By Richard E. Bleil, Ph.D.
By now you are probably thinking, “well…duh!” But stick with me here.
Through the years, I have noticed something interesting about objectification of women. First of all, what I am discussing here is the tendency of men to think of women as a collection of parts. This woman has great breasts, that one has a great bottom, the other might have something else. The odd thing is that women tend to do the same thing when they look at themselves. She might not like her weight, or her teeth, or something else.
Of course, I’m taking generalities. There are always exceptions, and it’s not just women. Some women might look at men the same way, and there are men, no doubt, who look at themselves in a negative light as well.
And I’m not claiming to be an exception. I will sometimes look at a woman and be enthralled with the color of her eyes, the shape of her nose, or even the gentle curve of the nape of her neck. But what I’ve noticed is that, physically speaking, it’s not perfection that makes a woman physically attractive. When I was in college, I knew a young woman who is probably as close to societally imposed standards of beauty as anybody I’ve known. Long straight blonde hair, perfect skin, blue eyes, thin, but the interesting thing is that she is not the most physically attractive woman I’ve ever known. I have a friend with a “snaggle tooth” that I find gorgeous. I have another with an unusual nose structure that has me enthralled.
The point is that, physically, it’s not the perfections that make women attractive, or any of the individual imperfections. Physical beauty comes from how it all comes together. It’s about attitude, self-confidence, and intelligence, which is really what I meant to write about here.
A woman’s beauty is not just her skin. I love getting to know women. They are so strong, and so courageous. If you don’t believe me, consider the difference between men and women who are ill, or how women face each day knowing she will be harassed and feeling threatened by men.
When I talk with women, I love getting to know their passions, what their hopes and dreams are, and hearing about their accomplishments. It’s sad when women feel like they have to hide some aspect of themselves for the sake of others. When I taught chemistry, I had a female student who did very well, but more than once I would overhear her claiming that she must have “guessed right” on my tests to do so well to her friends, claiming that she didn’t understand the material at all. To me, this is a tragedy.
There is no denying attraction at a distance. Men and women both are guilty of this; spying that certain someone that you don’t know, and feeling an overwhelming desire to make contact. This attraction is based on looks. Period. This is not a fault within the individual who is attracted to that person, it’s just a lack of knowledge. I’ve read an article that claimed that this is because of evolution, since physical attraction is often based on aspects of health but whatever the reason, this is pure animalistic instinct. It is not worthy of an evolved and intellectual species, but it’s human nature.
But the reality is that, while physical attraction might gain my interest initially, but it has never been enough to keep it. It’s astounding to me when I think about women I initially thought to be just stunning beauties, but now that I know who they are and what they are really like, I can’t even see what attracted me in the first place. What’s more, I’ve become incredibly attracted to women based solely on their attitude, and getting to know who they are. The point is that, men who cannot see beyond the exterior of a woman, those who can only think of women in terms of the physical aspects of a relationship, those who do not care enough about the woman that they are with to become entangled in their passions, supportive of their dreams, desirable to know their mind…these men are missing the most gorgeous aspects of the beauty of a woman.