You are all going to die

You are going to die. That’s the fate of every single living thing. Except maybe those Time Lord jellyfish. But well, they’re jellyfish. I’m sure they lead full lives of the jellyfish kind, and are fine with being jellyfish, because it’s not like they can get cable in the middle of the ocean so they can know what they’re missing. For example, they’re missing the upcoming US presidential election. And um… why can’t I be an immortal jellyfish? Why, God, why?

Anyway… Kathy Shaidle linked to this article in the Daily Mail about a woman who is shocked, yes shocked, to find out that her young, smooth, slender body has transformed into a less young, less smooth, less slender body over the years. The idea of the article is that aging is a horrible thing to happen to women, how unfair, waa waa waa.

Okay. Here’s the thing. I find the older woman much more attractive than the younger one. Maybe that’s just me, but I don’t find skin and bones to be sexy. Also, the younger girl is just too young. Maybe that inexperienced, untouched look turns some men and women on, but it just makes me skeevy. The older woman’s body looks lived in and experienced, like someone who has done things and thought things, some of them possibly interesting. And hell, I should look so good.

But. I am starting to be disturbed by what I have been seeing in some parts of the conservative/libertarian/rightwing internet recently: a resurgence in preoccupation with unrealistic and unhealthy standards of female beauty. It was fun to admire Condoleeza Rice and Sarah Palin’s good looks; it was less fun to read petty slams on Hillary Clinton for looking her age and wearing pants suits. That was then. Then I started reading various HBD and men’s rights websites, until I had to quit because I couldn’t see the text for all the hatred of any woman who dared not wear high heels and makeup any time she ventured out of doors, and worse, was over 20 and hadn’t joined an alpha male harem, and worst of all, dared to be overweight — and by “overweight” they meant “is not a stick with boobs and hair.”

What I really hate, though, is I’m starting to see women joining in. Crying because they aren’t young and skinny any more. Criticizing female political figures they don’t agree with by using their looks against them. I’m going to confess something: I love Hillary Clinton’s Dr. Evil outfit. All she has to do is get a dueling scar and be interviewed petting a white cat and she has my vote. (Why vote for the lesser evil indeed?) But from my supposed fellow rightwingers (who aren’t really my fellows these days, but you’re starting to figure that out, aren’t you?) all I saw were sneers and juvenile jibes. That’s worse than the pants suit thing.

I stopped calling myself a feminist because feminists had gotten so silly over the past few decades. The silliness culminated back in the late 80s, when women threw themselves under the bus for the right to none other than Hillary Clinton’s husband to sexually assault all the young female underlings he wanted, so long as he threw the ladies a couple of crumbs of power every now and then. As far as I was concerned feminism as a movement of any importance on planet Earth died when that woman, whose name I have mercifully erased from my memory, said she’d give Bill Clinton a blow job as long as legal abortion was safe.

Still, that doesn’t mean everything feminists said was wrong. They were right about a lot of things, and one of the things the were right about was that our society had unhealthy standards of beauty for women. It disturbs me to see that so many women in the 21st century still think that there is nothing wrong with saying that it would take them years to “recover” from seeing a photograph of their older nude body. That is wrong. I don’t care if it’s “honest.” Young women hearing this from older women will internalize the idea that older women are ugly, that they are only valuable when they are young and skinny. And young women who aren’t skinny (that is, don’t fit into the current sickly, borderline starving ideal of female beauty) have it even worse, because they’ll get the idea that they are already not valuable and they never will be. What is that I can’t even.

And don’t tell me men get treated the same way and have the same feelings of worthlessness when they’re old because it’s not true and you know it. Women have always had to bear the burden of knowing they’ll be considered useless and ugly when they are no longer young and smooth-skinned while men get told things like “older men look distiguished.” Don’t even lie to me and tell me it’s not so. Men won’t lift a finger to put a stop to it because why would they? They’re getting all the benefits of this system. It’s up to women to quit perpetuating it by playing the game. We can start by stopping — stop moaning about how ugly we are, stop crying over the waistline we had when we were young and stupid, stop agreeing with other women that growing old and even (gasp!) not ever finding a man and ending up living alone is the most horrible thing that could ever happen. I can think of a lot more horrible fates — like being young, pretty, and in a coffin.

16 thoughts on “You are all going to die

  1. Starless

    I am starting to be disturbed by what I have been seeing in some parts of the conservative/libertarian/rightwing internet recently

    This, IMO, is in no small part the kind of “backlash” feminists hope for and engender (no pun intended). If you’re a man who is well-intentioned, doesn’t want to be labeled a sexist, have been told repeatedly that setting any standards regarding physical appearance is “lookist”, yet retain any sort of backbone, eventually you’re going to figure out that you’ve been manipulated for the sake of a political power play. The result is that you’re going to be pissed off about being duped and will respond in one way or another.

    The trouble, as you point out, is that too many men decide that gives them permission to act like jackasses which serves to give feminists ammunition in their holy crusade against what they’ve decided is a War Against Women.

    “older men look distiguished.”

    I dunno. Paunchy and bald looks paunchy and bald. I’m not arguing that it’s an equivalent situation, but men do experience pressure to look as youthful, and more importantly be as youthfully vigorous, as possible. If you watch TV, you’ll see that there’s no shortage of hair replacement, workout equipment, “Low T” (WTF?) and the inevitable weiner medication commercials (no, Bob Dole, I really don’t want to know whether you can get it up anymore or not).

    Getting old isn’t an excuse to let yourself go to Hell, then again if someone can’t accept that some expansion and sagging is inevitable and not the end of the world, he or she really needs to reassess whether they have a realistic self-image or not.

    1. HKatz

      You say that these jackass attitudes are “in no small part” a backlash against feminist manipulation, but in fact they’ve always existed, so I don’t know to what extent they’re now a backlash. Maybe they’re rearing up again in fuller force now (or maybe we think we see a lot more of it now because of internet and mass media, which can help with the quick widespread dissemination of jackass thoughts from pretty much anyone), but the picture you’re painting of guys who were well-intentioned – and seriously meant no disrespect, ever! – now thinking that they’ve been manipulated one too many times and can be assholes, is a bit far-fetched (or at least doesn’t begin to get at the root of the problem) and kind of ignores the fact that these attitudes have been around for ages, and also exist in societies where there hasn’t been any feminism or much of a feminist movement (in many of those places they’re also harsh on female looks and on the “decreased value” of older women, especially for women who try to step out of whatever role has been assigned to them – women who never marry or won’t/can’t have kids, or career women or the few that are politicians for instance will still commonly be described as ‘manly’, ‘ugly’, ‘slutty’ by people who are against them), though the label of slut is more likely to be applied to her if she’s conventionally good-looking. Either way it comes back to her looks or the extent to which she can be used sexually.

      Also, except for maybe some truly radical feminists (who tend to be among the most vocal ones, alas), I’ve never met a self-described feminist in my life who thought that having “any standards” is lookist. Mostly lookism has come up in workplace issues, where men and women who aren’t deemed attractive (because they’re short, overweight, etc.) tend not to be judged by their actual performance but by their looks. I haven’t met people who honestly believe that you can date or have sex without any physical standards; granted those standards can vary widely from one person to another, and don’t have to follow one ‘type’ or whatever, but people acknowledge that they exist.

      And there have always been quite a few women out there who’ll join in or even start up the criticism on another woman’s looks, in part to put that woman in her place. I don’t think this is new either, though I’m not sure if there’s more of this behavior now than there was before. The thing is, I think there are many decent men and women out there who aren’t toxic or misogynist, but especially on the internet and on mainstream media it feels like the jerks are the most vocal and have the most presence.

      As for the remark about having a paunch, a paunch will always be judged worse on a woman than on a man, but I do agree with you that men have their own standards of youth that are pushed on them. Part of the reason is that they get the message that if they can look and act more virile (even with a distinguished touch of gray at their temples), they’ll able to score with anyone, including younger women. If they aren’t virile, if they don’t have endurance and can’t get it up on command, then they’re told they don’t “measure up.” That they’re useless, past their prime, etc. So that’s why we get to see Bob Dole in Viagra ads.

      I think it’s great for people to keep being active and healthy into old age, so you can still take long walks and travel and not be confined to a bed in a nursing home for years. Exercise will increase the chances of better quality of life as you age. But there’s no reason to turn this into an impossible obsession with looking young or acting young forever, which will never happen, and why would you want it to happen? It’s pretty depressing to look at older people who are trying so hard to mask every sign of age (and with it, they usually mask their maturity and whatever wisdom they’ve scraped into themselves throughout the years).

    2. Starless

      so I don’t know to what extent they’re now a backlash

      To the extent that it’s politicized by the feminist Left. In particular, look at the entire 1990s.

      the picture you’re painting of guys who were well-intentioned – and seriously meant no disrespect, ever! – now thinking that they’ve been manipulated one too many times and can be assholes, is a bit far-fetched

      Maybe you missed it, but I didn’t say that I thought such behavior was excusable or acceptable in any way. I said “behave like jackasses” for a reason — they have free will and can decide for themselves how to respond, whether to take the high road or the low road. They chose to take the low road and I think that’s wrong.

      these attitudes have been around for ages, and also exist in societies where there hasn’t been any feminism or much of a feminist movement

      And that’s precisely it. Within the realm of nature v. nurture, as with all Leftist identity movements, feminism would like us all to believe that nurturing can completely trump nature. If only we feminize boys, force men to attend sexual harassment seminars, and continuously “educate” the public with the idea, an idea which they have decided accurately reflects reality, that all men are potential predators who must change their nature, they will be able to tear down the patriarchal political superstructure and replace it with a benevolent gynocractic ruling class.

      That last bit may be a little over the top but I don’t think it’s too far from the argument I’ve heard from feminists for at least three decades.

      I’ve never met a self-described feminist in my life who thought that having “any standards” is lookist.

      That statement is diametrically opposed to the reality I’ve seen for some time. Feminism is so big on how critical “cultural messages” are to individual self-image and yet when it comes to something as obvious as the constant message that men who makes judgments about women based on their looks are always shallow, crass, and driven only by their gonads, then it’s “move along, nothing to see here”.

      there are many decent men and women out there who aren’t toxic or misogynist

      That’s also precisely it. The way it works though is that “society” usually doesn’t get credit for producing such people, yet the feminist Left would like to place all of the blame on “society” for people who are toxic and misogynistic.

      a paunch will always be judged worse on a woman than on a man

      I said that it wasn’t equivalent. Andrea asserted that men are “told things like ‘older men look distinguished‘” and I responded by suggesting that not all older men look distinguished and I’d add here that they’re not even told that they look distinguished. In fact, most men, unless they are blessed by genetics or have the cash for artificial intervention, end up paunchy and bald.

    3. HKatz

      Maybe you missed it, but I didn’t say that I thought such behavior was excusable or acceptable in any way. I said “behave like jackasses” for a reason — they have free will and can decide for themselves how to respond…

      But Starless, some would argue with you and say that “boys will be boys.” That’s just naturally how they behave, acting out on their sexual thoughts and judgments, so stop feminizing them. It’s just a part of their nature.

      Speaking of using the word “nature…”

      Within the realm of nature v. nurture, as with all Leftist identity movements, feminism would like us all to believe that nurturing can completely trump nature.

      What makes me wary about arguments that easily invoke “nature” is that “nature” is a term that’s been bandied about to excuse many pernicious practices (and attitudes) in the past that we have thankfully gotten rid of or softened in western society (I mean, this was part of your reply to my comment about how certain attitudes towards women have existed for ages – you’re suggesting that if they’ve existed for a long time, these attitudes can be explained by “nature”, maybe nature alone, and can’t be overridden to a great extent). In fact, we don’t always know what to attribute to “nature” and what to “nurture” (and how about the interaction between the two? Another complication) But “nature” is often invoked as a way to just accept everything as it is.

      For instance “natural impulses” and “natural order” are used to justify marriages to underaged girls and pedophiliac practices with girls and boys in other societies around the world (and historically in western history as well). “Nature” has been used to explain why children from the lower classes should be working long hours in the bottom of coal mines (because, you know, there are biological/genetic differences between them and upper or middle class children). “Nature” has been used to defend slavery and eugenics and misogynistic and racist practices and many other abuses and thoughts. Those were just “natural attitudes” and there’s little to nothing we can do about it, right?

      To be clear, I’m not accusing you, Starless, of making these defenses. I also don’t live in a bubble. I don’t believe we can stop making judgments based on physical looks, because physical appearance is the first thing we see about someone, if nothing else. But one thing that’s beautiful about the human brain is that a) we don’t have to settle on first judgments b) we can be critical thinkers and question ourselves and c) we can allow for the fact that judgments regarding appearance are more important in some areas of life and largely irrelevant in others (do I give a crap what my favorite author for instance looks like? No).

      This at least doesn’t amount to “brain-washing.” In fact it’s putting your brain to greater use than it would be were you to settle comfortably into your first knee-jerk judgments or biases (that are often based on ignorance as well). To a certain extent you seem to agree with this, saying that acting like a jackass based on whatever snap judgment or thought popped into your head first, is a choice and usually not a good one.

      The way it works though is that “society” usually doesn’t get credit for producing such people, yet the feminist Left would like to place all of the blame on “society” for people who are toxic and misogynistic.

      But part of the reason there are fewer misogynistic attitudes in society than there were, say, a hundred or two hundred years ago, is because of people consciously fighting to change attitudes about women and reversing laws or rules that kept them out of professions deemed beyond them (like medicine and law and aviation and research). Feminism has been around in one form or another beyond the past few decades; and before what’s officially known as first-wave feminism there were also changes in attitudes and practices that allowed women to start being generally seen as more capable in multiple areas of life beyond childbirth and child-rearing. So it’s weird to say that feminists, or their predecessors, don’t give “society” credit when they (and various predecessors) are also part of society. Maybe they’re speaking specifically of segments of society that have always tried to undo these efforts and paint women into the narrow corner of reproductive value only?

  2. HKatz

    Then I started reading various HBD and men’s rights websites, until I had to quit because I couldn’t see the text for all the hatred of any woman

    I don’t know what HBD is (when I googled it I came up with things like home brew digest, hydrogen bond donor, and hypophosphatemic bone disease) but I’ve read things on various men’s rights websites. My impression is that many of them really do hate any woman (not only the ones you go on to describe, who don’t wear makeup or who weigh too much, etc.) I’ve seen articles and comments on those sites that loudly complain about how makeup is yet another tool of perverse womanly deception… so if you’re a woman it’s damned if you do and damned if you don’t with many of those folks.

    1. Andrea Harris Post author

      HBD – Human Bio-Diversity. Also look up “evo-psych” (evolutionary psychology). This is a thought-trend — I’m not sure I want to call it an actual school of thought — that posits that different races have different levels of intelligence because of their genes. A lot of the people into this who don’t have science backgrounds — and some who do — extrapolate this idea further into areas where we really don’t need to tread, like it’s okay to treat races differently since their genes condemn them to being stupid (in the case of African-Americans) or good at math (in the case of Asians). Anomalies like smart black people and Asians who have bad grades are explained away with the usual handwaves. HBD websites often overlap into MRA websites because as you know women are all driven by their DNA masters to be frivolous and weak, and we all want to fuck only alpha males and have their babies.

  3. aelfheld

    That men are attracted to young, curvaceous women is nothing new. But there’s no reason to be crude about it.

  4. Andrea Harris Post author

    PS: I probably shouldn’t have mentioned men because I can see that the comment threads are starting to devolve into “but men are forced to exercise and take Viagra because boohoo poor men.” Sorry, I’m not buying it. While there are plenty of men who feel badly because of harsh criticism for being out of shape, they don’t get told they are worthless for being fat, for being past first youth, and for not looking like Brad Pitt. And even the pastiest basement dweller who has never touched an actual girl still feels a sense of entitlement to admiration and acceptance regardless of what he looks like that women are not encouraged to feel. Most cultures on earth just beat this out of women by oppressing and abusing them; our culture, since it is more “civilized” and “nicer” just uses psychological tricks to make sure women’s egos are turned outwards to other people, not inwards to fulfilling her own desires. This is still true despite what guys like Roissy say. And this guy — note how his manrage is directed at women who refused to give his American hot shot braggadocio the time of day. He blames in on “feminized” Scandinavian culture, but the roots of his anger are how his sense of male entitlement to female attention was thwarted. How very dare those Danish females!

    1. Starless

      “but men are forced to exercise and take Viagra because boohoo poor men.”

      That’s not what I said at all. You said, “don’t tell me men…have the same feelings of worthlessness when they’re old because it’s not true and you know it”. And no, no I don’t know that. Maybe you can divine how men feel and if you can, maybe you can tell me how I feel every morning as I watch the hair on my head slowly thin, the skin on my hands wrinkle, and most parts become generally soft as age and gravity do their thing.

      (I’ll give you a hint, I don’t think I look necessarily “distinguished” nor, in point of fact, do I feel entitled to go hit on twenty-year-old women.)

      I’m not looking for sympathy and I don’t expect it. What I’d like though is to not have to always hear about how this is a one-way street.

      Yes, the experience is different for men and women but that’s because men and women are different from each other.

      Some woman is sad because she’s not as hot as she was when she was 25? Well, I’m sorry about that but my sympathy only goes so far because…hey, join the friggin’ club. She’s not the only one to have to get old and I’m not going to, as a part of “society” and worse yet a man, accept responsibility for her feelings.

      If you want to condemn the d-bag “pick-up artist” subculture, I’m with you on that, but I don’t see it becoming a widespread existential threat. If you really believe it is an existential threat, if you think that the default state for human culture is for men to oppress women, then I have to wonder how in the Hell we managed to survive this long as a species.

  5. HKatz

    HBD – Human Bio-Diversity.
    I’d read some evolutionary psych articles before, and now I get what you mean about HBD after reading some of those sites. (It’s funny they call it ‘Human biodiversity’ because that sounds like a gentle PC expression. I’m getting an Orwellian “Ministry of Peace” vibe from it.) It’s true that a bunch of them don’t seem to grasp the concept of individual differences, or how wide a range of individual differences people show in any population.

    In any case, if you look at this photo and this one clearly what you see is not the first scientist who ever won two Nobel prizes in two different disciplines and who was also a humanitarian and a teacher- what you see is an aging woman who had kids but who’s past her child-bearing years, which means she’s worthless because she doesn’t look twenty and her reproductive value is nil. Plus, that black lab frock does nothing for her figure…

    There are many examples like this one, historically and nowadays, of useless women – often middle-aged or older – who clearly can’t do anything for the world or live an interesting life because their butt is not as firm as a teenager’s butt and because they probably won’t bag any “alpha males.”

    (Incidentally I’ve always wondered what an alpha male was, and at least according to some guys on the internet, it seems to be the broad category of any man a woman prefers over me, damn her).

    1. CGHill

      I’ve always wondered what an alpha male was, and at least according to some guys on the internet, it seems to be the broad category of any man a woman prefers over me, damn her.

      Congratulations, you have won one (1) free Internet.

    2. Annoying Old Guy

      “Alpha male” is a biological term used for pack animals and means the lead / dominant male who fathers most or all of the children in the pack. This is quite obvious in species like wolves or gorillas, not quite so clear in humans (primarily because humans tend to pair bond). The closest you’ll see among humans is in polygynous cultures, where “alpha” means “is married”, but it’s still a wider spread of reproductive success than a true alpha male system.

    3. Andrea Harris Post author

      The guys on PUA (“pick-up artist”) and Men’s Rights websites seem to be using “alpha male” to mean a super-confident heterosexual male who women are attracted to. This concept of the alpha male prefers to keep several girlfriends at once, though some will enter into LTRs (“long term relationships”). Not marriage, though — these “alpha males” consider marriage to be for “beta males.”

      What’s really funny is they seem to have picked these terms up from Naomi Wolf, whose name when uttered in the presence of one of these rough, tough alpha males has the same effect on them that fire has on Frankenstein’s monster.

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