>A few days ago, I read a blog post somewhere (my brain is beyond fried, so I have no idea where, sorry) about how women want to be taken seriously and not judged solely based on their looks. This statement made a lot of sense to me. Then I read one of the comments, in which the writer begged to differ that women don't want to be objectified. Compelling evidence was presented in the number of plastic surgery procedures conducted on women each year. When I read that, I sighed because I can't really disagree with that point entirely.
Sure, there are a lot of reasons why women undergo plastic surgery. Even I submitted to the knife, although it had nothing to do with how I looked. (Only plastic surgeons do breast reduction procedures and I needed to unload half my chest before my damn shoulders and back caved in from the weight dragging me down in front. I honestly thought I would look worse after the surgery. I'm happy that I was wrong.) Can we really separate out the effects of living in a world that so values feminine beauty and sexiness (demonstrated by only a very small variety of body types) with someone wanting plastic surgery for her own self-esteem? I don't know. For example, there are a number of women I know who chose to get breast surgery after having a baby so that they could look like they did before pregnancy changed their bodies. That doesn't strike me as buying into some beauty myth since they were just trying to return to themselves.
It's hard not to want to look good in a world that places so much value on looking good. While I put about zero effort into my appearance, it doesn't mean that I don't obsess about it, too. I know that I will never have a flat stomach and lean thighs. It is just not my body type, and wrangling myself into a shape that is unnatural for me would mean that I could never eat ice cream, cake, or cheese. No thanks. At the same time, I cringe when I look at my "big" hips in the mirror or when I notice my bulging thighs when I am sitting down. I don't care enough to wear make-up, shave my legs, do my hair, or strut in high heels let alone get plastic surgery, but I'd be lying if I said that I don't want to be considered attractive.
Are there any women out there who don't worry about their looks? Do women care much more about how they look than men? Statistics tell us that increasingly this is not the case. Still, I have to agree with both the blog poster (we want to be judged on our abilities) and the commenter (we want to be objectified). We live in a world that splits women in half. What we want and what we can achieve within its social structures make us schizo. As a result, generally, most women want to be judged for their abilities and objectified. It's fucked up.