Monday, October 16, 2006

The Beauty Myth (or something less articulate)

I had a heated discussion about beauty the other day.

It started with a post I read on another blog. The post was innocent enough, Indy wanted to know if wearing a push-up/padded bra was false advertising or not. A lot of women on the blog came on and made comments along the lines of "Push-up bras are for insecure chicks with small racks" and "It falls into the same line as wearing make-up...girls who wear too much are usually ugly or insecure."

I thought some of these comments were a bit harsh and a bit skewed. I have push-up bras, of course, but do I have a small rack? No. I wear make-up, and sometimes if I go out, what I wear might be considered "too much." But am I ugly? No. Insecure? A little (or a lot, it depends on the day). It made me think that a lot of these girls were either A) blessed with huge boobs therefore they can make snide comments about other girls wanting to measure up or B) really pretty, therefore not needing makeup, and can make more snide comments.

Either way, is it fair to look down on women for "false advertising" and for giving in to societies standard of beauty? Why is OK for these "natural women" to look down on women who don't conform to their standard of what women should be. Is it just to assume that women who put time and care into their appearance are weak and beneath those women who don't give a damn?

Everyone has reasons to do what they do. In my opinion, if a push-up bra or make-up or control top panty-hose or high heels makes a woman feel better about herself, then does it really matter that the reason she feels better about herself is because she then thinks she is more attractive to the opposite sex? Sure, that may seem shallow, but let's assume that this isn't the only thing she does that makes her feel better about herself. Let's assume that she volunteers once a week at a homeless shelter, that she's doing her Masters Degree, that she is a loving mother or friend or girlfriend and that she feels good about herself regardless is she is made up or not. Is it still OK to look down on her because she gives into the societal norms? And if she doesn't have all of that, is it OK still?

Back to the boobs: I had a conversation about this with my BF. In the end, I think he came to the conclusion that it really is false advertising. My conclusion was, how the hell is that false advertising? Granted, my bras don't make me a size bigger, they just "enhance" "shape" and "mold." But come on, even if you are an A cup, I don't think any bra is going to give you B-cup boobs. And I don't think some guy is going to take you home, take off your bra and say "where did they go?" And if he really is that dissapointed by your "false advertising" he's probably not worth your time anyway. But even then, if a chick goes out with mundo boobs that aren't her own (NOT talking about breast implants and surgery...that's an entirely different ball game), in order to make herself feel more confident, is that wrong? Does it matter? If it does, then why?

I have a friend whom thinks she is flat so she often wears a padded-bra. Who is she doing it for? Herself. Does her boyfriend care if she's bigger or not? Nope.

*Sigh* I'm tired and what I'm trying to say isn't coming out so easily. In my head this was an articulate post but I'm afraid there are just so many facets to this topic, I can't focus on just one. So, I'm not really sure what I'm talking about here.

I just saw the Dove video below and it reminded me of this whole "Beauty Myth" we have going on here. I guess, I'm just trying to say that while some women may be confident enough or whatever, to go out without any kind of enhancement whatsoever, there are women who feel better with a little boost to their bust and some mascara. Are either of them wrong? I don't think so.

Maybe in the end, it's all about a balance. Yes, I wear make-up, I even went to school for it. And yes, I like to dress up on the weekends (Ok, if you know me, it might seem like all the time) but it makes me happy. Make-up and clothes are fun for me! But that also doesn't meant I don't go grocery shopping in sweatpants and pimples either. Somedays I give a shit about how I look and somedays I don't. That's healthy for me and whether I gave a damn or didn't most of the time, I don't think it's something that should be held against me.

I'm not sure how all of this ties into this video or not. I just thought it would be a nice send-off about what we are expected to be and so no wonder us "weak" ones fall into conforming to the beauty traps. Our society is fucked and we get the bum rap.

The Evolution Of Beauty

It's just tough sometimes to be a woman.


Anonymous said...


jeff and ross said...

I'm not sure if that's exactly what the boyfriend said in the end.

Wanderlusting said...

Ross ~ I'm pretty sure it is. At least, that's what he said in my version of events (I don't remember the real version because I flew off the handle in a seething fit of dispair and frothing rage over the fact that many of my lovely and expensive lingerie peices were all worn and purchased in vain.)

jeff and ross said...

In that case, we have different versions. I'm pretty sure he brought up the subject of stuffing a bra and how he saw that as different from having a push-up bra or the like. He also says he likes it when you froth.

Wanderlusting said...

And in my version, there was no difference between having a padded-bra or a push-up since most push-ups use padding in order to reach the desired effect. I do have one bra that is supposed to "push-up" with out padding and I really like it. However, I like it because it's lacy, red and delicate. It actually does a crap job of pushing anything up and together. You do need the padding in order to acheive that.

I don't know why I'm going on like this. The point is, no amount of padding is going to give you boobs if you don't already have them. That then negates the false advertising.

I'm getting frothing mad again.

jeff and ross said...

Agreed, padding is used to accentuate and I would say no different from push-ups. Stuffing, on the other hand, is something entirely different.

Kass said...

Push ups are comfy and they make your boobs look good, the kind of people that bitch about how fake they are are either men that think they've been cheated out of boobage or middle aged woman that've had 10 children whom now possess boobs that are so saggy that even a push up cannot help.

Wanderlusting said...

Kass~ hee hee hee. Yeah I mean fine, if you are an A cup and dont feel the need to hide it, then good for you. But if you are an A cup and feel better with a boost, I mean what's the big deal, eh? It's nice that neither of us really need any of that, but if it makes us feel better than who cares??

Ross ~Yeah but, who the hell stuffs their bra anymore? That's so...Grade 7.

Oh, and if there are some of you who are stuffing their bras with tissue, get your butt down to Victoria's Secret!

jeff and ross said...

Well that's the other thing...I know fuck all about this subject, other than what I learn when I hang around at playgrounds at, wait...

Wanderlusting said...

Is your playground frequented by Stripper Moms?

Kass said...

Exactly. Its nobody elses business whether you wear one or not, its completely up to you, for whatever reason :)

jeff and ross said...

Then i will wear, wait...

jeff and ross said...

I think it takes a particular type of bloke/girl to be disappointed when faced with the padding of a push-up bra.

surfercam said...

I'm a fan of any boobs... except man-boobs.

Indiana said...

Opened a can of worms with that post. NTS: Boobs are great. ~grin~

Personally I don't really care if the bra pushes up and is padded, just as I am all for whatever it is that it takes for a woman to feel more self-confident and therefore sexual attractive in her own mind.

If she wants surgery, then go for it. Make up...your choice. Lingerie (well actually I actively support this habit and think it should be encouraged ~grin~)

I simply wondered what my readers, of whom most are women, thought.

M said...

I always wonder why men think that a push up bra is false advertising when there are SO MANY things that women either feel they have to go or just do in order to be more womanly or feel confident (notice how confidence is always so closely associated with looks for women?) - including makeup and even including shaving/waxing. In fact I've known men who get a bit angsty when you don't shave for a while. I mean puhlease.

Women totally manipulate their bodies and then we turn around and say 'oh but I do it for me'. That statement always rings warning bells in my head. It's always women who are so loud in denying that high heels don't hurt even after they are limping or have bunions or back pain or that wearing padded bras is fun. Or even that g-strings are waaay more comfortable than granny cottons. :D I say - girls, wear them if you want - do exactly what you want, when you want - but let's not lie about how much we love every moment of it. I dunno, maybe that's just me.

...No Bra`s Here... said...

I've come to the realization that no amount of bra padding (push-up or not) is going to help me in any way, shape or form. I've been blessed/cursed with small boobs and hated them when I was growing up, but only because it was 'cool' to have bigger boobs. Now that I am old enough to figure out what I want and what makes me happy, I can honestly say, out loud, without a care in the world that I do not wear a bra. I hate them, they are uncomfortable and for myself, hold no purpose. Ahhh!

Matt H said...

I think people are better off playing to their strengths as opposed to trying to mask their deficiencies- or at least their own perceptions of deficiencies. What girl wants to be remembered as 'the one with the great tits' rather than something more meaningful? Or have I got it all ass-backwards and women just want to be remembered for their bodies?

There has to be more than window dressing when it comes to women and frankly, not many girls under 24-25 have much to offer in the way of character. So hoist your mammaries, ladies, but don't fool yourself into thinking thats all you need to do to be an attractive person.

Rachel said...

Interesting discussion.
I have a couple of thoughts. I have a larger size chest but because I breast fed they aren't as perky as they once were. Because they are larger I have to have very firm foundation bras so that I am not droopy and jiggly. Is this false advertising too? I don't do it so that people think "dang...look at those big firm breasts". I do it because I don't like sag.
Secondly. I am a self admitted mascara whore. I have longer eyelashes and I mascara the hell out of them (not Tammy Faye Bakker style) because my eyes are my most striking feature. Then I go light on blush and use a clear or light gloss or lipstick so that it isn't overkill. I also use full coverage foundation because I have very dark circles under my eyes due to allergies when I was young. When I don't wear concealer and foundation everyone tells me how tired I look.
If this is all fake then I am ok with that.

jLow said...

As an old married lady, I know that my husband loves it when we go out and I am looking my best (hair, make-up, enhancing underthings).

After all, that is what caught his attention in the first place.

I don't think any of it is false advertising. It's more like: "Look how good I clean up!! You know you want me!!"

False advertising comes into play when you airbrush your photos (or use someone else's attractive photos) for attracting-the-opposite sex purposes.

If you're looking good and you're standing right there, then it's not false advertising.

It's just good mating ritual sense.

Wanderlusting said...

Rachel ~ I hear that. Even if on some days I don't wear makeup (and there are those days) I still, no matter what, must spackle on the undereye concealer.

By nature, I am a very tired person and I look it too. Even when I'm not tired I have people coming up to me and saying "wow, you look tired" which is just an acceptable (wtf) way of saying "You look like shit!"

To all ~ So yes. Concealer is good all the time. Push-up bras are good when I feel fat and need to balance out my fat ass. High heels are never good cuz I fall over.

And the truth is, it is fun sometimes to go flouncing about without a bra but because im in a B/C zone, it's not exactly...unoticeable. Great for smaller chests cuz they can get away with it...and not have to worry about people yelling "MOOOOOOO!" at you.

..another good thing about smaller chests though, is that they make you look slimmer. There have been times in the past (when I was almost a D) that I would actually gravitate towards tops that supressed my boobs since having them smaller made me feel skinnier.

I don't know. It's all a big mess. Yes we do it for ourselves. And yes we do it for men. And sometimes we do it for women.

Here is something funny I noticed...I'll go to work with my makeup on, looking acceptable albeit tired. Then by 11 AM, all my makeup has either melted off or picked off or whatever. And I look like crap. And despite being surrounded by a bunch of boys at work, I embrace my crappy look and don't bother redoing my makeup until I'm heading out the door and on my see my boyfriend (who doesn't care if I look like crap either way).

jeff and ross said...

Your boy would probably say that's because you're beautiful to him all the time.

Wanderlusting said...

OK...what do you want?

C'est la vie!! said...

false advertisement LOL...if they feel so upset...then have the girl were the push up bra for the whole ordeal....stop criticizing womens bodies...lets turn around and talk about men's body...naked men are disgusting but we (women) still love ya anyway...

BTW, I wear push up bras all the time and I am a size D...and they are real and they are spectacular :P

Vegas Princess said...

I liked this post. It touched on a lot of issues we have plaguing our society today. For me, wearing a push-up bra is necessary for support. Without one I feel like I am swinging all over the place. I do not do it to "advertise" my goodies. And I wear make-up to make me feel better. My husband likes me better with nothing on my face.