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Thread: Who has more sense of beauty? Men or Women?

  1. #1
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    Who has more sense of beauty? Men or Women?

    All of us overtly or covertly admire beauty and love to be beautiful and sexy though ostensibly we may say this is all vanity. However I feel that it is mostly women who are more concerned about good looks. It has always been true historically and sociologically all over the world. Why is this so and why men have less concern about this though they too want to have better looks? This is true of both patriarchal and matriarchal societies. Women are more glued to beauty. I simply wonder what chemistry makes women hooked to beauty?

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    Ebulliently Eclectic irinmisfit92's Avatar
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    As someone who has been emotionally bullied because she's fat and called ugly by her ex-classmates, I think women are mainly glued to beauty because they want to feel a lot better about themselves and they want to look good in front of others.

    I know the latter doesn't apply to everyone, but I personally feel that women have this competitive DNA inside them. For instance, I can get really jealous over other girls' bodies and sense of fashion and always self-consciously try to change myself to look like them as well. I transformed a lot since I was young, because now I wear more provocative dresses because I want to look sexy in front of other people; not only men, but also women.

    I'm stating a fact that a lot of guys actually take into great consideration outward appearances when they are trying to find the right girl. Of course, I'm not saying that girls don't entirely look at appearances, but I think it's less of a consideration. I've seen a lot of couples, and my friend also agrees with me that girls tend to look less at the guy's outward appearance. This is because mainly to a girl the guy's attitude matters a lot and it's especially good if the guy can make the girl comfortable, entertained, and feel appreciated.

    When I changed the way I dressed, I'm not saying that guys immediately want to date me or whatever, because it's totally not true, but the way people look at me is slightly different. The reason why some people are popular and some people aren't is sometimes very determined by his/her outward appearance.

    I know that some guys seriously do not take into consideration outward looks, and I applaud them for that, but I know it's just a natural instinct to be attracted to someone who has a toned body and good features. In the end, however, everyone is attractive in their own way IF they make the effort to do something.

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    Maybe because if something is beautiful it's more likely to be healthy - in evolutionary terms.

    I know that I've always been very drawn to beauty. Even as a little girl, I was admiring beautiful women. But I think that my perception of what I see as physically beautiful is heavily influenced, on a subconscious level, by other factors.

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    That is not true that woman care more about appearance than men. I suppose in some countries men are bred more barbaricaly - but in Italy and France and many other countries in europe men care just as much about their personal beauty as women. Why wouldn't a man want to be as handsome and atractive as possible?

    Looking back historicaly the greatest "dandies" were always men. It could be said that this is because women did have social "inferiority" pre 20th century, but in terms of fashion woman have always stood on equal footing to men, but men have always excelled more at it.

    Obviously there is a social context - now everyone in the western world is rich enough to care about such things, but before only the aristocracy and wealthy merchants could pursue the art of self-beauty.

    And to deviate a little - why do you applaud men who do not take into consideration outword looks? Outword looks are not randomly given - most people work hard to be beautifull, and the majority of ugly people are ugly because they don't put any effort into it. Beauty much like intelligence needs to be cultivated. I mean everyone who has experuianced the world a little knows that appearnce matters a lot. People who are better looking are always treated better than those who are less better looking. Much in the same way that the cultured are treated always better than the ignorant. The ugly and the ingorant inspire riddicoule, and the beautifull and cultured inspire respect. Because the former tend to be the type of people who say "it's not my fault I am this way, it's because of x and y and z and every excuse imaginable. The latter are the people who say " Ok I am not perfect, but I shall always aim for perfection because my only obstacle is myself"

    The outside and inside are not indipendant of each other - they tend to be highly linked.

    To say "I dont care about appearnce, Just what is on the inside" is just as shallow as saying "I dont care about the inside I care only about apperance".
    Last edited by Alexander III; 10-19-2011 at 01:47 PM.

  5. #5
    Ecurb Ecurb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alexander III View Post

    To say "I dont care about appearnce, Just what is on the inside" is just as shallow as saying "I dont care about the inside I care only about apperance".
    Oh, come off it, Alexander. Caring about appearance is CALLED “shallow” because the surface is “shallow” and the “inside” is “deep” ((i.e. “beneath the surface”). Given that “shallow” is a metaphor that MEANS "on the surface", your comment is clearly ridiculous.

    I will grant that in many cultures men preen just as much as women do. Among birds, it is the males that are brightly colored.

    However, beauty does not “need to be cultivated”. Some people are beautiful with or without working at it. Tigers are beautiful, as are birds of Paradise. I doubt they “work at it”.

    The ugly may “inspire ridicule” from you – but if they do, it is because you are a jerk, not because they deserve it.

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    somewhere else Helga's Avatar
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    My best friend often says that I see people in another way than most do,of course I have a sense of beauty but for some reason it is not the same as my friends and people around me. My son is a good example for a male that thinks about the way he (and I) looks. He can cry because his hair isn't cool enough and if I don't want to wear a dress, I hate dresses. I think most people want to be pretty but have different ways to show it and express it.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right?, we look for different things in people, my sister in law for example loves men with crooked noses, not every girl does.

    as for dressing sexy, I am not a fan of that!
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    Original Poster Buh4Bee's Avatar
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    It's just youth speaking. When we age, we care less.

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    Ghost in the Machine Michael T's Avatar
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    Interesting post Osho.

    Here’s an argument…

    What if it probably has a great deal more to do with women’s role in societies over the centuries than any genetic make-up? Perhaps evidence for this might be found in the way men are now becoming far more concerned in their appearance - due almost entirely, it could be argued, from the bombardment / pressure of advertising both on television and in magazines. Cosmetic companies have tapped into a massive new market by convincing males they too need to look beautiful in order to be a successful or even a ‘normal’ attractive member of society.
    It could be that this has been compounded by a massive shift in Western Society towards ‘style’ over ‘substance’ a kind of dumbing down of society through democratisation. Political correctness means everyone is equal – regardless of accomplishments. What if nowadays everybody can be successful because all you have to do is look fashionable, pretty or smart in your appearance? Have people become more worried about what they look like or how they are immediately perceived by others than they are of becoming rounded human beings with a good education and understanding of art and culture and the accomplishment of good deeds? Is the ‘easy way’ to be successful more attractive to the masses than the hard work required to become all that you can be – to achieve the sort of thing I think the ancient Greek philosophers called Eudemonia
    Do we now live in an extremely narcissistic society where many people only look for beauty in the mirror? Aren’t high-heels, eye-liner, lipstick and men’s hair-gel just a corruption forced on humanity by the twisted values of past civilisations and now corporate greed?
    If one goes to a museum or an art gallery, or even a National Park one finds as many males as females; is this because an appreciation of true beauty, the beauty found in both art and nature is innate or genetic in both sexes to the same degree?
    Last edited by Michael T; 10-20-2011 at 06:21 AM. Reason: Change conclusion to bold type.

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    Artist and Bibliophile stlukesguild's Avatar
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    Alexander III- To say "I dont care about appearnce, Just what is on the inside" is just as shallow as saying "I dont care about the inside I care only about apperance".

    Oh, come off it, Alexander. Caring about appearance is CALLED “shallow” because the surface is “shallow” and the “inside” is “deep” ((i.e. “beneath the surface”).

    It seems to me that as unpopular as Alexander's view's may be, he is simply being a realist in this discussion. As much as we may wish to deny it, appearances do matter. We all take this into consideration when applying for a job. Appearance is also a key element in sexual attraction. We are quite likely not going to be sexually attracted to someone whom we find to be unattractive, but is intelligent, has a great sense of humor, and a winning personality. AS a visual artist I always bristle with a degree of indignation every time I come across these statements as to the shallowness (ie. superficiality) of appearances.

    At the risk of repeating an earlier post, I find Denis Dutton's exploration of aesthetic and evolutionary psychology to be quite interesting:

    While the Darwinian mechanism of natural selection has proved to be one of the most versatile and powerful explanatory ideas in all of science, there is another, lesser-known, side of Darwinism: sexual selection. The most famous example of sexual selection is the peacock’s tail. This huge display, far from enhancing survival in the wild, makes peacocks more prone to predation. The tails are heavy, requiring much energy to grow and to drag around. This seems to be nature’s point: simply being able to manage with a tail like that functions as an advertisement to peahens: “Look at what a strong, healthy, fit peacock I am.” For discriminating peahens, the tail is a fitness indicator, and they will choose to mate with peacocks who display the grandest tails.

    Fundamental to sexual selection in the animal kingdom is female choice, as the typical routine for most species has males displaying strength, cleverness, and general genetic fitness in order to invite female participation in producing the next generation. With the human animal, there is a greater mutuality of choice. Geoffrey Miller holds not only that sexual selection is the source of the traits we tend to find the most endearingly human-qualities of character, talent, and demeanour — but that artistic creativity and enjoyment came into being in the Pleistocene in the process of women and men choosing sexual partners. The notion that we can alter ourselves through sexual selection is well accepted: there are striking examples of human sexual selection at work even in recent, historic times. The Wodaabe of Nigeria and Niger are beloved by travel photographers because of their geere wol festivals, where young men make themselves up, in ways that look feminine to Europeans, and dance vigorously to display endurance and health. Women then choose their favourites, preferring the tallest men with the biggest eyes, whitest teeth, and straightest noses. Over generations, the Wodaabe have grown taller than neighbouring tribes, with whiter teeth, straighter noses, etc. If it is possible to observe this kind of change in a few centuries, it is clearly possible to remake or refine Homo sapiens in tens of thousands of generations. As with natural selection, just slight choice bias over long time periods could radically reform aspects of humanity, giving us species features of personality and character that we have in effect created for ourselves. Our ancestors exercised their tastes for “warm, witty, creative, intelligent, generous companions’as mates, and this shows itself both in the constitution of our present tastes and traits, and in our tendency to create and appreciate art.

    It is sexual selection, therefore, that is plausibly responsible for the astonishingly large human brain, an organ whose peculiar capacities wildly exceed survival needs on the African savannahs. The human brain makes possible a mind that is uniquely good at a long list of features that are found in all cultures but are difficult to explain in terms of survival benefits: “humor, story-telling, gossip, art, music, self-consciousness, ornate language, imaginative ideologies, religion, morality”. From the standpoint of sexual selection, the mind is best seen as a gaudy, over-powered home entertainment system, evolved to help our stone-age ancestors to attract, amuse, and bed each other.

    As a telling example of the human self-created overabundance of mental capacity, consider vocabulary. Nonhuman primates have up to twenty distinct calls. The average human knows perhaps 60,000 words, learned at an average of ten to twenty a day up to age 18. As 98 per cent of daily speech uses only about 4,000 words, and no more than a couple of thousand words at most would have sufficed in the Pleistocene, the excess vocabulary is well explained by sexual selection theory as a fitness and general intelligence indicator. Miller points out that the correlate between body symmetry — a well-known fitness indicator — and intelligence is only about 20 per cent. Vocabulary size, on the other hand, is more strongly correlated to intelligence, which is why it is still used both in scientific testing and more generally by people automatically to gauge how clever a person is. Such an indicator is especially telling in courtship contexts. Indeed, extravagant, poetic use of language — including a large vocabulary and syntactic virtuosity — is associated worldwide with love, being a kind of cognitive foreplay. But it is also, he points out, something that can “give a panoramic view of someone’s personality, plans, hopes, fears, and ideals.” It would therefore have been an essential item in the inventory of mate selection criteria.

    The human tendency to create amusements, to elaborate and decorate everywhere in life, is therefore a result of mate choices, accounting for the evolution of dancing, body decoration, clothing, jewellery, hair styling, architecture, furniture, gardens, artefact design, images from cave paintings to calendars, creative uses of language, popular entertainments from religious pageants to TV soaps, and music of all kinds. Artistic expression in general, like vocabulary creation and verbal display, has its origins according to sexual selection in its utility as a fitness indicator: “Applied to human art, this suggests that beauty equals difficulty and high cost. We find attractive those things that could have been produced only by people with attractive, high-fitness qualities such as health, energy, endurance, hand-eye coordination, fine motor control, intelligence, creativity, access to rare materials, the ability to learn difficult skills, and lots of free time”. This view accords with a persistent intuition about art that can be traced from the Greeks to Nietzsche and Freud: art is somehow connected, at base, to sex. The mistake in traditional art theorizing has been to imagine that there must be some coded or sublimated sexual content in art. But it is not the content per se that sexual: it is the display element of producing and admiring artists and their art in the first place that has grounded art in sexuality since the beginnings of the human race.

    To the extent that art-making was a fitness indicator in the Pleistocene, it would have to be something that low-fitness artists would find hard to duplicate. (Were it easy to fake, then it would not be accurate as a gauge of fitness.) The influence of the Pleistocene mind on the concept of art therefore provides us with a perspective, at least at a psychological level, on some of the modern problems of philosophical aesthetic. Consider virtuosity: if music is a series of sounds in a formal relation, why should it make any difference to us that the sounds of a Paganini caprice are also difficult to realize on a violin? From the standpoint of sexual selection theory, this is no issue: virtuosity, craftsmanship, and the skilful overcoming of difficulties are intrinsic to art as display.

    And difficulty isn’t all: art also involves costliness. As the economist Thorstein Veblen has said, “The marks of expensiveness come to be accepted as beautiful features of the expensive articles”. As much as this might contradict the modernist devaluing of skill and cost as central to the concept of art, it is in line with persistent popular reactions to art, showing up in the liking of skilful realistic painting, musical virtuosity, and expensive architectural details. This may not justify the philistinism of asking how much a famous museum painting is worth, but it does explain it.

    Admiration for the ability to do something difficult is not unique to art: we admire athletes, inventors, skilful orators or jugglers; and admiration of skill is at least as intrinsic to art as to any other field of human endeavour. Ellen Dissanayake has identified a process of “making special’as essential to the arts as practised from the Pleistocene to the present. However, whereas she sees making special as something that tends to promote an intense communal sense in a hunter-gatherer group, Miller interprets the phenomenon as more connected with display: “Indicator theory suggests that making things special means making them hard to do, so that they reveal something special about the maker”. It follows that almost anything can be made artistic by executing it in a manner that would be difficult to imitate. “Art” as an honorific therefore “connotes superiority, exclusiveness, and high achievement”, and so would be useful as a fitness indicator.

    If this is true, the vulgar gallery remark, “My kid could paint better than that”, is vindicated as valid at least from the standpoint of sexual selection, and can be expected to be heard in popular artistic contexts for the rest of human time: people are not going to “learn” from their culture that skill does not count (any more than they will learn that general body symmetry does not indicate fitness). Moreover, even with the elites it is really not so different: the skill discriminations of elites are simply accomplished at a more rarefied level. Cy Twombly’s blackboard scribbles, which look to many ordinary folk like, well, children’s blackboard scribbles, are viewed by high-art critics as demonstrating an extremely refined artistic skill. That the works do not obviously show skill to the uninitiated simply demonstrates that they are being produced at a level that the unsophisticated cannot grasp. The esoteric nature of art, and with its status and hierarchy, thus remains in place.

    As with interests and inclination determined by natural selection, the ultimate reasons for the values we inherit through sexual selection are not understandable through immediate introspection. Ripe fruits taste deliciously sweet, while rotting meat is repellent, for sound biological reasons, although we may not know through immediate experience why these things generate, respectively, pleasure and disgust. Similarly, according to sexual selection theory, we find great pleasure in pastimes such as art and music, in probing conversation with charming company, in great displays of athletic prowess, in a striking metaphor or a well told story. The fact that these activities and experiences can afford so much pleasure too requires an explanation, and so far sexual selection theory provides one of the most plausible and provocative accounts we have.


    Now no one would suggest that we are controlled solely by base animal instincts. Obviously, we have the capability to employ reason and logic and empathy and other emotions. We also have our spiritual longings.

    William Blake, in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell argued:

    All Bibles or sacred codes have been the causes of the following Errors:

    1. That Man has two real existing principles Viz: a Body & a Soul.
    2. That Energy, call'd Evil, is alone from the Body, & that Reason, call'd Good, is alone from the Soul.
    3. That God will torment Man in Eternity for following his Energies.


    Blake, a Romantic, was questioning the notions of the Enlightenment that suggested that humanity was essentially a divided being... that reason and logic... all that was GOOD, stemmed from that side of humanity that rejected his or her "base animal instincts". On the other hand, emotions, passions, desires... the base animal instinct which stemmed from the body were clearly EVIL. Rousseau, went to the other extreme, suggesting that all that was wrong with humanity and civilization stemmed from reason, logic, and civilization itself. Blake was suggesting that there is no such divide. We are our bodies as well as our minds. That which we see... visual appearances... can be just as profound as that which we hear or taste or dream or think or imagine.

    Aren’t high-heels, eye-liner, lipstick and men’s hair-gel just a corruption forced on humanity by the twisted values of past civilisations and now corporate greed?

    Are they? How is the desire to change one's appearance, whether is be in order to make oneself appear more sexually attractive or to put forth a given image of oneself to potential employers, clients, coworkers, etc... inherently different from the desire to "improve" one's environment through architecture, interior design, art, decoration, etc...?
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    Simple Darwinian explanations of the presumed female bias towards ornamentation in humans is problematic. First of all, because the majority of cases in nature tell us that female partner choice and male intrasexual competition are the major drivers of sexual selection. So, we should expect men to be the ornamental sex.

    Darwin, in The Descent of Man, argues that human culture has created a situation where women are deprived of the ability to make choices, thus they have become the sex most influence by sexual selection. However, this is problematic, because men, even if they are making the choices, would be expected to impregnate pretty much any woman.

    Another possibility, is that the history of humanity has generally resulted in a population bias in favor of women, there have traditionally been more women than men, (because men would die in higher numbers in hunting and tribal warfare) which meant that possibly some women would have had to compete for male matches, especially in conditions where food was limited and a woman without a man to support her would not survive. This could explain how certain traits like light eye colours spread so rapidly in Ice Age Europe.

    Although, as Alex and Stlukes have pointed out, other matters of sexual selection, like possibly humour (as a display of mental prowess) or the lack of a penis bone in humans (this has been proposed by Dawkins as a possible way for women to tell healthy men apart from unhealthy ones, in other primates an erection is a far simpler affair), seem present in men. Facial hair, square jaws and broadened shoulders could be a result of sexual selection in males as a result of female choice.

    Then we inevitably come to the problem of cultural bias in interpretation. Men certainly do care about being appealing, however this doesn't always come down to physical appearance. Behaviours, like the example of humour, are related to sexual choice as well. Evolutionarily, a man able to present the appearance of a supporter is likely using a reproductive strategy just as successful as that of a man putting out an image of physical health. Fitness is dependent on environment, it is not a quality inherent to the trait.

    I do think we place too much emphasis on physical appearances, as much as we do love them. For many people it will be the man who is presenting the "supporter role" rather than the "good genes" that will be chosen by the woman. And humour, personality, and intelligence are equally in that "good genes" camp as physical fitness. It's too simplistic to reduce the role of sexual selection down to merely appearances, and that is if we ignore the role culture plays in all of this.
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    Here is a thought - so far we have all corelated appearnce and sexual atraction. But what about the desire to appear beautifull around the same-sex?

    For example most guys I know - will dress up and perfume themselves and do their hair when they are going out, but if they are staying in the house with just guys they will remain unwashed.

    Personaly even If I Know that I shall be with a group of guys, I still dress myself and arrange myself just as if I was going to be with girls. For me it is not so much about being sexualy attractive as much as it is about being beautifull?

    Most women if I am not mistaken tend to be like me- as in they do not only make themselves beautiful when around men, but all the time, because the priority is being beautifull not sexualy atractive.

    And @ Ecurb Of course beauty must be cultivated. If Byron had grown up on an island in a vacume - he probably would have been stupid and ugly.

    Maybe you are one of those 0.0000000001% who no matter what they do look beautifull. But for everyone else the second they stop caring, and taking care of their apperances is the second they start being ugly.

    And how is it cruel that the ugly inspire ridicoule, is cruel. My cousin is obese. I took him to gym once, he quit the thread mill after 3 minutes. People who have weak wills are weak willed in everything. The same man who wont excerisise because "it is too hard" is the same that wont do anything in life "because it is to hard".

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    Registered User Emil Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael T View Post
    Aren’t high-heels, eye-liner, lipstick and men’s hair-gel just a corruption forced on humanity by the twisted values of past civilisations and now corporate greed?
    Well I use hair gel to stop my hair from looking its naturally untidy self but I'm unable to find an excuse for any man who wears high-heels, eye liner and lipstick.
    "L'art de la statistique est de tirer des conclusions erronèes a partir de chiffres exacts." Napoléon Bonaparte.

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    Ghost in the Machine Michael T's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emil Miller View Post
    Well I use hair gel to stop my hair from looking its naturally untidy self but I'm unable to find an excuse for any man who wears high-heels, eye liner and lipstick.


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    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emil Miller View Post
    Well I use hair gel to stop my hair from looking its naturally untidy self but I'm unable to find an excuse for any man who wears high-heels, eye liner and lipstick.
    I know this is supposed to have just the opposite effect on the reader but now all I can picture is Emil sitting primly in front of his computer, sipping wine delicately while wearing high-heels, eye liner and lipstick... Pushing his gelled hair back in frustration as he shakes his head impatiently at a rogue comment (like this one) he reads on the Forum.

    Quote Originally Posted by osho View Post
    All of us overtly or covertly admire beauty and love to be beautiful and sexy though ostensibly we may say this is all vanity. However I feel that it is mostly women who are more concerned about good looks. It has always been true historically and sociologically all over the world. Why is this so and why men have less concern about this though they too want to have better looks? This is true of both patriarchal and matriarchal societies. Women are more glued to beauty. I simply wonder what chemistry makes women hooked to beauty?
    Even though the thread title asks whether it is men or women who has more sense of beauty (which I initially took to be about appreciation of art or aesthetically pleasant pieces), it seems like Osho has already made that decision for us: it is women. And he is not actually talking about aesthetic appreciation but asking who is more "vain" when it comes to how people physically represent themselves.

    Looking from that perspective, I am not sure I want to contribute anything to this discussion where "women = vain".

    Need to go and curl my hair, get my nails done or something, you see...

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    Registered User PoeticPassions's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by osho View Post
    All of us overtly or covertly admire beauty and love to be beautiful and sexy though ostensibly we may say this is all vanity. However I feel that it is mostly women who are more concerned about good looks. It has always been true historically and sociologically all over the world. Why is this so and why men have less concern about this though they too want to have better looks? This is true of both patriarchal and matriarchal societies. Women are more glued to beauty. I simply wonder what chemistry makes women hooked to beauty?

    Has it been true historically and sociologically all over the world? I beg to differ, particularly in a lot of hunter and gatherer societies.
    Furthermore, I think that often the perception of what women were like and what women liked were shaped by men.
    Women may appreciate beauty more (I am not sure whether this is true or not), but maybe because women are the fairer sex anyway.

    And if we think about all the ways in which we have been socialized, and bombarded with media images constantly, then it might make sense why women care so much about appearance. There is a documentary about this that I watched part of (it was terrific): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gkIiV6konY
    "All gods are homemade, and it is we who pull their strings, and so, give them the power to pull ours." -Aldous Huxley

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