Sunday, April 26, 2009

Why men don't get it (but women don't help matters). A photo essay in five parts.

NOTE: I make no pretense of objectivity here. Every single word in this post reflects my subjective feelings on beauty, and should be evaluated as such. I am speaking of beauty as I see it. (Like I have any choice?) Then again, I think I see it pretty clearly.

I place in evidence one Erin Andrews and the associated male drooling over same. That's a photo of Erin being worshiped
actually, being lickedat left.

You will often hear that Ms. Andrews, ESPN sideline reporter extraordinaire, is "hot," "sexy," "gorgeous," a "knockout," etc., ad nauseam. In 2007 and 2008, she was TV's "sexiest sportscaster," in the considered judgment of Playboy.
In reality, Ms. Andrews is none of those things. Facially, if I'm going to be honest, she looks like a man; check out that jawline and especially her neck, which would not be out of place on one of the linebackers from the many NFL games she has covered. (The photo a bit farther down in this post is the same as the one above except judiciously cropped; tell me that doesn't look like a guy in drag.) Also, focus in, now, on Erin's schnozz; you won't have to focus very hard. There are distant uncles in my family, from villages in the old country with a reputation for producing Roman noses of legendary dimensions, who, if given the opportunity to trade with Erin Andrews, would say, "Fuggetaboutit. I'll stick with what I've got, thank you very much." Meanwhile, if her smile were any wider/toothier, she'd get the Julia Roberts Memorial Trophy for Flashing a Grin That Would Look More Appropriate on a Thoroughbred.

Let's put it this way: The girl is no Kate Beckinsale.

Then why do men respond to Erin Andrews the way they manifestly do? I now place in evidence the photo at right. Men drool over her because she makes a habit of walking aroun
d on the sidelines dressed in skin-tight clothes, showing off every nook and cranny of her body, which—I'll give her this—looks decidedly unlike a man's.

But ownership of a decent body that you're willing to show off does not make you "beautiful," "gorgeous," "a knockout," or even, I'd argue, "hot." By that standard, any woman who's in halfway decent shape can become instantly gorgeous merely by strutting around in a leotard. And once again I say, if it's attainable to the massesif everyone, or almost everyone, can achieve the same effect with just a simple tweak (in this case, by pulling on pants that look like they might've been applied with a piece of equipment you bought in the paint department at Sears)then it shouldn't be described in superlatives. Words like "sexy" and especially "beautiful" should be reserved for women who inspire those accolades even in loose flannel bathrobes...before putting on make-up. A truly beautiful woman wakes up that way. She does not need to be lacquered, touched up, or specially outfitted for the job.

Though I know it sounds like it, my intent is not to demean Ms. Andrews. I think any seeming mean-spiritedness here is justified by "the greater good."
There's a point to be made, and it's this: We males have this incredible and probably hard-wired* tendency to confuse "God, I'd really love to do her" with "God, she's really gorgeous." (We also confuse "God, I'd really love to do her" with "God, I really love her," which is a whole 'nother story.) And the reason this matters and deserves comment is the effect it has on girls who try to stand for somethinglike modesty, grace or (to use a term that sounds antiquated indeed) being "ladylike." The concern I raise here isn't just apocryphal/hypothetical. I've heard the complaint any number of times from women of all ages; students of mine have written bitterly about the phenomenon in essays. These women feel tremendous pressure to cave in, to tart themselves up and "dress like sluts"I'm quoting the women themselves nowin order to compete. Maybe they don't really want "that kind of attention" from men, but they want some kind of attention from men, and like all of us, they crave validation. They get tired of watching blah-looking girls get all the guys simply by running around in get-ups that make it look like they're starring in Donn Arden's Jubilee! and just didn't have time to change after class or their day jobs.

What's more, a
t the risk of touching off a chorus of SHAMbloggian groans (and having readers tell me I'm really stretching whatever tenuous point I had in the first place), I do not think this is altogether unrelated to the other day's discussion of teen pregnancy. If we get our notions of beauty from the images we see on TV and in the ambient cultureif we allow the likes of Erin Andrews** to decide the ground rules by which the game is playedthen who can blame young girls for "putting it all out there"? And who can deny the sexually charged atmosphere that results?

* no pun intended.
** I blame the likes of Andrews more than I blame the likes of Britney or Paris; they're pure entertainers (generously speaking), and are expected to be somewhat outre in dress and habits. Andrews, at least in theory, is a serious person doing a serious job (even though we know that part of her job is to be eye candy). Still, it's one thing for Madonna to wear her bra on the outside. But when stockbrokers start doing it...?

87 comments:

RockitQueen said...

Steve, you must be zoning in on my brain waves because I've been thinking about this topic myself and working on a blog post about it. It was touched off by all the Susan Boyle hype and how people are acting as if 1.) she's the ugliest person that ever walked the face of the earth, and 2.) how amazing it is that someone who looks like that can have talent.

I have a lot of personal opinions and struggles with this issue, as all women do. People always say it's what's on the inside that counts, but the outside counts just as much, if not more. The people in the Britain's Got Talent audience snickered when Susan walked out on stage and wanted her to fail. All because of how she looked.

As a college student, I had my sights set on being a sports journalist for the NBA. But then I realized that the women who were reporting from the sidelines were all former models (with the exception of Cheryl Miller) and it hit me that it didn't matter that I knew all the stats and coaches and players and genuinely enjoyed the game. If you don't look good on camera, you ain't gonna make it in this business.

Sorry this isn't entirely on topic...the bottom line is you're right.

Anonymous said...

Steve, I admit I belong to the "Erin is hot" fraternity but I also have to admit when I look at the cropped photo, you're right. She kind of reminds me of Troy Aikman.

Steve Salerno said...

RQ: You're not off-topic at all. The phenomenon you point up is directly related to the sorts of "perceptions" I'm speaking of in the post.

Anon 11:12: I don't think I've ever used "LOL" on the blog or in a comment, but...LOL. In fact, your comment has inspired me to do something unprecedented: to put a subordinate post underneath the original post with a pictorial comparison of Andrews and Aikman. We'll see what others think.

RockitQueen said...

My god, she does look like Aikman!! Hilarious!

Steve Salerno said...

RQ: I'm tellin' ya. Anon nailed it. Put some raspberry lip gloss on the dude, and maybe a touch of mascara, and you'd have a seriously Rudy Giuliani situation.

Steve Salerno said...

Come to think of it--has anyone ever seen Erin Andrews and Troy Aikman in the same place at the same time? Is it possible that...?

Elizabeth said...

Very entertaining, Steve. Don't have time now to delve into more personal reflections on the subject, but please see Yes, Looks Do Matter from today's NYT. (RQ, you should read it too, if you haven't already.)

P.S. WV: hooplas...

Anonymous said...

Erin Andrews is not a goddess.

Sean Hannity is not a deep thinker.

Taylor Swift can't sing.

What's next Steve - are you going to say that Madonna can't act? Pro wrestling is staged?

You are really going out on a limb these days.

I think women dress like Erin Andrews to annoy other women. As a man, I don't mind it one bit. But the underage suburban prostitots with "Juicy" emblazoned across their rear ends - they really annoy me. I'm all for flogging their parents.

Steve Salerno said...

Anon 8:27: Testy, aren't we?

Anyhoo, I remember writing about the Juicy Couture phenomenon right here on SHAMblog. Specifically, I wrote about the time I saw a youngish girl walking with her majorly-dolled-up Mom, and not only was the girl wearing jeans with the word "Juicy" on the butt, but someone had hand-stitched an ARROW pointing from the logo into the crease between the girl's buttocks, no less.

Let the flogging begin...

Anonymous said...

What a fine healthy young lady, pity she wastse her time on people throwing balls around.

Steve Salerno said...

You know, the more I think about this, the more I think I might've missed the larger point of my own post. That point was made by RockitQueen, who reminds us once again what women face when they attempt to be taken seriously in media jobs (as well as many other realms) where it all comes down, in the end, to packaging. The fact that men mistake "hotness" for beauty, or even that they mistake chemistry for love, is one thing, and certainly worth discussing. But the fact that women, still today, must worry about how their talents match up with their physical appearances (as RQ illustrates with the Susan Boyle case) is, and should be, a subject of deep concern for American society.

When I was first entering the job market, back in the early 70s, many employment ads aimed at women used to make bold-faced headlines out of the phrase "FRONT-OFFICE APPEARANCE REQUIRED," which of course was not very veiled code for "IF YOU AREN'T PRETTY AND SLIM, DON'T EVEN BOTHER APPLYING FOR THIS JOB." Though such discriminatory phrases now seem almost tragicomically antiquated and un-PC (if not legally actionable), it seems clear that the mentality behind them hasn't really gone away. It has just gone underground.

And yes, Anon 8:27, I know: I'm belaboring the obvious. Too bad; I don't think the obvious can be belabored too much in this case. It's bad enough that a woman must fix herself up like a call girl in order to get a date. She shouldn't have to do that to establish, or advance in, a career.

Case said...

For all they hype about appearance and having the right look to get ahead, in my experience, I find substance, personality, and integrity matter much more. I find that beauty, as culturally defined, may bring people in for a first impression, but substance, competence, and reliability, among many other qualities, builds lasting relationships rather than social transactions.

Steve Salerno said...

Case: Those are noble and worthy sentiments, but let's face it...that good "first impression" opens an awful lot of doors to people who may not truly deserve to walk through.

Anonymous said...

Steve -
Believe me when I tell you that most women I know have long come to terms with this kind of behavior / treatment. We have also decided - like you - that in many cases, this is hard-wired and unchangeable behavior for a lot of men. Doesn't mean we like it - it just is.

When you are a woman who is not conventionally pretty, you develop something else as you make your way into the working world - you become funny, or killer smart or tremendously gifted at one thing or another. Maybe you just work like a sled dog so you become "the one who gets things done." That way, you'll stand out in a world that equates pretty with valuable.

In another life, I worked with a group of men - I was one of three women on a staff of 15 or so. One of the women was considerably younger than I and the other woman on the team. She was also adorable with a perfect figure.

I knew I was doomed when "the boss" told me one day that she was the most valuable member of the entire team. I'm not kidding. She also happened to be the least senior member with the least experirence and the least fiscal (revenue-generating) responsibility. I still don't know how he looked me in the eye and got away with it but he did.

Years later, she left her husband after having an affair with a client but that's another story.

Steve Salerno said...

Stories like this (Anon 1:13), while anecdotal, are depressing nonetheless. It astonishes me how many men will look at a hot girl and automatically see "smart," "funny," "hard-working," etc.--attributes that often aren't there. And you can't tell me that other women don't see this (as Anon does) and resent it when it happens. I say this even as someone whose own daughter, who is very pretty and shapely, has benefited from the phenomenon.

Anonymous said...

Steve - it's me again - actually, it's Renee but I can't seem to sign in with my name.

First - you need to stop being astonished by this. It's like being astonished that a room with walls painted black feels dark.

And if you found it depressing to read that story, imagine living it. Thank God I could go home and vent to my husband who was in the unique position of not only understanding the prevailing male point of view, he also believed I was perfectly wonderful in every way.

Steve Salerno said...

Ren-onymous (as well as other Anons who've commented on my apparent naivete): It isn't that I'm astonished that this exists. I know very well that it exists. As I say, for 30-something years I have watched my daughter benefit from it (and yet, at the same time, suffer for it, in an ironic way). I think I'm also fairly well versed in the rhythms of the (cruel, cruel?) world. So again, it's not that I'm shocked that this happens; it's more that I'm shocked that it could happen, and could continue to happen, generation after generation. And I don't understand why men lack basic self-awareness in this department. In other words, I don't understand why they don't spend more time questioning their own judgment, and wondering if they're making the right decisions for the right reasons, where they're in a position to evaluate/hire--or even marry--a given woman.

But in fairness, women--in my experience--often do the same thing in reverse. They see a pretty and/or showy woman who's doing well and they assume she "slept her way to the top." At the very least, they can't pass up the opportunity to make some snide (catty) comment about her.

(Some sample comments:

"My God, doesn't she eat?"

"Will you look at those perky breasts! I bet she had work done."

"That skirt is way too short for a woman her age. Who does she think she is?"

"Oh, will you get a load of this one! And I bet she's dumb as a box of rocks.")

So in a sense, this cuts both ways. And that's what I mean when I say that I've seen my daughter suffer for it, too.

roger o'keefe said...

I'm not trying to be purposely provocative here, I'm asking an honest question.

What's wrong with placing a high value on looks?

I don't understand why so many people assume an attractive appearance is automatically a lower order of attribute than any other God-given quality. Some of us are smart, some of us are pretty, some of us are handsome, some of us are hard workers. Some very lucky people are all of the above. Why is one better than the other? We use the tools we've got.

I especially don't understand this from you Steve, since you tell us all the time that it's all predetermined anyway.

Steve Salerno said...

Roger: Some of us are "all of the above," when "all of the above" includes both pretty and handsome? Interesting. But yeah, I know what you meant.

Though I'm pressed for time, I'd love to hear what others say.

a disgusted reader said...

Steve, you always find a way of turning it back around on women! Can't you give us this ONE point, this ONE time, without making it sound like it's our fault after all?

Steve Salerno said...

To paraphrase Michael Corleone in The Godfather: "Who's being naive, Disgusted?"

Anonymous said...

If men acted in all the ways you outlined [questioning their own judgment, and wondering if they're making the right decisions for the right reasons, where they're in a position to evaluate/hire--or even marry], they’d be called women.

For me, the difference between the ways men and women react to attractive women comes down to this: men don’t change their minds or perspective, even when some substance or ability becomes evident beneath the surface.

Yes, men will view the accomplishments of an attractive woman as a plus but ultimately irrelevant. She’s accomplished more than enough by being pretty and in his line of sight every day in the office. Caveat: this attitude changes dramatically when her actual ability can help make him look good. See Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinnie.

Women can and do change their “first impressions” should the circumstances warrant it. If a woman happens to be gorgeous and accomplished, women around her will acknowledge that and value it. And yes, still hate her thin thighs – but in a kinder, Reece-Witherspoon-in-Legally-Blonde kind of way.

And you’re right. Apparently everything I know I’ve learned from The New Classics on TBS. I’m very proud.

Case said...

This is a very sensitive topic and I'm surprised so many comments assume beauty discrimination takes place all the time. This is just not true. For the vast majority of business roles, a very strict code of equal opportunity hiring practices is followed as many businesses work hard to create and maintain a culture of fairness and meritocracy.

Steve Salerno said...

Anon 4:21: Well, at least your arguments aren't pompous or condescending or anything like that.

RockitQueen said...

Case, no offense, but "business ethics" codes are total load of BS. If that stuff worked, women would be getting equal pay for equal work...something that is STILL not happening in the 21st century.

Also, you're a guy...trust me, beauty discrimination is an everyday reality for women. Certainly, men experience it to an extent as well, but for women it often has a blatant effect on our livelihoods.

mike m said...

She does have a hell of a body. Not fat, not too skinny, just the right amount of meat, properly placed. And, and, and, she likes sports. No fighting over whether to watch the hockey game, or dancing with the farts. I think with some guys, that has more weight than the face or the body. Who cares if she does looks a little like Troy Aikman. It worked for Darryl Hannah. (Didn't she date JFK jr for a while? Mommy didn't like her.) Are you suggesting that male attraction to these types of facial features reflects some sort of homosexual tendency? Or, just one of the guys that you can have sex with and not be ashamed. Isn't that why usually straight guys scour the TV/TS personals? Maybe not.

Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes down to the bone? Actually, physical beauty only goes so far. It becomes boring after a while. Where's the next one? As far as the business world - any employer that would choose beauty over ability, won't be an employer for very long, except if he's the manager of a Hooters.

And the Troy Aikman thing? I have a gay friend, who lives in Dallas that swears Troy is... But he's married now, right? So is Lou Reed.

(What's worse? Admitting I have a friend that's gay, or a friend that lives in Texas? I think that answer would fall along party lines.)

Steve Salerno said...

Mike: I don't know that I've ever received a comment that was politically incorrect on so many levels. Is that a bad thing? I'll leave it to others to decide.

RevRon's Rants said...

Mike, there's an old "joke" that most guys' ideal woman would be a man with breasts & a vagina. It's more comfortable for many guys to "hang" with other guys, even though there's no sexual aspect to the attraction (and they'd be very quick and insistent in their addition of that qualifier). Perhaps that explains some males' attraction to transsexuals.

I, for one, have met the straw man "Texans," and acknowledge that they do exist, as do the stereotypical gay guys. Thankfully, I feel compelled neither to distance myself from nor qualify my associations with either. Was even able to watch the two morph together in "Brokeback Mountain" without feeling queasy. Caricatures don't really affect one's life unless one chooses to allow them to.

As to the admonition about first impressions, television "personalities" are little more than a never-ending first impression. We tend to fill in the blanks about them, based more upon our own perspective than the celebrities' actual persona. Some might appear astute, when they've simply been well coached. Others might appear shallow, simply because that's all they (or their producers) want us to see. Expecting them to be more is, IMHO, unrealistic.

Even the ones who seem wise to us are usually "wise" because they parrot our own perspective, or explain things in a way that doesn't threaten that perspective. They could, for all we know, be dumber than a box of rocks, but if we like looking at them and/or hearing what they have to say, our opinion of them will be favorable.

That said, I get a kick out of one of our local TV stations when they try to portray their "eye candy" anchors as hard-charging journalists. They sit there and read the news of their teleprompter, for chrissakes! But they do it with such good inflection, such obvious compassion, such low-cut blouses (the women, anyway), and such perfect hair (both men & women). While I'd rather look at them than at Paul Kangas (You know... "Chuckles the Business Analyst"), their presentations are far less memorable than Kangas' scowl, not to mention his description of events in the business world.

VW =cinical (ya think?)
Second VW = snerslit (not gonna touch that one... er... never mind!)

mike m said...

Thank you. And thanks for posting it. Personally, I think political correctness is just as bad as what I call patriotic correctness. You know, the flag suckers as Hunter S. so eloquently refers to them (forgot - past tense).

Anonymous said...

If you want a textbook lesson in what's wrong with men, look at the comments from men in response here. Look at the patronizing attidue and the unmistakable male chauvinism, and what's worse is it's said in a way that makes it clear that they think there's absolutely nothing wrong with thinking that way and that it's even the right way to be. Look at the way "mike m" describes the young woman in your post, like he's appraising a cut of steak he plans to have for dinner. I find it revolting and the fact that you even have to ask if it's "a bad thing" maybe even worse, Steve. What is wrong with all of you?

Anonymous said...

This is Anon 10:22 again, I also have to say, even a lot of the things that have been said here supposedly in defense of women are so transparent and sexist that it's even worse than the comments from men who are openly bashing women. Just as black leaders have always said, the most dangerous people aren't the obvious bigots but the ones who present themselves as enlightened and sympathetic but aren't really, at heart.

Steve Salerno said...

Anon 10:22/39: Do you think it's possible that you're being just a wee bit paranoid and categorical here--and judgmental in your own right? After all, there has to be room for some discussion on these points beyond merely nodding and saying, "Yes, you women are right about every last thing, we men are nothing but pigs and fools and misogynists." Yes? No?

RevRon's Rants said...

Anon 10:22, I'll see your revulsion, and raise you a goodly dose of umbrage. Where's an attitude cop when you need one? And where's the sensitivity trainer hiding?

For my money, anyone who starts out with "If you want a textbook lesson in what's wrong with men..." might want to look at their own issues before narrowly categorizing an entire gender. Barring that, don't be surprised if you aren't similarly categorized as a textbook lesson in what's wrong with women.

Steve Salerno said...

Ron: GMTA, I guess. At least sometimes.

mike m said...

Ahhh, all those wonderful little insecurities we all have. That's what that whole macho jock bullshit is about. Men are terrified about being sexually inadequate, so they work out at the gym, buy sports cars, try to make more money than the next guy, be a rock star etc, etc, etc. I will be so bold as to say women suffer from those same fears. Which is why they buy sexy clothes, expensive shoes, get plastic surgery etc, etc, etc. That in turn makes those who can't afford the sports cars and expensive shoes feel inadequate, and round and round she goes. So who exactly benefits from all of our insecurities? I don't know, but I have a drawer full of Enzyte and Extenze.

Anonymous said...

'Ron: GMTA, I guess. At least sometimes.'

...and fools seldom differ.

Mudslinging aside, for a blog that purports to examine popculture and its prevailing attitudes, this is a glaringly misogynistic debate and the original article just the usual, thinly disguised invitation for some snickeringly macho hostility to women.
Same old, same old.
Well done, Steve.

Case said...

RockitQueen said: >> Case, no offense, but "business ethics" codes are total load of BS.

Maybe ethical codes are BS to you, but not to many business leaders and managers, and it goes beyond just the letter of the law. There is a spirit in America of hard work, equal opportunity, and meritocracy. The Hollywood bubble notwithstanding, the vast majority of businesses stand for fairness and equal opportunity.

Steve Salerno said...

OK, I am tired of fighting the good fight (and relentlessly sending comments back to their authors for one-word rewrites), and I've had people take me to task for violating my own rules, so I guess "bullshit" is now an authorized term on SHAMblog. But can we contain it there, folks?

And incidentally, my "GMTA" remark was simply intended as a comment on the fact that Ron and I said very similar things at the same exact moment--10:44. It was not meant to imply that Ron and I were necessarily the final authorities on anything. But with all due respect to Anon 10:22, Anon 11:24 and others who've made similar points, if it's "misogynistic" for me to merely ask whether there should be room for honest disagreement on these points, then clearly we have left the gravitational pull of reason and are well on our way to the Galaxy of Paranoia and other parts unknown...

RevRon's Rants said...

"this is a glaringly misogynistic debate and the original article just the usual, thinly disguised invitation for some snickeringly macho hostility to women."

Unfortunately, some women tend to inspire such attitudes by espousing their own blatant hostility toward men, without recognizing how much that hostility reveals about them.

If Steve & I are both fools (which I take as a genuine compliment, BTW), and you really believe we seldom differ, I've got a nice ocean-front lot (in Phoenix) that I'll make you a great deal on!

RevRon's Rants said...

"It was not meant to imply that Ron and I were necessarily the final authorities on anything."

Speak for yourself, Salerno! :-)

And Case... I just ruined another keyboard. Had a mouthful of coffee when I read your "the vast majority of businesses stand for fairness and equal opportunity."

The vast majority of businesses stand for whatever their attorneys and CPAs *tell* them what they must stand for. I spent many years in corporate management, and very rarely saw the attitude you describe... except on press releases & stockholder reports, that is.

Steve Salerno said...

And to address, briefly, the genealogical question put to me off-blog: I'm definitely Uncle Steve to a number of people, some of them even in Jersey--I'd imagine that every single person named "Salerno" has at least one relative in New Jersey, living or dead, by natural means or otherwise--but no, to my knowledge, I am not Uncle Steve to the specific people referenced in your email.

Case said...

Ron, If you need a job done right you hire the best people, not the best looking people. Period. I understand the climate is very negative against business right now, all of the companies I've personally been involved with work very hard to create a culture of fairness and meritocracy.

RevRon's Rants said...

"living or dead, by natural means or otherwise"

Uncle Steve - I've been to Jersey, and can attest to the fact that there are many people there who live (and die) by wholly unnatural means. Reminds me of one of Samuel L. Jackson's lines in "The Long Kiss Goodnight." :-)

Rational Thinking said...

One point. Who put you guys in charge to decide what's fair to women and what isn't? If you think women have a blatant hostility to men, try turning it around:-) I's not hostility, of course, it's power play. It is equally valid and invalid. I'd rather debate with Mike - politically incorrect (and wonderfully funny) but honest. Just honest. You know, reading this post and the comments thereto, made me realise how careful I am to keep myself 'gender neutral' as far as possible, when I'm commenting on blogs. Because, sadly or happily enough, it has an effect.

If we're debating whether it should or shouldn't have, that seems a valid debate. Let's try to find some common ground?

mike m said...

Oh, I love how you people from Pennsylvania love to crack jokes about S. Jersey. What do you, live on "The Main Line"? Bala? Brynmawr? Radnor? Nah, I bet you're more Coatsville.:)

Steve Salerno said...

Even worse than that, Mike: Allentown.

mike m said...

Ouch

mike m said...

I guess it's better than Broadheadsville.

RevRon's Rants said...

"If you need a job done right you hire the best people, not the best looking people."

If what if that job entails convincing a predominantly male customer base to see you or your products/services in a positive light? An attractive applicant will win out over an unattractive one, every time. Of course, nobody would ever admit that physical appearance was a significant - or even relevant - factor.

RT - I don't think that "women" harbor blatant hostility to "men," any more than I believe that "men" harbor blatant hostility to "women." But neither would I attempt to deny that *some* individuals hold members of the opposite sex in collective contempt. Power play? To some extent, yes. But to a greater extent, such attitudes represent defensive behavior, borne of internal issues that may or may not have their foundations in actual experiences.

RevRon's Rants said...

"Oh, I love how you people from Pennsylvania love to crack jokes about S. Jersey."

The ones who live in Philly crack jokes to keep from crying. I've lived in Philly, and can understand perfectly. :-)

Anonymous said...

' I've got a nice ocean-front lot (in Phoenix) that I'll make you a great deal on!'

That would be next to London Bridge, I take it. The poor sap thought he was getting the pretty one, Tower Bridge, not the bog standard London Bridge. ( which, I hear, is earning its keep anyway. Hmmm, let's hear your pitch.)

mike m said...

Just heard, Arlen Specter switched parties. Better late than never. That opens up a run for Ricky boy. I think I saw a Facebook page for Santorum 2012.

Back to topic:

I've heard that when it comes to sales, it is believed that men would rather deal with men on the big contracts. I've also heard, that most women in the workplace would rather have a male boss then a female. Regardless of right or wrong, is it true?

mike m said...

The ones who live in Philly crack jokes to keep from crying. I've lived in Philly, and can understand perfectly. :-) Every time I get on that damned Schuylkill Expressway, I start crying! :)

Steve Salerno said...

Mike: I don't know the factual answer to your observation about whether women would prefer a male boss; though I agree that it's "what I've heard," too, I suspect you could find web citations both proving and disproving it. There's a larger point here too, however, which is very relevant to the course this discussion has taken: that these issues are never simply a question of black and white, fair vs. unfair, one gender lining up in solidarity against the other. Because if it is true that at least some reasonable percentage of women would, in fact, rather work for a male boss, what does that do to all the heavy-handed arguments about workplace misogyny, etc?

Rational Thinking said...

Ron 12.44

Well okay Ron - but to me, defensive behaviour would appear to predicate offensive behaviour - but maybe I'm being pedantic. IOW, people aren't defensive if they're not feeling attacked.

Being as this is a 'safe space' - let me run something by you all. If men feel that they are the 'superior' sex, does that mean they are right in their judgements? If women feel they are the 'superior' sex, does that make them right in theirs?

Does any of this make either gender superior? Of course not. Does that make either gender inferior? Again, of course not. There is to me the sense that men hang on to the 'superior' label (as who the heck wouldn't?) - and this is a problem. I am not saying every woman is wiser - or every man is less sensitive - but when you have an entire gender feeling (however kindly) that you require 'special treatment" - well, it just makes me annoyed. Sorry.

Steve Salerno said...

...defensive behaviour would appear to predicate offensive behaviour... people aren't defensive if they're not feeling attacked...That may be true, but you shouldn't discount the possibility that people (many) will feel attacked even when there's no cause. That's part of the problem. I know a fair number of people who interpret the espousal of a mere contrary point of view as a "personal attack" on them. And though I can't prove this, I'd actually say that's par for the course in many settings.

mike m said...

Well, you can find just about anything on the web, including pictures of Jimmy Hoffa with Adolf Hitler and Elvis partying in Argentina. I don't know, misogyny is such a strong word for something as subtle as this. I mean, girls/women are indoctrinated, to a degree, to follow men. This certainly could explain the desire to have a male boss. However, should this argument be used to pass over a female for promotion? Probably not. But does it exist, subconsciously, in the minds of men handing out promotions? Not misogyny, indoctrination.

Case said...

Mike M wrote >> I've heard that when it comes to sales, it is believed that men would rather deal with men on the big contracts. I've also heard, that most women in the workplace would rather have a male boss then a female. Regardless of right or wrong, is it true?The whole sub-genre of sales is actually very interesting and poorly understood by the general public. Your comment reminded me of some very interesting analysis of old-school sales vs. new school (which has a lot of overlap with self-help & empowerment).

Did you know that Steve wrote a very good analysis of the topic.

From Page 18, "The Stigma on sales is, in fact, institutionalized in the English language."

Very interesting ideas. You can still buy it here.

http://product.half.ebay.com/_W0QQprZ1498469QQcpidZ3370974

RevRon's Rants said...

"IOW, people aren't defensive if they're not feeling attacked."

I would clarify that statement to reflect that people become defensive when they *perceive* an attack upon themselves. In far too many instances, those "attacks" exist only in the observer's mind. Our recent anonymous presents a good example, in my opinion.

As to the inherent "superiority" of one gender or the other... one might as well proclaim that the "heads" side of a coin is superior to the "tails" side. And we should bear in mind that the tendency to feel "superior" is itself a defense mechanism in the vast majority of cases, used to overcome a fear of one's own inferiority. Except, of course, in the cases of those of us who actually *are* superior.* :-)

* - Sarcasm alert. Please do not take seriously... unless doing so fills some inner need. If that's the case, knock yourself out. I'll play along. :-)

Steve Salerno said...

Mike: I don't know that we'd ever be able to distill complex psychodynamics such as these down to a discrete cause, e.g., "Women are more comfortable with male bosses because Daddy ran the house when they were kids." (And first of all, that is far less true nowadays.) But what I'm saying is, regardless of the reasons, we are presented with certain facts, one of which is that women seemingly can be just as hard on other women as men are, albeit usually in different ways. And men, for all their buddy-buddy griping about women, can be fiercely devoted to the women in their own orbit and can prefer their company (no, not just "for sex") than anything else in life. None of these issues is as simple as screaming "you're a misogynist!" or "she's a bitch!" And I don't think it's so much a matter of finding "common ground" as of accepting that there are mixtures of black and white, truth and falsity, honor and dishonor in much of what we do in our muddled attempts to negotiate life.

Steve Salerno said...

And once again, I swear that Ron and I aren't sitting alongside each other, comparing notes as we type out these replies.

Steve Salerno said...

Geez, Case, I can't believe you dug that up! Funny thing is, I can the remember the exact circumstances under which I wrote that passage, seemingly 100 years ago in a whole different life.

Anonymous said...

'I know a fair number of people who interpret the espousal of a mere contrary point of view as a "personal attack" on them. And though I can't prove this, I'd actually say that's par for the course in many settings'.

Yes, me too. If it's par for the course, dear god we're in a lot of trouble. Again, please, can we try to find some common ground? Because I point blank refuse to believe it isn't there. And I know that may be wildly unrealistic :-)

mike m said...

I would clarify that statement to reflect that people become defensive when they *perceive* an attack upon themselves. In far too many instances, those "attacks" exist only in the observer's mind. Our recent anonymous presents a good example, in my opinion.What I want to know is when did we become so damned thin skinned? And is it really a question of being thin skinned, or just an excuse? I remember back when I was taking some classes, when all this politically correct bull**it started. The professor said "I want to be able to disagree with you, without being called a racist."

I want to be able to disagree with someone without being called anti-American. It's all bull**it. And, it's even worse in colleges and universities with all of their "speech codes". If you've gone through four years of college and haven't been offended, you should ask for your money back.

mike m said...

Just for clarification - I wasn't the one the professor made that statement to.

Yeah, yeah. We at Princeton do not end our sentences with prepositions.

Forgive me. Can you tell me where the library is at, ass***e.

Rational Thinking said...

Given the gender we're born with, can we be objective? I think it's possible, but here's a thought. Women have some different objectives as to what beauty is. It's not in the eye of the beholder - it's what we see in the mirror. I've heard "you're beautiful" - sincerely meant, from men and from women - the one I believed was from another woman. You guys maybe want to think about what it feels like to have your entire right to exist to be based upon the opposite gender's view of your "atractability".

This may sound like sour grapes, but for what it's worth, I took responsibilty not to have kids, because I have a genetic problem - doesn't affect my looks, but I wouldn't wish to pass on to anybody. Any men here with the same dilemma? I'd really like to know - I'm not being sarcastic or ironic - but I'd like to know. I mean, evolution is gender neutral, isn't it?

nfl fan with open eyes said...

let me give you a little bit different perspective here. i watch football games as a total entertainment experience, and eye candy like erin andrews is part of that total experience. i like tony siragusa for his football savvy and his sense of humor, but let's face it, if you're a hetero guy would you rather look at fat tony for 3 hours or at a woman who looks like the photo (the second one) on your blog? and i don't understand why i have to apologize for that. you're telling me women fans go crazy over tony romo or matt leinert or tom brady b/c of their QB rating?

get real. if it's on tv it's entertainment and if it's entertainment then you're talking about the total package of what a show or a sport or yes, a woman offers. like it or not, good looks is a commodity. if you're pretty and you can get a job like erin andrews got b/c guys think you're a babe, even if you have to wear tight clothes to prove it, so what? why is that anybody else's business anyway?

and as long as we're talking about reality, don't tell me that the women who argue against all this are doing it purely on principle. they're *jealous*. you can't tell me that all women aren't born with that same gene that says "i want men to adore me", and when they're forced to face the reality of another woman who gets all the looks and the guys, they resent it. plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

Hey Steve, in the jazz corner, what instrument is the younger guy playing, looks like a fat trumpet??

Steve Salerno said...

That's a flugelhorn, used widely in jazz. You can't really tell in this cut because it's up-tempo, but the flugel has a "rounder," richer sound than the trumpet, and is often favored in ballads for the warmth of its tone.

Rational Thinking said...

nfi fan - have you read "The Selfish Gene"? Just 'coz we're how we're programmed does not mean we can't aspire to be better. Just a thought you might think about.

"jealous"? Oh please.

Elizabeth - can't believe you're not weighing in on this :-)

Anonymous said...

Well speaking of looks and fluglehorns and the total package, this woman wouldn't mind spending some time with that young man and his horn. He's adorable, reminds me of Andy Garcia when he was just starting out.

Steve Salerno said...

Elizabeth is probably too busy, now that she's started her new job as an NFL sideline reporter.

(That is a JOKE, folks.)

Jenny said...

Steve quips: "Elizabeth is probably too busy, now that she's started her new job as an NFL sideline reporter. (That is a JOKE, folks.)"

That ought to bring her out of hiding on this thread. :) And when she does show up, I have a request for her:

Elizabeth, I'd like to see that journal article you mentioned awhile back. I will e-mail you about it so you can pass it to me that way.

I've appreciated all the comments on this post. Looks do seem to be just part of the total package and we get judged by them (sometimes in spite of them), whether we like that or not.

RevRon's Rants said...

RT - While we all would do well to aspire to more than we presently are and manifest, we'll always have those guilty pleasures we call "entertainment," and so long as they harm nobody, there's no reason to try to "rise above" them. Doing so merely converts an entertainment into an obsession.

Started to give my own personal examples, but that deteriorated rather rapidly into a lascivious free-flow, which I would, in polite company, be forced to deny having said. :-)

Case said...

Speaking of looks and "side of the blog" material such as the Jazz, did you see the article of the day? It's on Leprosy and includes an obligatory picture. Ouch. What is this, a festival of images today?

Elizabeth said...

LMAO! Steve, how did you know?

(That too is a joke, just in case anyone wonders. Besides, trust me, you don't want me commenting on any sport events. Dear Lord, no.)

Rational et al., I have followed this discussion, but, honestly, don't have much new to say. I have also learned that any debate about gender issues or their vicinity will produce a lot of heat -- which I suspect must please Steve, to some degree at least, no? ;) -- and usually not much light. It's the same situation on other forums as well, so I'm not singling out SHAMblog here at all, only noting, with some amusement, how the history repeats itself and how we often tend to fall in the same rut, discussion-wise.

Back to the subject at hand: Fair or not, looks do matter everywhere we go. Not only our physical features, but the overall appearance (clothes, etc.) (That's why I keep reminding my sons to get haircuts and shave -- but do they ever listen?)

I'm not immune to it at all, though my own tastes tend toward the unconventional. Still, when I express my appreciation for someone's good looks, whether male or female, my husband often chides me, usually with pretend exasperation, for being shallow and reminds me that 1. we have no choice in the matter -- some of us look better than others through the sheer luck of the genetic lottery, and 2. looks are only skin deep.

And of course I agree with him, but still, I was pleased that my neurosurgeon was young and cute -- in addition to being brilliant, accomplished and one of the top people in the field. It does not hurt, you know. (No, I did not choose him based on his looks, but that was sorta a bonus point.) Good looks work like a social lubricant, at the least, though sometimes we are led astray by them, both women and men. (On the other hand, good looks *only* -- without substance, etc. -- in a guy can be a major turn-off, at least for this woman. Pretty boys of all ages with empty heads are, well, annoying, to put it gently -- but this is strictly MHO, y'know.)

Yeah, I could go on about the unequal playing field, so to speak, for women in this respect, but I strongly suspect I would not say anything new beyond what you've already said here -- or what I have said on SHAMblog in the past.

And yes, Steve, that Erin person does look like a guy. Her face, that is; but for many it is the least important part of her allure, it seems. ;)

P.S. Jenny, will send you the article.

P.S.2. Okay, since we are on the subject: Can anyone really tell the difference between the current Miss USA and the runner-up? Don't they look the same (other than parting their bleached hair to different sides)?

Steve Salerno said...

Eliz: In many ways--at least to my ear--this was the most learned, well-considered and, above all, realistic comment on the thread thus far. Thanks for taking time out from your demanding sideline-reporter's training program to weigh in here.

Elizabeth said...

Sure, no problem, Steve.

BTW, I was cut from the program.
Something about not being the right age (a euphemism, I think) and having too much trouble grasping a basic sport lingo -- not quite sure, frankly, what the exact reasons were, 'cuz I was too busy replaying Adam Lambert's performances from "American Idol" to hear their full explanation. It's just as well. It now gives me lots more time to vote for Adam in the next few weeks.

;)

Anonymous said...

(That's why I keep reminding my sons to get haircuts and shave -- but do they ever listen?)This is what I find frustrating as a woman. Because men have the reputation for being so caught up in looks, they must think that either a.) women don't care about looks, or b.) women are not worth the effort of improving because they'll sleep with me anyway. I don't understand why women go to great lengths to compete with each other to get men who put little to no effort into making themselves look better to women. Men can dress like bums, have poor hygiene, and not even have a nice body, and get laid, whereas women need to put forth much more effort to get those same, crappy-looking guys.

I don't waste time resenting "hot" women who get all the attention. I resent the men for having it so easy--where the opposite sex is desperately trying to look good for you and you don't have to do a damn thing--and I am simply confused when it comes to the "hot" women because I don't understand why they reinforce the behavior and then complain about how shallow men are.

Anonymous said...

"Men can dress like bums, have poor hygiene, and not even have a nice body, and get laid"

Oh, please let me in on this secret.

RevRon's Rants said...

I wouldn't even attempt to dissuade anon 12:28 from her cynicism. I will say that I find it sad that the lowest common denominator within a group has come to represent (to her) the group as a whole.

While there are certainly individuals (and quite a few of them) who exhibit attitudes and behavior such as anon describes, it has been my experience that there are far more people - men and women - who seek more than the shallowness she describes.

Sure, everyone enjoys a bit of "eye candy," but I don't buy that everyone uses the same criteria in selecting a mate that they use in choosing their entertainment. As Eliz stated, the attractiveness is like icing on the cake, but doesn't serve as substitute for less superficial qualities (Of course, with sociopaths, this rule doesn't necessarily apply).

Steve Salerno said...

Parenthetical (and small-minded) note to Eliz and any other Idol fans who may be with us: I actually thought the first guy did a much nicer job with The Way You Look Tonight. I also liked the 17-year-old's (!!) version of Someone to Watch Over Me. But then I think I'm more of a romantic than most of Adam's fans. And truly, with Sir Lambert, King of (Bisexual) Hearts, it has gotten to the point where I want to scream at the TV, "Dude...get over yourself!"

Steve Salerno said...

And p.s. to Ron: I agree with you, that the attitude embodied in the remarks by Anon 12:28 is very sad, and reflects a distorted view of reality. This level of cynicism is all the more tragic when it occurs (as it often does) in today's young people, where it has such a predictable tendency to self-fulfill.

Elizabeth said...

Oy, did you just dis Adam, Steve? Gasp.

Alright, I'll forgive you this time, but let it be the last. ;)

The kid is a "ready-to-use" (pardon a possible double meaning of the expression) artist. AI has not had a talent of his caliber yet. He is the reason I still watch the show this year, though I've noticed him relatively late. His every performance is original and something to look forward to. The others are talented (I love Allison -- that voice, oh brother!; and Danny G. is very good), but Adam is in a class all by himself.

One more note about looks: I was thinking a bit more about it last night (now that I have more time, you know, after being fired from the sportscaster-in-training program) and realized that, if given a choice, I'd rather spend time with Susan Boyle (or her male equivalent), the dowdy-looking but talented Brit, than the newly crowned Miss USA and her co-competitors (or their male equivalents), who look like clones encased in plastic -- and identical -- molds. There is nothing interesting about them. Eye candy all, and perhaps objects of sexual fantasies, but none of them (OK, most of them, from what I have seen) seem interesting as persons and/or have that spark of personality or that "something" that draws you in and holds your interest and makes you want to get to know them better. (Again, apart from the sex allure.) And that "something" goes way (way) beyond looks.

Anonymous said...

A little off, but a little on topic. Elizabeth's comment about Miss USA reminded me of what my ex-husband said about female porn stars "they all look a like." I find that to be true of most people on television and in movies. The same teeth, bodies, hair, etc. Indiviuality seems to be getting lost somewhere.

Anonymous said...

To quote a guy on here who posted "don't tell me that the women who argue against all this are doing it purely on principle. they're *jealous*. you can't tell me that all women aren't born with that same gene that says "i want men to adore me", and when they're forced to face the reality of another woman who gets all the looks and the guys, they resent it. plain and simple."

I think that attitdue reflects the misgonistic OR just ignorant attitude some men have to women. Women of all looks get raped, pestered harrassed by men yet if they arent hott no one believes them,well people doubt them, when more actual rape claims are doubted than ones made up, women get abused, beaten, paid less, put down, etc and then when they get upset they are told its beause they 'wish they were pretty' or 'are jealous' maybe some women are that pathtic but most of us just want to be treated with dignity and respect. If men want to sleep with hott women thats fine but why does not being hott mean you get treated so hatefully in non sexual situations? Attraction whould be put side in work places etc. Women have kids to feed, rent to pay etc its not fair for women to be denied equal paty etc just because they arent hott. Most men arent hott. In fact research has shown men get discriminated on how they look too just more sublty. Women are way picker when it comes to casual sex about looks yet men dont get abused and put down for not being hott enuf to attract hott women for sex and having to resort to porn. Men dont get put down, paid less because they cant get sex on tap from hott womne unless they pay. Ugly men who get hott women after ages of pursueing and doting on her, thats not the same as getting her straight away and her wnating him lustfully. Men will never attract hott women intially and in the same passionate way unless they are hott too, yet they dont get out down all the time for the constant rejections they get from pretty women. Bribing women with material objects and job promotions doesn mean shes attracted to you. Its an illusion men can get all the sex they want, not unless they work hard to get it or pay for it, unless they are good looking of course, but most men dont seem to realize or undestand this.

Anonymous said...

I dont know what they think the countless rejections they get must mean? Reasearch is right that men do mistake friendliness as sexual interest consistentally because they dont bother evaulating properly how the other person feels and just assume they are into them.

I can get alot of guys and yet being average looking some people, both women and men seem to just hate me and be so nasty to me, it disgust me because why should the fact I dont have swarms of men drooling over me cause so much hosiltiy? When I can attract men. Like men I can attract some men. I can get laid and have a relationship as easy as most men I know yet the sneering idea i cant from some shallow people denies me equal pay, makes me bullied at work, hounded and pestered someties including followed home or rung constantly after a date and stalked for months from guys who think I should be grateful for the attention?People just dont stop to think about the bigger picture. If women get jelaous and insecure of prettier women its bceause we are bullied and abused so much till we do feel this way. Then those same men turn around and make comments like the above sneering ones, disregarding the basic human rights and dignity women are denied eveyday for not being hott.

Thats what I find really unfair. How people just bash women but not men, when men get disciminated against for things they want too they just dont relize it.

Oh and Steve why not post a blog about how women should be seen as human and appreciated for their personality skills etc rather than bash a womens apperance to prove a point. Just because you dont find her hott doesnt mean alot of men wont. Not all men demand perefction. I think you would have made your point alot better if you used examples of unrealisically attractive women and how they are overrespresnted etc, you could make the same point that way but not bash a women on a topic women are already bashed enough already on. People aren't nice generally speaking and will focus on the put downs, as looking at how most comments on her just rate her looks, than discuss the deeper message behind the article, and not actually take what you are trying to say sreiously. I wonder how men would take getting raped, sexually abused and have people mock and doubt them because of their gender and not being hott. How men would feel if they got paid less, yelled abuse at daily, follwed in cares, groped etc. This is stuff most of my friends go through for not being pretty. Its just another way to control women like virginity used to be. Can you imagine loss of virginity before marriage being used to deny women rights and dignity these days? Which went on even after birth control. No. Its just beeen replaced with looks. Prooving its as much about male control as carnal desires that like women do men should just keep in their head and fantasies. As I see it a secure man who can get hott women doesnt feel the need to bash less attractive women to make himself feel better as some of these guy's in comments to your blog have.