The Thin Ideal and other unhealthy beauty obsessions

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The Thin Ideal and other unhealthy beauty obsessions

Postby Lani » Wed Mar 28, 2007 12:34 am UTC

So the boobs thread got me thinking. There are a lot traits of beauty that people artificially strive for despite the harm it actually causes them, though obviously in varying degrees. For example, sun tanning can lead to skin damage and possibly skin cancer over time. Another example, and one of the most pervasive and harmful, is the thin ideal. Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa can fuck up a body pretty severely, and I think we can all agree that they are Bad. But would you say that bearing in mind the harm that the thin ideal can cause, does that actually affect your perception of physical beauty? When you see models in magazines, what are your thoughts?

Personally, I think my conceptions of physical beauty have changed, especially when I got into working out. Now, I think someone who is fit and healthy is the most attractive. Just the same, I feel that twinge of jealousy when I see the perfect bodies of models in Maxim and the like. Even knowing intellectually that they are airbrushed and have an army of assistants whose only job is to make them look good, I still feel that twinge.
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Postby Vaniver » Wed Mar 28, 2007 12:43 am UTC

I must admit that body weight is my second consideration when choosing a mate (with intelligence as the first), and my primary consideration when thinking about beauty.

I don't think my knowledge of the harm various choices make impacts my decisions about their attractiveness too much, but it is significant. I won't date a smoker, and don't think it's sexy, primarily for health reasons (as much because it gives me a headache as the damage it does to them). I don't care much about tans, but that's primarily because I spend a significant amount of time online (and thus out of the sun) and then I rationalize that with the damage done by tans, rather than me going "ew, tanning, you'll look bad in twenty years!". While I would tell my mate that they need to eat more or they're skinny enough as is, that doesn't mean I don't think some anorexics (or many borderline anorexics) are hot.

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Postby Rat » Wed Mar 28, 2007 12:49 am UTC

well theres this one girl in my speech class who is absolutely breeatthtaking? dunno how to describe her, but she seems really.. healthy.. shes well built...

the kind of girl you would cast in a movie to play and military chick you know? a hot one... thats the kind of girl i like.. that or 12 year olds...

theres plenty of chicks that are way too skinny.. the good looking girls are ones who dont hurt their bodies with too much/too little food... i never found the anorexic/bulimic look to be attractive...

sooo what am i saying.. the perfect bodies in the magazines arent all that perfect.. girls with a bit of meat on em are the sexy ones.. something to hold on to as im pounding them.. but not too much!!!!

oh dear god not too much!

and really thin girls look cold and pointy and uncomfortable to snuggle with...

not that i snuggle.. I MEANT UNCOMFORTABLE TO POUND.. YES.. SNUGGLING IS FOR SISSIES

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Postby VannA » Wed Mar 28, 2007 1:22 am UTC

I, in no way-shape-or-form, find the 'skinny' look attractive.

Tone, and that therefore implies mass to be toned, is a whole lot more attractive than rack thin arms that I could snap accidently.

You, for instance, are pretty damn near perfect, in the.. lets call it 'instinctual' attractiveness scale that I think most guys like.

I actually think you'll find most guys dislike the skinny look.

I think it's taken off, primarily as an asthetics thing, pushed by people who do NOT HAVE a sexual interest in the models.. and because they are evaluating beauty like they might evaluate beauty in a piece of furniture, it is skewed.

Do you want to be 'beautiful' like a piece of post-modern furniture, or do you want to generate a gut-level pulse of attraction?

A pretty face on a toned and shapely body is just awesome.
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Postby Peshmerga » Wed Mar 28, 2007 1:40 am UTC

I'm not attracted sexually to any woman who is overweight, even slightly. I probably would be if I weighed more. I'm repelled by anorexic looking women, too, but you can weigh a lot less than you can weigh more for me to still think you're good looking.

This is most likely due to my own weight. I'm really not attracted to a lot of beautiful women I meet (not porn) who are bigger than me, even if they don't have much fat.

My standard of beauty, as far as I've known, is cute. Cute is beautiful, small, short, manageable cuteness with a pretty smile and white teeth.

*shrug* Maybe I'm a bastard.
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Postby fjafjan » Wed Mar 28, 2007 2:03 am UTC

Peshmerga wrote:I'm not attracted sexually to any woman who is overweight, even slightly. I probably would be if I weighed more. I'm repelled by anorexic looking women, too, but you can weigh a lot less than you can weigh more for me to still think you're good looking.

This is most likely due to my own weight. I'm really not attracted to a lot of beautiful women I meet (not porn) who are bigger than me, even if they don't have much fat.

My standard of beauty, as far as I've known, is cute. Cute is beautiful, small, short, manageable cuteness with a pretty smile and white teeth.

*shrug* Maybe I'm a bastard.

I tend to agree, though not so harsh on the overweight thing...
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Postby scwizard » Wed Mar 28, 2007 2:20 am UTC

HIGH HEELS ARE NOT SEXY. THEY ARE PAINFUL AND POINTLESS!

There I said it.

I'm not really in a position to comment on weight because everyone in New York City is pretty thin* (it comes from all the speedwalking).

*Apart from the ugly fat tourists or the ugly fat natives who need some kind of motorized wheelchair to get around.
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Postby space_raptor » Wed Mar 28, 2007 2:41 am UTC

Well, lani, I think you're hot. I'm in pretty much full agreement with VannA on this.

It's all about the tone.

Fashion models horrify me. I think Paris Hilton looks like that "ugliest dog in the world" picture I've seen on the internet. She's almost repulsive. It's the 12-year old boy look. Ugh. Fit, toned girls are where it's at.

That being said, I have never really figured out what the ideal girl for me looks like. Some guys like blondes, some redheads, some short and cute, some tall and skinny. I have never really understood this. I mean, I get that a person can find certain traits attractive. But I have never really picked a "type".

I have liked tall girls, short girls, blondes and brunettes, girls with dark skin, light skin, asian, white, part-black-part-filipino, whatever. Some were skinny, some were not so skinny. I just think I know beauty when I see it, but it comes in many forms.

The thin ideal is deeply unfortunate. It would be nice if healthy was the way to be. Overweight isn't particularly attractive, but I think there's a clear difference between attractive and skinny.
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Re: The Thin Ideal and other unhealthy beauty obsessions

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Mar 28, 2007 3:22 am UTC

lani wrote:Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa can fuck up a body pretty severely, and I think we can all agree that they are Bad.


There is the (sort of separate) issue of how unhealthy gross obesity is, as well. It's strange that (in the US, at least) the number of people with eating disorders on both ends of the spectrum is growing right now. But yeah, any kind of eating disorder is a disorder, and is unhealthy. I don't think, however, that knowing the harm of extremes has changed my opinions of the healthily thin (or healthily plump, for that matter) look. The point is that the person looks healthy.

I know some people are skinny because they have really fast metabolism and eat a ton but can't put on weight, and others are fat because they have a slow metabolism and every gram of a sandwich seems to stay there. But nonetheless, before I get to know a person, if they are (to my eye) "too" skinny or "too" overweight, they won't strike me (initially) as physically attractive.

All that changes, of course, once I get to know someone. A person can be extremely physically attractive and turn out to be horrible, and just about every aspect of their body as well as their personality will turn into a fault. And a person can be physically (conventionally) unattractive and turn out to have a wonderful personality, and suddenly their "unattractive" traits stop mattering or even become positive characteristics.

For the record, I was going to split an infinitive and then remembered your membership in the Grammar National Socialist Party. I know the split infinitive thing is just a holdover from a (fortunately) aborted attempt to make English (a Germanic language) more like Latin (a Romance language), so I usually don't worry about it. But as it turned out in this case, there was an alternative way of phrasing it that actually was less awkward.
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Postby Lani » Wed Mar 28, 2007 4:42 am UTC

It's true that the frequency of obesity is also rapidly rising, but that's not really considered a beauty ideal, you know? :)

So I'm curious to hear from the guys - do you personally feel that pressure for the slim/athletic as well? A couple of the guys mentioned it on the boobs thread, but I'm wondering how pervasive it actually is.
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Postby Belial » Wed Mar 28, 2007 4:45 am UTC

We feel it definitely, though probably not as much as females do.

It's the only thing that keeps me going to the gym/going on walks/not-eating-junkfood-all-the-time.
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Postby Vaniver » Wed Mar 28, 2007 4:46 am UTC

I do, but then again, I'm gay, so the standards for me are slightly different.

I think for most guys there's the feeling that you can be a little overweight, but obesity is still nearly unacceptable, and having muscles is generally better than not. There's no "I'm going to wax my body to be more beautiful" for most guys, but that doesn't mean they don't care about their appearance.
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Postby Fluff » Wed Mar 28, 2007 4:47 am UTC

I live in L.A., the land of eating disorders, gym memberships, fake boobs, tans, and white teeth. :P


Myself: I go running regularly, tanning at the sunbeds, and have got white teeth, but I am not into the fake boobs thing. I eat healthily and strive for a fit body, but nothing too extreme. I never weigh myself; am not bothered about small fluctuations. I expect to weigh slightly more at the end of December than I would in July, and that's just fine.

Saying that though, I am lucky as I've never really gained weight in my life. I just don't see the point in eating loads of crap. I am not a fan of fat, and would be all for starving myself if ever I got flabby.

Also, as I get fitter / tanner / etc. my standards for beauty keep going up, and like Lani, I get a bit jealous of perfect bodies on magazine covers. It just makes me want to keep running until I am the model on the magazine cover.


I am not into skinny or fat lads, but not super muscle men either. I prefer men to look like they put about as much effort into keeping fit as I do, which isn't a terrible lot, just basically means looking after yourself and monitoring your pie intake.

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Postby Rey » Wed Mar 28, 2007 5:20 am UTC

I have to say I am one of the people that really don't find skinny sexy. It kind of sickens me. Take my sister for example she is about 5 ft 10 and 120 lbs. her torso is about the same size of an upright vacuum. I don't see her much but when I she usually greets me with a hug. Its like there is nothing there. It creeps me out. I am not one that approves of hitting women but when I here people my sisters size saying there fat and they need to loose weight I feel like slapping them straight.

No offense to any women on here but I found in my life for the most part skinny women have no intelligence or personality. Of course I have been in this hick town at a college that hands out degrees to any one who can manage to attend classes for the past 5 years.

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Postby Lani » Wed Mar 28, 2007 5:22 am UTC

Guys, if you knew a girl had fake boobs, would it affect your attraction to her?
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Postby Fluff » Wed Mar 28, 2007 5:33 am UTC

lani wrote:Guys, if you knew a girl had fake boobs, would it affect your attraction to her?


I am sure they will say 'No,' but I don't believe them.

Based on most men's reactions to the many birds with implants out clubbing in Hollywood, in tiny tops, with tans, etc., when faced with said birds in person, it generally increases their attraction. Most birds with implants probably go to the gym and look after themselves as well, so it is often the whole fit shiny package and not just the boobs. Plus most men would want to try shagging a bird with fake boobs at least once, just to find out.

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Postby Belial » Wed Mar 28, 2007 5:36 am UTC

Guys, if you knew a girl had fake boobs, would it affect your attraction to her?


In general? Not really. Unless the implants were bad, or modified the breast to be unattractive to me. Or they felt too wierd.

What might be unattractive is the underlying reason for the implants. But that doesn't come out til later.
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Postby VannA » Wed Mar 28, 2007 5:38 am UTC

lani wrote:Guys, if you knew a girl had fake boobs, would it affect your attraction to her?


Yes.

But probably not a *lot*

I do not like fake breasts.

My psuedo-ex-girlfriend person has an 12/10 B cup.

She is uptight and annoyed about the size of her breasts, which bothered me a lot, because there was nothing wrong with them. The fact she was small by socially accepted standards (To which I still say poppy-cock) did not detract from the fact she was gorgeous.

I generally dislike the idea people feel a need to change their physical self in a non-natural way, in order to meet what they percieve as needs.

A well-done set of fake breasts, and I might not notice. I don't know.
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Postby Belial » Wed Mar 28, 2007 5:39 am UTC

Oh, wait, were you asking if they'd make a girl *more* attractive?

No, probably not.
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Postby Rey » Wed Mar 28, 2007 6:32 am UTC

lani wrote:Guys, if you knew a girl had fake boobs, would it affect your attraction to her?


Physically, not really.

Would I date some who I knew had one probably not.

If it was my girlfriend I might not talk to her for a bit and loose a bit of respect for her.

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Postby aldimond » Wed Mar 28, 2007 6:54 am UTC

So there seems to be some derision to the idea of boob jobs, but I think most of the people here are fine with the idea of dyed hair, piercings, tattoos, etc. If a chick gets a boob job and is secure with herself but just wanted to look different what's wrong with that?

I've heard that in some places boob reduction goes on. Same thing there, I guess. Obviously either augmentation or reduction can be done just to fit in with a fashion, but the surgery itself is just like any other body mod, no?

Personally, it would probably throw me a bit if someone I was dating had her appearance significantly changed while we were dating. It would probably make me feel farther from her for a while, subconsciously. I would probably get used to it.
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Postby VannA » Wed Mar 28, 2007 7:20 am UTC

All of the people I know that have had reductions, or will have, have been for medical reasons.

FF Boobies on a size 10 back means baddness.

If somebody got a boob job just to look different? (That's a lot of work for a physical change) Well, that wouldn't concern me as much.
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Postby German Sausage » Wed Mar 28, 2007 9:14 am UTC

lani wrote:Guys, if you knew a girl had fake boobs, would it affect your attraction to her?


definitely down in my eyes. surgery freaks me out. a lot.
and the idea that they are that hung up on appearances... also bad.

i feel some pressure to work out, but its not a big one. all the working out i've done was as part of a group of friends, and we had the weights room at school to ourselves. it was mostly a release of energy, with a bit of competition.
i'm definitely an the slim side of the scale, but thats cool, so are most of my friends. a bit more definition around the torso probably wouldn't go astray, but i'm happy with me.
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Postby Gelsamel » Wed Mar 28, 2007 10:39 am UTC

I like naturality. If that is even a word.
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Postby AngryRobot » Wed Mar 28, 2007 11:15 am UTC

I dunno how alot of people can find those models in mags attractive if a girl is naturally good looking there is nothing wrong with it model or not but when you get into all those other things its a little overboard. Personally im 90kg but i got a bit of body fat on me, and no fake boobs would not make me think of a girl as more attractive, it would make me wonder as to why they chose to get them.
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Postby fjafjan » Wed Mar 28, 2007 11:44 am UTC

Guys, if you knew a girl had fake boobs, would it affect your attraction to her?


Well usually fake boobs look pretty fucking bad, but if I thought they looked good and found out they were fake ... No probably not, or perhaps to a lesser extent. It would just make me less impressed in the person and like em a bit less
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Postby damienthebloody » Wed Mar 28, 2007 12:15 pm UTC

if we're just talking about physical attraction:
i know everyone else is saying it, but i'm not particularly into thin. i like curves - it's all about waist to hip ratio, seriously. if you are thin, but you have the right curves, you can be incredibly attractive. but really thin girls tend not to have that, and instead are bony and kinda boyish, which isn't a big turn on for me. breasts - again, it's all about shape, rather than size. i tend to go for smaller, rather than larger, but that's just a personal thing. larger ones can be more satisfying to look at, but smaller ones are more fun to play with.

as for fake boobs - i don't know. if they are palpably fake (either by feeling or looking weird, rather than just implausible), then probably less attractive. but otherwise, if they complement the body and seem to be part of it, then yeah, probably i would find them attractive. i've just never been involved with fake boobs.

the whole ana/mia thing really doesn't work for me, for two reasons - one, it unbalances all the curvy goodness and makes girls physically unattractive, and two, when i see it, i think of certain women i have known who have damaged themselves like this, and the fucked-up worlds inside their heads, and it just makes me feel too awful for words.
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Postby Jesse » Wed Mar 28, 2007 12:24 pm UTC

Being involved in werstling I know a lot of women with fake breasts, it's just a pressure on them to have ti done, because girls with larger breasts are more likely to get over with the crowd. They realise that and tend to have it done, it doesn't bother me. I'm neither a fan nor a protestor of it. That said I've dated a lot fo girls with small-medium breasts, and only ever dated one girl with large breasts so maybe it bothers me subconsciously?

Again with the skinny thing, I definitely feel pressure to lose all this fat, magazines, television and film all push the ideal of the six-pack and defined muscles. Wrestling does that as well and I know guys who spend half their wages on protein and creatine and gym equipment etc just to keep that look.

I dated a model recently, and she would go days without eating sometime, which irked me because I felt bad eating chips around her. She was definitely attractive, but she was also not ribs-poking-out thin either which I think would put me off.

I have no problem with overweight ladies, although when I'm dating them I often encourage them to come and exercise with me just because I do not want someone I love dying of a heart attack at thirty years old. Same when I'm dating really skinny girls I often tempt them with horribly fattening chips.

In conclusion: I've forgotten my point, but girls do not try desperately to get really thin because I love you all just as much now?

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Postby space_raptor » Wed Mar 28, 2007 2:22 pm UTC

Fluff wrote:Plus most men would want to try shagging a bird with fake boobs at least once, just to find out.


All other things being the same, I would probably be equally attracted to a girl whether she had a B cup or a D cup.

If they were fake, it would probably put me off a bit. But your point is still very valid! :wink:
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Postby Belial » Wed Mar 28, 2007 2:25 pm UTC

Not to mention, isn't there some pretty sizeable chance that they'll lose sensation permanently during the surgery?

Numb is not sexy.
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Postby Lani » Wed Mar 28, 2007 2:34 pm UTC

I remember an exercise in my acting class in which we all, one by one, stood on stage and the whole class would simply make observations about our physical appearance - no value judgments, just observations. Afterwards, they would cast you in three archetypal roles (e.g. Romeo (romantic love interest), Hamlet (tragic angst and downfall), Elwood P. Dowd (from Harvey - the simple minded but insightful lovable man)).

All of my roles, cast by a good 20 people and my teacher, were extremely androgynous. My teacher cast me as Peter Pan (traditionally played by a woman), Honey from Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (in which for most of the play she is described as a "thin hipped woman"), and a character (can't remember who) who dressed and passed as a man to save her brother's life.

I was pretty upset about being perceived as so androgynous. I was also hella surprised - still am, actually. I wonder, though, how much of that was my physical appearance vs. my demeanor - I'm really not a girly girl at all.

...I'm not 100% sure why I was just thinking about that, but there you go.
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Postby fjafjan » Wed Mar 28, 2007 4:24 pm UTC

lani wrote:So I'm curious to hear from the guys - do you personally feel that pressure for the slim/athletic as well? A couple of the guys mentioned it on the boobs thread, but I'm wondering how pervasive it actually is.


oh, I missed this
Yes, definately, I feel I am generally way too unmuscled and skinny, and feel that same twinge when seeing the oh so perfect body.
I realise it's prolly not half as strong as the pressure put on ladies, atleast not yet, but it's definately there, ready to make us all into gym going and equipment buying consumers.
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Postby gmalivuk » Wed Mar 28, 2007 5:37 pm UTC

lani wrote:Guys, if you knew a girl had fake boobs, would it affect your attraction to her?


Yes. It would initially make my attraction go down. Aldimond made the good point that many of us are in favor of other body mods, but I have to admit that I'm still biased against boob jobs. Perhaps it's because a tattoo or piercing seems like it can be more individualistic, more an expression of who the person is, than a boob job.

Now, if she was originally completely flat-chested and went up to a still small cup-size merely in the interest of being identifiably feminine, I would be more understanding. There's a difference between conforming to unrealistic conventions of attractiveness and wanting to look more "normal". And I will also admit that while I don't generally have a strong preference on the small to big scale, I do find women less attractive if they're truly flat or if their breasts are so big as to look uncomfortable.

Breast reduction is usually a completely different issue, since it's usually done for comfort or health reasons, instead of purely cosmetic. (Though there is surely an occasional cosmetic reason for it, as well, such as if you're small framed but have EE cups or something, and perhaps feel out of proportion because of it.)

What I don't like is the attitude of "real women are -----" when ----- is some specific physique. Often times small-breasted women complain about large breasts as if all of them are fake and "real women don't have bigger than D cups". Larger-breasted women, many of whom are often also larger overall, are fond of phrases like "real women have curves", meaning breasts and hips and the like. But neither of these are true. Real women are as varied in appearance as real men. Some are flat, some are curvy, some are thin, some are fat, and most are somewhere in between.

Edit, to add my response to pressure on men:
Yes, I do feel this pressure. But I don't feel like it's as overt or explicit. I can see an ad or a movie or a picture of someone who's more fit than me, and I do fleetingly wish more of the fat on my body was well-toned muscle. I don't, usually, feel that I'm outright unattractive, though. Rather, I just think I'm not as attractive, at least physically, as the guy I'm seeing.

Also, I'm lazy as all fuck, and so would have to look much worse than I do to really be motivated to carefully watch what I eat and work out and such.
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Postby Shro » Wed Mar 28, 2007 6:09 pm UTC

Hmmm. I don't want to go all conspiracy theory, but when you consider the weight loss industry, how much of an impact would it take if this image of thin beauty was not so pervasive? There's just so much money spent on the *perfect* body, I think it's very unhealthy, especially with girls who have to grow up with this. Imagine being an adolescent in this kind of world. It seems like the pressure to be perfect has only risen recently.

But also, consider third world countries. Their idea of beauty is so so so different. They like curves and weight and such. Perhaps it's some sort of evolutionary way to keep us fit? In third world countries, the lack of nutrition prompts males to seek out mates that would be able to carry a child through hard times? And in an obese country like ours, thin is favored so the mate doesn't die of a heart attack, or obesity, or the numerous diseases in which your predisposition to suffer from them is correlated to weight? Just a thought.
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Postby gmalivuk » Wed Mar 28, 2007 6:51 pm UTC

argyl3 wrote:Hmmm. I don't want to go all conspiracy theory


All you say is too reasonable to be a wacky conspiracy theory. There's a pretty good record of the push earlier in the 20th century for razor companies to increase their marked by telling women they ought to be smooth. And things haven't changed a whole lot since then.

Of course, the weight-loss industry would also take a huge hit if people stopped being obese by doing simple things like walking more.

In third-world countries, beauty ideals depend a whole lot on class. The world over, wealthier people often see American ideals (of appearance as well as of behavior and possessions) as signs of prosperity.

But you're probably right about the reasons, somewhat. In the past of our own culture, and the present of many others, being heavy meant you could obtain food, that you were wealthy. In Europe, being pale meant you didn't have to do outdoor manual labor, that you were wealthy. Now, being thin (in the US) often means you can afford a personal trainer or at least that you have the leisure time necessary to work out. Being tanned means you can afford to travel.
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Postby Lani » Wed Mar 28, 2007 6:52 pm UTC

I think it's more than just nutrition that makes it beauty, but also the implication of wealth involved as well.

I can't remember which one, but there is a South American country - several, I'm sure - in which physical beauty is so important that a large percentage of women go under the knife to achieve it...but they still can't really afford it, so they go to really sketchy doctors who don't do a good job or aren't sanitary. Bad things then happen.

Aldimond brought up a point I was thinking about too - we've accepted that some degree of body modification - which inherently is damage, to greater or lesser degrees - is ok in the pursuit of physical attractiveness. What do you think that line is, separating the acceptable amount and the egad-ew-too-much amount?
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Postby Belial » Wed Mar 28, 2007 6:53 pm UTC

All you say is too reasonable to be a wacky conspiracy theory. There's a pretty good record of the push earlier in the 20th century for razor companies to increase their marked by telling women they ought to be smooth.


How much *more* money could they make if they convinced *men* they had to be smooth, too?

People would have looked at me a lot less strangely back when I shaved my legs.
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Postby space_raptor » Wed Mar 28, 2007 7:18 pm UTC

lani wrote:I think it's more than just nutrition that makes it beauty, but also the implication of wealth involved as well.

I can't remember which one, but there is a South American country - several, I'm sure - in which physical beauty is so important that a large percentage of women go under the knife to achieve it...but they still can't really afford it, so they go to really sketchy doctors who don't do a good job or aren't sanitary. Bad things then happen.

Aldimond brought up a point I was thinking about too - we've accepted that some degree of body modification - which inherently is damage, to greater or lesser degrees - is ok in the pursuit of physical attractiveness. What do you think that line is, separating the acceptable amount and the egad-ew-too-much amount?


I think Brazil is famous for sketchy plastic surgeons.

Personally, I am not super concerned with how I look. I think I look fine. I will never have a sixpack, and I am not jealous of guys who do. Magazine covers don't bother me in the slightest.

I do have concerns regarding my personal level of fitness, though. I would like to weigh less than I do. I would like to be in a little better shape. I have the makings of a beer belly. But I'm not really worried about how I look. Rather, I'm concerned with my level of fitness. I play hockey, and I am an avid skier. I enjoy other sports as well. It is important to me that I play/ski competitively/well, and to do so I need to be in better shape. Also, I think that people who are more fit are generally better off in terms of their energy level, eating habits, and stamina.

I think exercise is good for you. But I don't see a point in working out just so I have muscles to show off. If I'm reasonably strong, and reasonably fit, well, I'm fine with that. If somebody is that concerned with my muscle definition, they can look elsewhere because we're not going to have much to talk about.

Re body mods: I think when the body mod distracts you too much from the person it's too much. I think piercings, tattoos, etc. are cool if they are part of you, even part of who you are. But they shouldn't define you. I think somebody who has so much metal in their face I can't imagine what they would look like without it has gone too far. The underlying person is what's important, accessories aside, and if your identity starts to become tied to body modifications, I think there's a problem.

My girlfriend has mentioned an interest in facial scarification, for personal reasons of her own. The idea really bothers me. It's her decision, but I like her face the way it is, piercings and all, and I disagree with her reasons for doing it. Part of it is that I don't understand why people want to change their appearance so much. Isn't it what's on the inside that's important?
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Postby Belial » Wed Mar 28, 2007 7:25 pm UTC

Aldimond brought up a point I was thinking about too - we've accepted that some degree of body modification - which inherently is damage, to greater or lesser degrees - is ok in the pursuit of physical attractiveness. What do you think that line is, separating the acceptable amount and the egad-ew-too-much amount?


I don't see it as a question of "amount" at all, so much as a question of nature.

Tattoos, Piercings, Outlandish Hair-dyes, coloured contacts that don't appear in nature...these are all obviously unnatural. They're there as decoration, an obvious, blatant modification that is there to be seen and noticed.

That is pretty awesome.

Much of the time, plastic surgery, however, is aimed at modifying in unseen ways to make a person look as though they were born with a more "perfect" body or face. They are meant *not* to be noticed, to make the person "fit in" more.

This, I feel, is less awesome in most cases, unless the person *really* needs it. And no, I can't offer any kind of objective standard for "really needs it"
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Postby Girl™ » Wed Mar 28, 2007 7:42 pm UTC

Belial wrote:Much of the time, plastic surgery, however, is aimed at modifying in unseen ways to make a person look as though they were born with a more "perfect" body or face. They are meant *not* to be noticed, to make the person "fit in" more.

This, I feel, is less awesome in most cases, unless the person *really* needs it. And no, I can't offer any kind of objective standard for "really needs it"


I have a very simple standard for that. "Can this be classified as 'reconstructive'?"
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