Saturday, 14 November 2015

Tit for tat

I amuse myself sometimes by imagining that the appearance of male public figures is criticised as relentlessly as women's. Just suppose men were told all the same things:

That jacket is hideous.
Those pants are too tight.
He has facial hair/ hairy legs.
He's not wearing heels.
He's not wearing make-up.
His shirt/ pants are too revealing.
He's fat/ too thin/ unattractive.
His hair is too long/ too short/ in a mess.
His clothes are too sexy/ not sexy enough.
You can see the outline of his underpants.

Not only are they spared all that ruthless criticism, they can get away with virtually anything because "that's what men are like".

They can sport massive beards, five o'clock shadow, dishevelled and badly-fitting clothing, hairy nostrils, beer bellies, over-tight suits, filthy fingernails, comb-overs, greasy and tangled hair, missing teeth, and nobody says a word - except maybe their wives and girlfriends in the privacy of their home. And the chances are they'll be ignored.

When it comes to appearance, men have it easy. While women are always ready for some catty comment, men can swan around confident that lips are tactfully sealed. A sort of diplomatic immunity.

18 comments:

Dave Martin said...

Not entirely sure men are immune to such bitching, especially those in the public eye.
Jeremy Clarkson was photographed on the beach and the tabloids were full of remarks about his belly, and David Beckham has been ridiculed on countless occasions over his clothes and hair.
I'm sure I could come up with plenty more examples if I was to spend time flicking through 'Heat' magazine, but I'm neither that bored nor that shallow.
I'm sure it's true that women feel under greater pressure to look good than their male counterparts, but I don't know whether that pressure is from themselves or others.

Bijoux said...

I agree with above poster that women tend to be the ones criticizing other women (and to some extent, men). Of course, I'm married to someone who doesn't notice people's appearance, which I find totally bizarre. I once asked him if women in his office wear hosiery and he didn't have a clue.

Rose Blackthorn said...

*gets out soapbox*

What really, REALLY annoys me is the trivialisation and sexualisation of female athletes like Serena Williams.

The criticism she comes under is ridiculous. She is one of the top tennis players in the world and she puts up with so much shit about her body.

"Give us a twirl love." Journalist to a female tennis star. (yes, I could look up the names, no I can't be arsed)

I would really love it if Usain Bolt had to run in a crop top and shorties like Jessica Ennis-Hill and other female athletes.

Either both genders show off or keep covered. I'm good either way.

*gets off soap box and packs it away*

Nick said...

Dave: Sure, men are also subject to bitching about their appearance, but I suggest nothing on the same scale as women have to put up with.

Bijoux: I think you're right, the criticism often comes from women who want to take other women down a peg or two. And how could you not notice if a woman is wearing tights or not? His attention must be determinedly elsewhere!

Nick said...

Rose: I agree, the endless trivialisation of women who have huge achievements to their name is outrageous. I think especially of Mary Beard, the professor of classics, who has been swamped with vicious abuse over her appearance. How dare she have grey hair? How dare she not look like a super-model? How dare she just be herself?

tammy j said...

i'm not sure exactly when i quit caring about stuff like that.
but it was fairly early in my adult life.
katharine hepburn helped me. she was before my time but i soaked up every word about her i could.
reading about her younger days when she was criticized for wearing
PANTS!!! horrors! women just didn't do that. men demanded SKIRTS.
her reply was ... "then let the men wear skirts!" LOLOL.
what a woman.
and then later... she just couldn't be bothered worrying about all that. being clean and relatively neat was enough.
i'm in that stage. and it's wonderful! comfort is very big on my scoreboard.

Wisewebwoman said...

Not to mention the invisibility of women over 40 whereas men are considered potent until they drop dead.

XO
WWW

CheerfulMonk said...

Coming from a science background, I've worked with a lot more men than women. Some of them do make their preferences known, but some are cool heads. After I graduated from college I went to a number of eye doctors to see if someone could help me with my chronic eyestrain. One wasn't interested in that, he wanted to prescribe contact lenses so I wouldn't have to wear glasses. "Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses." I told him I didn't care about that, I just wanted to be able to read more without my eyes hurting. He was scornful, looked at my shoes, and said, "Well, maybe when you grow up and are interested in guys and wear high heels...." I didn't bother answering because I was already committed to my very sensible Andy. :)

Nick said...

Tammy: That was quite a step forward when women were able to wear pants as well as skirts. So much more practical. I still wonder why women wear horribly uncomfortable clothes like shapewear and heels instead of sticking to something less masochistic and refusing to bow to fashion.

www: Very true. Jenny's always complaining about men's shunning of middle-aged women in favour of hot young nymphettes.

Nick said...

Jean: So you were expected to give up glasses and teeter around in heels to fit in with his image of women. Good for you in taking precisely no notice at all.

Keith Smith said...

In my younger days if a woman criticised my appearance I would say nothing, but the word "Bitch!" or worse sprang to mind.

If a man criticised my appearance, he would probably have finished up with less teeth! Not now though, I'm just a scruffy old man and don't give a damn what people think. . . .

Helen Devries said...

The French press had a field day with President Hollande in his first year in office...they seem to have given up now...probably have become accustomed to suits with a crotch round the knees and the suit buttons bursting on the good fare of the Elysee Palace...

Nick said...

Keith: But how often was your appearance criticised? Not nearly as often as women get criticised, I'm sure.

Helen: I didn't really notice all the carping about Hollande. The media here hardly mentioned it. They were probably too busy reporting some actress's wardrobe malfunction or excessive cleavage.

Rummuser said...

I love being a man!

Nick said...

Ramana: It's certainly easier when it comes to personal appearance! Men can amble around in tatty T shirts and droopy shorts and nobody bats an eyelid. But if a woman did the same....

Grannymar said...

I have always dressed for me and worn clothes I feel comfortable in. What other people think... is none of my business!

Secret Agent Woman said...

This reminds me of one of my all-time favorite sayings (not sure where it originated):

Women will never be equal to men until they can be fat and bald and still think they've got it going on.

Nick said...

Grannymar: Good for you! But I bet you got plenty of tut-tutting comments as a young woman.

Agent: Yes, I know the saying. And it's absolutely true. A fat, bald woman is ignored by every passing man. In fact women go to great lengths to hide their baldness. Whereas a fat, bald man - no big deal.