General chatter - Women being judged & criticized




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doingmybest
09-06-2013, 08:57 PM
Hi Everyone:

I am continuing this topic from another thread in Chicks in Control. I am not sure if I have posted this in the right place.

I just want to get feedback on how you think women are judged and criticized for their looks and not valued for the kind of person that is inside.

I went to an arts and crafts fair a few years ago and I was standing in a group of older women, many of whom, like me, were very overweight. Walking through the crowd were 3 teenage boys who were looking at the women up and down, laughing and saying "looks like we aren't going to find any hot girls here!" They quickly disappeared into the crowd. I am not surprised by the lack of respect, just very disappointed.

It seems that if a woman meets the cultural standard definition of young and attractive, she is a sex object. If she is older or does not meet some standard, she isn't worth much. I have seen both men and women judge women very harshly.

I had a female manager who used to tell me constantly how I could improve my looks (don't wear glasses, wear lighter colors, wear different types of clothes). I finally said to her: "what is this, Extreme Makeover? I am dressed appropriately for work so you don't need to be concerned beyond that. Besides, would you tell a male colleague the same thing?" She told me that I am too sensitive and to not be so defensive.

I am very interested in hearing everyone's opinion about this.

It took me a very long time to learn to not give a s*** when people make rude comments. I am wondering why society hasn't advanced beyond this pettiness?


MauiKai
09-06-2013, 09:00 PM
Probably because, like most animals, we're highly focused on breeding. I'm not saying that makes it right, the way they act, but I'm fairly certain it has something to do with it.

ChickieChicks
09-06-2013, 09:05 PM
It is crappy, all the way around.

As more time passes since losing the weight and focusing more on my appearance, etc, the more I feel like crawling into a hole to avoid the constant "eye f$&!ing", comments and awkward stares from men. Women are probably even worse, because they will look me up and down, decide I am a blonde idiot and not speak to me. When I speak to them, they cannot hide their shock that I am -GASP- a nice and normal person. Friendly, smart and engaging.

I spend a lot of time thinking about this, since I can't go one day without someone of either gender feeling welcome to comment on my body and/or general appearance. And as much as I hate it, I can only imagine that it is still worse on the other end of the spectrum.


doingmybest
09-06-2013, 09:34 PM
I am old enough to remember the late fifties and early sixties. I know those years were far from perfect, but I remember when teachers, nurses, parents etc. (men and women) were respected.

Beyond biology and looks, it would be nice if our society valued contribution and achievements, instead of what is superficial. I rarely hear about the positive contributions of teachers, nurses and parents in the media. Instead, I see videos of Miley Cyrus performing and Kate Middleton's latest fashions.

vintagecat
09-06-2013, 10:05 PM
It stinks and has been one of the multiple reasons I got fat in the first place. Predatory males.

As a fat (and now older) woman, being just fat enough was a cloak of invisibility. I only recall one instance in the many years where I felt laughed at and of course it was a teenage boy but I gave him the "eye" and he quickly had something else to look at. Normally people are pretty polite, or I'm not there, either stance I can live with.

I'm concerned about attentive behavior. Like chickie, I have way more trouble handling that. I've always been curvy. I had all sorts of inappropriate men (gross carnies, old men, married guys with their kids in tow) from 14 on give those looks, or worse try to pat my bottom or some such thing. I was mortified and didn't know how to handle it. I had married guys (more than one and a couple of really nice guys) show up at my house in the middle of the night with a few too many drinks on board and I'd have to use the skill of a diplomat to avoid a grudge or bad feelings later. It freaked me out.

I suppose now I'm much more experienced, married, older, and retired so maybe it won't be nearly as bad as it was before. That is my hope. Still either way it stinks. I've heard some down right ugly comments about women's looks from guys who aren't prizes themselves. I try to stay away from those people. They reveal themselves and their inner ugliness soon enough.

IanG
09-06-2013, 10:14 PM
It's the same for fat men too.

doingmybest
09-06-2013, 10:23 PM
Hi Ian:

I'm very sorry to hear that.

Wannabeskinny
09-07-2013, 08:17 AM
This topic gets my blood boiling. And it's not just about men judging women harshly, it's about women judging women harshly. A couple of years ago I watched a documentary that completely shaped my view of this, called MissRepresentation. It's about how the media portrays women but it's ridiculous to know that we are all part of that!! I strongly urge all women to watch this film. Since I watched it I realized that I too was judging other women harsher than I judge men. It's been a real challenge for me to change that behavior and it's something I have to think about daily. These are the following measures I take.

1. When I see a news reporter, politician, or other professional woman on television I tell myself that if she were a man I would not even think twice about what he was wearing or what his hair looked like or how many wrinkles he has. So even if I notice these things I steer my mind to think about how accomplished she is and focus on what she's talking about rather than what she looks like. Think about it, the president can wear the same suit for days in a row and nobody would even notice. If his wife did that she would be all over the tabloids! When Monica Lewinsky did an interview with Barbara Walters over a decade ago Walters afterwards said that the number one question she received from viewers was "what color lipstick was Monica wearing?" When Obama and McKain duked it out it was a "political battle." When Hilary Clinton and Sarah Palin argued about a topic it was a "cat fight." There is no end to how we scrutinize women on television.

2. When I meet a little girl, young or teenage I make sure to speak to her about the things that interest her. I avoid telling her how cute she looks or how pretty she is. If you think about it it's usually the first thing we comment on with girls and that's programming her to believe that the first and foremost thing she should strive for is her appearance.

3. I avoid buying high end brands like chanel, prada or whatever. I do love shopping and dressing up and I understand that quality matters, but what I don't like is supporting an industry that believes it's important to promote its clothes with models that are size 2. I'm still angry that Karl Lagerfeld made a nasty remark about Adele's weight. I love Project Runway but I get pissed off everytime there is a "real woman" challenge or an "older woman" challenge and the younger designers have no clue how to make clothes for anyone other than a mannequin.

I could go on but I'll stop there for now before I get started on rap videos.

sontaikle
09-07-2013, 08:35 AM
2. When I meet a little girl, young or teenage I make sure to speak to her about the things that interest her. I avoid telling her how cute she looks or how pretty she is. If you think about it it's usually the first thing we comment on with girls and that's programming her to believe that the first and foremost thing she should strive for is her appearance.



This is wonderful, it's important to get them understanding the value of WHO they are when they're young.

It's also what has drawn me to a guy I had a date with a couple of days ago and we've been talking a lot. He wasn't like the other guys who immediately commented on my appearance. He first said he liked my personality, liked talking to me, liked my view on life and how we had common interests. As the date was coming to a close, THEN he told me I was pretty, etc. It came at the very end though and while I do enjoy being told I'm beautiful, pretty, etc. it was refreshing to be with someone who saw me first and my appearance second.

I even told him about my massive weight loss (and I don't really consider that first date stuff!) and he thought it was really cool :x

While it's been nice to hear how much my appearance is appreciated, I always wonder what will happen when my looks fade. Yes, I'm pretty NOW, in my 20s, but I won't look the same when I'm in my 80s.

I guess I can't really blame these guys for commenting on my appearance right off the bat; it's something they've been trained to do growing up in our society.

Vex
09-09-2013, 11:29 PM
It's the way the world is. Someone is always judging something about someone else.

You can change those things in which people commonly judge (ie weight, appearance, whatever), but it's not going to stop from someone finding SOMETHING to judge about you.

If it's in the workplace and your being harassed you can do something about it. Otherwise, I really think we all just need to lump it and move on.

Wannabeskinny
09-10-2013, 07:00 AM
It's the way the world is. Someone is always judging something about someone else.

You can change those things in which people commonly judge (ie weight, appearance, whatever), but it's not going to stop from someone finding SOMETHING to judge about you.

If it's in the workplace and your being harassed you can do something about it. Otherwise, I really think we all just need to lump it and move on.

Nope. Judgement exists, but when it goes too far it starts to affect your job, your earnings, and your civil rights. If everyone just lumped it and moved on we wouldn't have discrimination laws in place to protect the elderly, the handicapped, minorities, workers' rights and so on. It all starts with judging someone and making it vocal. Women are being exploited in the media, and their appearance is held sacred above anything else.

Just last week I was watching an episode of the real housewives of Miami in which Joanna (supermodel) and her fiance (entrepreneur), went to watch a tennis match. Joanna, who is a supermodel! was getting all jealous that her fiance who was sitting next to her enjoyed the match and accused him of staring at Anna Sharipova's butt. Here we have a gorgeous woman, insecure and afraid of another gorgeous woman who's not even within his reach. And they're looking at an athlete who has worked her entire life to achieve success at the sport and they've reduced her down to being nothing more than eye candy. What's wrong with this picture?

doingmybest
09-11-2013, 01:53 AM
I agree, Wannabeskinny. When the suffragettes (spelling?) and the feminists in the 60s, 70s and beyond worked so hard for women's rights, I don't think that today 's culture is what they were striving for. I become very concerned about the future and what young girls and boys are learning from pop culture.

mariposssa
09-11-2013, 02:23 AM
But, there are no anti-discrimination laws that protect your appearance. Racism, sexism, and against age and homosexuality. But, if you are fat and ugly what rights protect you against shallow coworkers and bosses??

Rhiko
09-11-2013, 06:36 AM
The truth is, from what I have learned over the years, it's the media that decides societal points of view on this. On television shows, it's always the thin, attractive people that are cast as the main characters and typically the 'others' are either seen as stupid or useless.

I remember back when I was at high school and my class was waiting for the teacher so we could get inside the classroom. One of the boys, skinny, relatively good-looking and popular, was sitting on the railing and said, 'I wish there were schools for fat people and schools for skinny people so that I wouldn't have to look at them all the time'. I wanted to push that ***er off the railing, but I was much too self-conscious and I was so shocked.

Anyway, my point is that from an early age we, as a society, are brainwashed into thinking that being overweight and not 'attractive' means you are less of a person. Just look at all the actors and famous people who think they have to have plastic surgery. Most of them are already attractive and, in my opinion, make themselves look worse by going under the knife.
One of the reasons that has driven me to lose weight is because I want to be accepted by everyone and for people to stop thinking that I'm unintelligent.

Wannabeskinny
09-11-2013, 07:59 AM
...
One of the reasons that has driven me to lose weight is because I want to be accepted by everyone and for people to stop thinking that I'm unintelligent.

I fully agree with your post. Media does decide what's what in terms of beauty. But I'm torn, living I'm living in a skinny world, I want to be skinny, I want to be beautiful, I want to fit in but at the same time I want to be respected for who I am now, I don't want my appearance to be a factor in whether or not I get a job, or whether or not someone wants to be my friend.

There are discrimination laws, your appearance should not matter to those who are hiring you. But it absolutely matters, we all know that. Television networks would never hire a woman who's ugly to anchor the news or to host a television show. I really don't know how they are allowed to get away with it legally.

mariposssa
09-11-2013, 08:30 AM
I fully agree with your post. Media does decide what's what in terms of beauty. But I'm torn, living I'm living in a skinny world, I want to be skinny, I want to be beautiful, I want to fit in but at the same time I want to be respected for who I am now, I don't want my appearance to be a factor in whether or not I get a job, or whether or not someone wants to be my friend.

There are discrimination laws, your appearance should not matter to those who are hiring you. But it absolutely matters, we all know that. Television networks would never hire a woman who's ugly to anchor the news or to host a television show. I really don't know how they are allowed to get away with it legally.

They are allowed to get away with it legally because it isn't illegal. The discrimination laws apply to race, religion, age, gender, and homosexuality. Those are specified...appearance weight etc are not.

BettyBooty
09-11-2013, 11:56 AM
Honestly, I do think sometimes "bad thoughts" sometimes about people based on their appearance (weight, clothes, makeup, hair), but I am not stupid enough or rude enough to blurt them out.

But I have noticed that a lot of fat people carry themselves in a way that telegraphs their shame at their size. I am not proud of my current weight - heck, it makes me cry sometimes at home - but it doesn't stop me from wearing well-fitting, age-appropriate clothes, fixing my hair, dabbing on a bit of makeup, etc. I firmly believe that if I take pride in my appearance, I feel better about myself, and if I feel better abuot myself, I don't project insecurities that others can pick up on and exploit to my disadvantage.