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World Association of International Studies

Post Female Beauty and Male Beauty
Created by John Eipper on 11/28/17 8:48 AM

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Female Beauty and Male Beauty (Istvan Simon, USA, 11/28/17 8:48 am)

I agree with what John Heelan said in his November 27 post, but only partially. Perhaps this post will not make me popular with feminists, but if so, so be it.

I highly value women in all capacities and I believe that I have never been guilty in my entire life of ever discriminating against women in any way. I value their intelligence just as I value the intelligence of any person, regardless of their gender. I never advocated superiority of men in any capacity. I am completely in favor of smashing through the so-called glass ceiling. And I absolutely abhor, even hate, all sexual predators, including the one who sits in the White House. For this latter, see this video, in which no less than 16 women came forward with their stories:


Just one more reason to immediately impeach Trump, who transformed the White House into a place of shame and a locale for criminal conspiracy.

One of my heroes of all time is Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman, a man of great integrity, and indeed an amazing teacher who transformed the teaching of Physics forever with his fantastic book Lectures in Physics.  About Feynman's honesty, not enough can be ever written. Indeed, no scientist can be a good scientist, let alone a truly great one like Feynman was, without honesty and integrity.

At one point in his career a man called Goldstein was harassing Feynman, sending him letters of "feminist" protest, accusing him of supposedly discouraging female physicists. I am fairly sure the charge was unfounded. In any case, Feynman in a by-now famous retort, sent the harasser a to the point one-line letter. It became a classic Feynman. He answered Goldstein with: "Dear Goldstein, Don't bug me, man. "

Anyway, it would appear from what I just wrote that I am in complete agreement with John Heelan. But alas I am not.

For having said the above, John said that he recognizes that "it is the quality of female brains that is far more important than the eye-candy packaging that comes with it." I disagree. On the contrary, the packaging is not only eye candy, and it is at least as important as the brains, if not more.

I ask anyone who would care to comment, what is the most important function of any human being, male or female? It is not what job we have, or the glass ceiling or the work we do, important as all those things may be. No, the most important function of human beings is becoming parents, for that is what preserves the species. And the "packaging" that John Heelan apparently disdains and thinks is unimportant is, on the contrary, most important in this most vital of human functions.

Males are wired to be attracted to beautiful females. This can be no coincidence nor I believe is only a cultural phenomenon. It must have been a result of hundreds of thousands of years of evolution, and it appears to be universal in all cultures, though the standards of what is considered beautiful have cultural components. One needs to look only to the way that such standards of beauty change over time. We have the rather plump women, by today's standards, that the French impressionists made world famous in their paintings. Or what about Da Vinci's Mona Lisa?

Though female beauty has always been the muse for great artists, male beauty is also well represented in art. Just consider, for instance, Michelangelo's David, his marvelous statue in Florence. And what about his truly moving and extraordinary Pieta'?

So I vehemently disagree with John Heelan. The "packaging" is most important for both males and females and appears to have been the result of the way our species evolved.

JE comments:  Nature/nurture--"beauty" is understood to be linked to one's ability to procreate and ensure the survival of the offspring.  Hence strong muscular men are considered better suited for defending the family from savage man and beast.  Yet culture has taken over, especially now.  How do we explain the present Western "ideal" of emaciated, twiggy females?

Istvan is correct that this post may generate backlash, so let's turn the tables.  Istvan was born in Hungary.  I have read that during the Habsburg period, Hungarian men were considered by Viennese women to be the most handsome and the best husband material.  Another question for Istvan, who grew up in Brazil:  the "Girl from Ipanema" notwithstanding, Brazilians seem to be more obsessed with male beauty than female beauty.  Go to the beach, and the men spend most of their time checking out other guys' physiques.  Am I off base?

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  • Beauty, Brains, and Human Survival (John Heelan, -UK 11/29/17 7:26 AM)
    Istvan Simon (28 November) rebutted my earlier comment, in which I opined, "it is the quality of female brains that is far more important than the eye-candy packaging that comes with it."

    Presumably Istvan and I disagree on the order of magnitude of importance of the packaging vs the brains. As Istvan points out, survival of the human race depends on the evolutionary hard-wiring of male-female attraction and its resulting fecundity. Istvan rightly says the level of that attraction changes with cultural ideals over time. He further comments that "Males are wired to be attracted to (beautiful) females." I suggest that the word "beautiful" is superfluous, as it ignores the necessary broadening of the gene pool by liaisons across the whole gamut of "beauty" necessary to ensure human survival.

    JE comments: Eye of the beholder? I'm still interested in exploring the notion of male beauty across time and cultures.  Istvan, what about Hungary and Brazil?

    And what about the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century portraits of men, which often accentuated their pot bellies?  Sculpted, six-pack abs were not the thing at that time.

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  • Socially Conditioned Misogynist Behavior (Helen Pitlick, USA 12/01/17 11:32 AM)

    Just wanted to share my opinion, as a younger woman (and a feminist) on this topic and some of the emails I've seen from the men on the WAIS Forum:

    What the f***!

    There is no question that many (not all) men are "wired" to be attracted to "beautiful" females. I, like many (but not all) women, am attracted to hot dudes. John Heelan's and Istvan Simon's statements may seem really innocuous, but they're damaging. It's the packaging of women as both brains and "eye-candy," and men debating this, that bugs me--women can never just be people, and our appearance is always part of the package (even if you graciously agree that brains are more important).

    As Phyllis Gardner wrote, sexism in the workplace isn't just "grab them by the pussy" and blatant discrimination--even today, it's also socially conditioned behaviors like interrupting, explaining things to someone that they already know, and presuming someone isn't as knowledgeable about something, something that studies show hold women back in their careers: https://hbr.org/2017/10/a-study-used-sensors-to-show-that-men-and-women-are-treated-differently-at-work .

    I work for a large tech company in the Seattle area, and just yesterday, a mid-30s white man in a meeting said something like, "perhaps I'm an idealist, but I just don't know how sexist behavior can happen without someone losing their job." The women in the room shared their (recent) experiences of outright sexism ("Oh you have this room reserved? I think my biceps have something to say about that!"). Leadership was aware of these behaviors, but the offenders weren't disciplined because they're "good at their jobs."

    I've had weeks where I'm mentally and physically exhausted from having my work and ideas questioned, my hobbies and musical tastes explained to me (poorly), being complimented when I do something basic right, etc. I have left online communities, stopped participating in activities I enjoy, and even drive to work most days instead of taking my van pool because of misogynist behavior. Some of you will say I'm being dramatic, weak, or playing the victim, but it's just so tiring. Women lose out on experiences, and men lose out on our knowledge and perspective.

    I used to think that sexism would die out with the older generation, but given the current political state, I don't think that's the case.

    Phyllis, thank you for blazing a trail for us! I can only imagine how tough it must be to watch your daughter facing issues you thought wouldn't be a problem by now.

    JE comments:  I fear I'm guilty of interrupting in the workplace--but I do so with men as well.  What's more, the "JE comments" is an institutionally sanctioned interruption.  Always have to get in the last word... 

    A question for Helen Pitlick:  do you see the present "reckoning" as (to paraphrase Churchill) the beginning of the end of the war to eradicate sexist behavior, or the merely the end of the beginning?

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    • Socially Conditioned Misogyny? (John Heelan, -UK 12/02/17 5:53 AM)
      With respect, Helen Pitlick (2 December) misunderstands me when she writes "John Heelan's and Istvan Simon's statements may seem really innocuous, but they're damaging. It's the packaging of women as both brains and 'eye-candy,' and men debating this." I took pains to emphasise the difference between brains ad eye-candy for that very reason. Or is it that "men debating this" in the male-dominated WAIS forum that bugs her? If so, I agree!

      Helen further commented that "women lose out on experiences, and men lose out on our knowledge and perspective. I used to think that sexism would die out with the older generation, but given the current political state, I don't think that's the case."

      I agree! The media and the White House persist in "eye-candy" marketing campaigns.  At the domestic level Helen can rest assured that surrounded, as I am, by two generations of bright female family members (with Honours degrees some 1st-class), I soon get slapped back into line if I inadvertently step into chauvinism!

      JE is right that WAIS needs far more female input to leaven the dough of elderly male opinions.

      JE comments: Helen Pitlick was critiquing the very fact that (some, not all) men should be discussing "brains vs looks" when it comes to women. Consider the absurdity of a WAIS thread, say, on the importance of looking beyond Stephen Hawking's physique to appreciate the "knowledge and perspectives" of his mind.

      Did I get that right, Helen?

      On the other hand, don't (some, not all) women also debate the merits of hunks vs cerebral, geeky dudes?  Or what about income?  There's something about Zuckerberg's $70 billion that makes him irresistibly hot.

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