noted that the covers of these magazines were no different from those on men’s magazines.

Image result for images men's magazines women on the cover

In other words, men want women who look like those pictured on Men’s Health and Vogue; and women want to look like both. The ‘How-to-get-a-man’ theme is back with a vengeance. Note the leader on the cover above – “The Lost Art of the Hand Job”.

So why does sexuality stop at the water cooler; and why must the American office have to become a sexless gulag? 

Most women today disingenuously claim that it is their right to wear whatever they want, and if men can’t deal with it, that is their problem. And yet at the same time they are very much aware that their dress and style is worn deliberately and expressly to attract men. In other words, they want it both ways.

There are a number of problematic issues concerning feminist attitudes. First, that men are supposed to completely ignore their sexual nature, attire, and allure – except in situations dictated by them.  Eyes off in the workplace.  Eyes off everywhere else.

Second that all men are sexual predators, uninhibited and hormone-fueled, and that any unwanted advance is a sign of this male predation.  The feminist position denies the natural, normal, and expected practice of male sexual interest in women.

Third is that women claim independence but demand protection from men, a sexual double standard. A woman should have the right to dress how she wishes, regardless of its effect on men; but is exonerated from any responsibility of so doing.

Lastly is the assumption that men are so ignorant that they cannot distinguish between a woman’s looks and her intellectual or professional performance.  The fact that Obama complimented a state attorney general on her looks and her superior legal abilities was a double tribute to her, not a ham-handed, un-PC Neanderthal male blunder. Hilary Clinton needs a new hairdo and was a successful Secretary of State. Silvio Berlusconi always looks great in his Armani suits, but he should leave politics for good.

The CEO of the company mentioned above sent an email to all staff saying, in very polite and respectful terms that all staff should act and dress in a professional manner and in so doing be a visible symbol of the firm’s premier status.  He didn’t give any measurements – how much cleavage was permissible or how many inches above the knee was appropriate - for this was unnecessary.  The young women in the office understood immediately.  As soon as they read the email, they realized that their dress was not just their personal choice, but that it was a powerful sexual statement.  Within weeks, they were all properly attired in more demure, conservative dress.

If women dress with style, grace, and sexual allure to attract or at least appeal to men, then they should expect attention and admiration.  Neither women nor men exist within a sexual vacuum and to assume so denies the potent sexual determinism which has characterized social interaction forever.

Women are right to object to unwanted sexual advances; but the assumption that they bear no responsibility for them is wrong.

American society may move out of this era of radical progressive feminism - a most unforgiving neo-Calvinism - and become more European, more sexually relaxed, more open to the validity of sexual allure and exchange; but the time is not yet.  In the meantime, sexual relations have become so politicized that there is little hope for any immediate softening of now well-established positions.

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