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Thrust of argument: Heather Gray writes 'Women under these circumstances become commodities and exist under a form of slavery - bought and sold. It is far better that economic and educational opportunities for women be prioritized. In fact, it is now realized that the world is better, safer and less violent and abusive when women advance, when democracy prevails and when women lead in both business and government (Konner). Chris Hedges also makes reference to the economic issues relative to it all in his recent article 'Amnesty International: Protecting the 'Human Rights' Of Johns, Pimps And Human Traffickers' (Hedges). It appears the Amnesty International staff and members have much to learn'. Direction of resistance / implied resistance: I was walking along in the extreme heat and being single was not entirely unmoved when a very attractive woman suddenly appeared 100 yards ahead of me, going my way, in a short pink dress which revealed her legs. I didn't look on purpose, she was just in my line of vision. Realising that I risked being a pervert by letting my attention linger on this sight, I focused on what I was doing, which was crossing a road, and then when I reached the other side I heard a loud honking and some men cheering and making boorish noises. I looked up and they had just driven past her.

Surely society can put an end to this pathetic behaviour? And to imagine it can be done by those men alone is insane - the environment creating their ignorance has to change - ie the media and the general dehumanisation of women by society at large, as well as of men - ie hypermasculinity (what those men were displaying) is as created by environment as the objectification which reduces women in many people's eyes, including in many cases themselves, to body parts - less than human - a nice pair of legs, a nice bit of flesh, a nice pair (full stop) - that kind of simplistic animalistic perception.


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Removal of resistance: The following point, made earlier, is very relevant to how we solve this problem: The answer to sexism is gender neutrality, not more sexism.

Elisia Puvia writes:

"Even though over time Western beauty ideals have shown marked variability, from the slender and flat-breasted feminine ideals to the curvaceously thin beauty icons (Harrison, 2003), they always represent a non-realistic female body image. Nonetheless, this beauty ideal gets encouraged consistently by the media, and is taken by most women as a point of reference in their efforts to improve their bodies and their looks.

The extent to which a woman's appearance approximates the ideal beauty standard is generally taken as a criterion to assess her attractiveness. Remarkably, most research studying the impact of these standards of female beauty only focused on concerns that are related to weight and body shape, disregarding the arguably most important physical feature in defining beauty, that is, a person's face. The face is the first visible source of information in every day interpersonal encounters; moreover, enhancing facial attractiveness through the use of cosmetic products is a relatively easy goal for most women to attain. Makeup is one of the most popular tools used by women to enhance their facial attractiveness: There is a wide range of products advertised to enhance facial characteristics (e.g., foundation, blusher, powder, covering stick, mascara, eye shadow, eye-liner, lipstick, lip liner, lip gloss). Each of these products allow women to hide their imperfections, artificially enlarge the appearance of their eyes and lips, make their skin of an appropriate tone and texture, in other words make their face look younger, healthier and more attractive.

Between cultures and over time, beauty has always been considered an important value. Although there is a widespread agreement regarding the value of beauty per se, it is possible to introduce different hypotheses regarding its role and its social meaning and the specific contribution that makeup makes in shaping it.

According to evolutionary psychology (Fink & Neave, 2005), beauty standards are innate; although they may vary between cultures and over time, members of different ethnic groups share common standards to define attractiveness. These standards provide information about a woman's reproductive potential, better represented by waist-to-hip ratio. However, also features of the human face determine what is beautiful and reflect universal biological selection pressures that have shaped these standards. According to these theories, a smooth and hairless skin in women are the most universally desired features (because of their association with feminine hormones), slightly reddish skin (indicating good blood circulation) is considered attractive and healthy, as well as the luminance of certain facial features in particular of the eyes. A central feature in the lower face is a woman's lips: when they are full and well defined they give a sense of health and attractiveness. The most often used color for lipstick is likely red; it signals both good blood circulation and is linked with increased emotional arousal and sexual excitement (Morris, 2004). It is easy to note that each of these features can be enhanced by cosmetic products. From an evolutionary point of view, then, the beauty of a female face is biologically determined and the cosmetic industry taps into this by enhancing facial features making them resemble more closely to those qualities that are universally considered signals of beauty and attractiveness.

Another hypothesis starts from the premise that beauty is socially constructed. From this perspective "beauty is in the eye of the beholder", reflecting cultural conventions. In contrast to the evolutionary perspective, feminist scholars have offered a very different explanation for the motivation behind the cultural emphasis on beauty, and thus, the role of makeup in shaping it. They proposed that beauty standards and practices are vehicles for the oppression of women, sign women's inferior status and determine their differences from men. The processes through which beauty ideals oppress women are complex and multifaceted; in the literature this process is known as the BIO hypothesis an acronym for 'Beauty Ideals are Oppressive' (Forbes et al., 2007). The BIO hypothesis has important implications because it underlines the social meaning and function of beauty inquiring the social purpose it serves. Among others, one possibility is that western beauty demands, shift social awareness from women's competencies to superficial aspects of their appearance, undermine women's self- confidence, dissipate their time, and their emotional and economic resources. In line with this claim, recently Swami and colleagues (2010) have showed that media exposure predicted women's cosmetic use and men's perceived need for women to use it.

Within the feminist framework, Bartky in her influential work, "Femininity and Domination" (1990), provides an in deep analysis about the role and significance of makeup use and practices. As she notes one of the most popular and pervasive claims publicized by fashion magazines and ads is that "making up is an aesthetic activity in which a woman can express her individuality"(Bartky, 1990, pag.71). According to Bartky, there is a difference between painting the face and painting a picture, in the first case we are confronted with the same picture over and over again with the possibility to apply only minor variations. Moreover, a woman who decides to express her personality in a genuine, novel and imaginative way is liable to be seen, not as an artist, but as eccentric. Every woman knows that little is permitted in what is considered appropriate makeup at work, for a night out or for some special social occasion. Furthermore, application of makeup is for the most a task that needs effort, discipline and specialized knowledge regarding the correct use of application that a woman must learn in order to manage a wide variety of products. All these duties and abilities regard only women not men, who are not stigmatized if they decide to just follow the ordinary standards of hygiene.

Finally, there is a third way to consider the role of makeup and the significance that it serves. We have noted above that makeup is advertised as an art, but rather then the art to express our personal inclinations, the application of makeup very often is the art to hide a myriad of deficiencies. In other words, makeup may be considered the quintessential art to disguise. Robertson, Fieldman and Hussey (2008), have proposed that makeup might be used as a mask, able to manipulate facial features in order to present one's own positive image to others. They investigated how different personality traits could affect cosmetic use. The aim was to understand the psychological motivations behind cosmetics use. In a correlational study only female participants answered questionnaires regarding different personality traits and their cosmetic use. Results showed that the use of makeup was positively correlated with traits as self-presentation, conformity, self-awareness and introversion, and negatively correlated with social confidence, emotional stability, self-esteem and physical attractiveness. According to the authors, the former group of traits denotes a person's awareness of and interest in their physical presentation and the following desire to manipulate it according to an image that is less individual and more conformant to social preferences and expectations. Makeup, then, would be a de-personalizing mask that women can use to manipulate and promote their desired, public image."

I'm going to read and re-read that item a few times before I start expounding. Maybe you should try to do the same: ie read it, properly, repeatedly, understand what Puvia is saying, check the pdf below and read the whole thesis.

Elisia Puvia has provided other research I have cited also, which is very very interesting and also worth reading.

Problems relating to sexism are hard to fix without first detaching yourself from the sexualization, thus 'celebrity' feminists fail to do it 100%, as the media requires that they present themselves as sex objects of one form or other, soft or hard, direct or indirect. Never can they be celebrity and 'unfuckable'. That is part of the way the media works. Sex is a thing to be revered, the media feels. A sexual element must be ever-present. And so they fail outright to protect their brightest and best from becoming just more bricks in the wall free people need to knock down.
Unification: So the question really is about you, reader, regardless of your gender - and it boils down to this: if you are currently conditioned to follow the normalised approach - and you see women as vaginas and men as penises, you see them both as body parts and subordinate yourself to irrational beliefs, ie similar to those of animals in heat, how easy is it for you, after reading all this, to change? Well - it's not even remotely impossible, I'll tell you that much. The rest is up to you, though, and some words of Marcus Aurelius the roman emperor and 'philosopher' may help you: something on the lines of 'put from you the belief that you have been wronged and the sting will disappear too' - ie it's in your mind and created by a sense of victimhood.

The media and corporate tyrants want all of you - EVEN THE MOST POWERFUL TYRANT IN THE WORLD - all of you - even that tyrant, to feel you have been cheated out of something if you fail to have in your life nothing but gratification of one sort or other - and indeed any gratification you don't get - you consider to be something you've lost.

Aurelius was clearly wise enough to see through this - but of course he was in charge of a massive collapsing empire, so I guess he had a lot to learn from which most people don't have access to! Circumstance necessitated that he wise up.

Only after recognising this is it really more easily possible for many, women and men alike, to face up to the credible arguments put forward by people like Hedges and as follows by some group called "AF3IRM":

AF3IRM writes 'AF3IRM is therefore outraged that Amnesty International (AI), which was founded to strengthen human rights, now seeks to enshrine the business of prostitution as a 'right' - ignoring the human damage that the privilege of sexual access for the dominant, the powerful and the wealthy over the bodies of the oppressed, the vulnerable and the poor, has done to generations upon generations of women, children and marginalized genders'.

AF3IRM insists: 'Criminalize the business of prostitution; decriminalize the practice of prostitution.'

Advertising and media, from tv and films to 'news', driven by a corporate control system, has made many of you so childish that you feel very cheated any time you don't get what you want.

In nature you cannot always get what you want. Indeed you cannot even always get what you need. That doesn't mean you've been cheated. It's just nature, probability, fate, the universe. You have to live with it. But you don't have to let it make you feel shit or make you into a fool. It's just some shit which has happened. Let it happen - and don't cause it to turn you into something you shouldn't be. That means, also, don't pre-empt such 'lack' and respond by urgently being a controlled slave, permanently, a hyperconsumer, on a production line - ever obedient in order to be ever satiated.
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