Brenda Munoz

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Why are women so pressured into becoming this "beautiful" icon for society?

The media is the main reason for women being demoralized as sex icons for the male population to look at. Why is it that we work so hard to be accepted; we go through so much to look a certain way society wants us to. Men also have this problem. Why is the world a huge "beauty pageant"?

  • Oct 9 2012: Women (and men) do this because it increases the chances of procreation with a desirable mate. It's all biology really, and that's not a secret. We know women already used make up before the wheel was invented, so that tells you it has nothing to do with current Western society specifically.
  • Oct 12 2012: Just a thought or two,

    The fact that you feel a bit uncomfortable conforming to this aspect of modern culture says a lot about you. Sometimes going your own way is smart. To some extent the more you have to offer the more latitude you have to be yourself and yet be successful.

    Biology is a natural and powerful physical sexual attraction that we have for one another and driven by sign stimuli. Commercial interests tap in to this fact to convince us we need their product(s) to win over, relentlessly.

    I'm assuming you want to appear attractive and desirable and perhaps find someone who enriches your life. You have your physical side, but you need more than superficial hoopla. In order to let someone in you need something(s) to happen. Now you are thinking like a TEDster. So how does this happen?

    It's called romance and it has been around and kept alive somehow. Usually it happens unexpectedly. This is when verbal skills or perhaps even a quiet manner with those penetrating eyes allow one's natural beauty to capture the moment. It well may be that it's the females who make the world a more civilized place. Perhaps the observation that the fair damsel is not for the faint of heart needs more replay -- it gets to our creative side which can bring out the best in one another.

    Anyway, it's a noble responsibility to make the world a better place. I think that's where you are anyway.
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      Oct 12 2012: :)
      I can say that this response, without a doubt, made me smile uncontrollably.
      Romance is a nice idea. I really need time to come up with a coherent response though.
      • Oct 12 2012: Hi Brenda,

        I'll be looking forward to your extended response and thank you - your reply made my day.
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          Nov 5 2012: I feel going my own way will also cause me to be conflicted even more due to the fact that I will need to have some sort of acceptance. I can't be an antisocial who thinks only her what is correct but...I am just confused as to what to do. Sometimes I listen to songs that are so derogative towards women yet I enjoy listening to them. Is that wrong? It is all unclear.
      • Nov 9 2012: I'm not so much suggesting that going one's own way as a motive in itself is advisable over perhaps trusting in yourself to let your sense of adventure push those seemingly confining comfort limits we all possess. Actually you seem to be doing this now in your academic pursuit of an engineering degree.

        Incidentally, disarming photo.
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      Oct 12 2012: Damn! I should delete my posts Dan as you said it all. You got my thumbs up :)
  • Oct 9 2012: Simply love the question.
    I'm sick and tired of watching lots of women get plastic surgeries even though they still look beautiful without any artificial changes. The world's been losing its own beauty.
    Pursuing attractivenes in her own way is fine.
    But trying to be sexy icons just like pop stars or models is an obsession.
    The desire to reproduce isn't the main reason why women are unconsciously forced to be "beautiful icons".
    Some women are just too obsessed with being smokin' or having certain shape.

    It's distorted slightly, and fundamentally.

    "You're insecure
    Don't know what for
    You're turning heads when you walk through the door
    Don't need make up to cover up
    Being the way that you are is enough
    Everyone else in the room can see it
    Everyone else but you-ou-ou
    Baby you light up my world like nobody else
    The way that you flip your hair gets me overwhelme
    But when you smile at the ground, it ain't hard to tell
    You don't know (oh oh)
    You don't know you're beautiful
    If only you saw what I can see
    You'll understand why I want you so desperately
    Right now I'm looking at you and I can't believe
    You don't know (oh oh)
    You don't know you're beautiful (Oh oh)
    That's what makes you beautiful!
    ......................................."
    --One direction/ What makes you beautiful
    The lyrics are for every woman I think lol :)
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      Oct 12 2012: thanks for the response and lyrics! :)
    • Oct 15 2012: I didn't know those lyrics until it got to "But when you smile at the ground," and I question why a girl would smile at the ground... because she's taught to not be eye-to-eye - equal; demure, weak. (I see similar dim-views perpetuated in many lyrics!)

      Aside of the lyrics, good answer.
  • Oct 21 2012: Mostly because there is a large amount of pressure on most people to stick to the social norms. People like to be in groups and hence will usually try and stay in the largest current one, the current norm is (unfortunately) this beauty pageant. It's difficult for me to put this into word but this pressure occurs because people think others of the opposite sex should be attracted to somebody that looks a certain way. It's a loop of thought between everyone; people usually feel pressured to look like their social norm to fit in, this means more people join that group creating more pressure on others to also do this.

    This doesn't affect everyone to the same degree, you have questioned it yourself. Personally I'm outside of this group, I look like what most people would call a mosher or goth (my hair comes down past my shoulders despite the fact I'm male) hence I'm looking on with a different perspective to them since I'm outside their group.
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      Nov 5 2012: I just feel society’s attempts to control, manage, and ensure what the personality of a population is has been based on the power of beauty and expectations. This has led to different conflicts internally and externally in everyday life. This form of control is the root of all atrocities we seek as human beings. We have diminished ourselves in favor of the jurisdiction of the population
  • Oct 21 2012: While I agree the media plays an influential role in exploiting women as sexual commodity, I would argue not definitively. Looking at this phenomenon with a macro lens, relatively recent times females have enjoyed limited rights.

    The country we live in was founded by wealthy Angelo Saxon MEN, not women. To this I attribute exploitation (women) of the female species due to men’s sexual appetite. Sad I admit, but true.

    You have a good question, “Why is it we try so hard to be accepted, we go through so much to look a certain way society wants us to?” To this I respond, why do you? Is it because we have been programed since birth to act a certain way? Are women afraid that if they simply stop putting up with this type of behavior then … what? Perhaps that is it; people might be afraid of the unknown, continuing to travel paths familiar. The unknown can be frightening and full of uncertainties. Though the inverse is unjust, at least people know where their road leads.

    Women go through so much to look a certain way because the are programmed from birth. Men do this, and women do that, characteristics learned at an early age. Furthermore, if one dose not wants to be labeled deviant, continue the status quo.

    This type of thinking will continue until eventually woman say, “we have had enough already, and we are not going to take it anymore.”
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      Nov 5 2012: Not many women will say “we have had enough already, and we are not going to take it anymore.” Those are only feminist who might say something. Even then it will be difficult because there aren't many of them. The ones that claim feminism are usually claiming it to their convenience. They don't want equality all the time, just when it favors their situation. The rest seem to be fine with this "oppression".
  • Oct 12 2012: Women are the main victims of this "icon" society. First the concept of beautiful or attractive has turned narrower with time. Until we got to what we have now. And public media and fashion industry take advantage on this situation. In the last years this industry has made its way to target men who were more difficult to reach.
    Through advertising and even with their influence in the movie industry. They send a message about who is "beautiful" "hot" or "attractive". They dictate the standards of the season, and everyone hurries to refresh the wardrobe.
    But what is really an attractive person?
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      Oct 12 2012: I believe your last question really hammered it. WHAT is an attractive person? Maybe it's true beauty is in the eye of the beholder because everyone is attractive to different kinds of people. What do you think is attractive?

      What do you mean by men who are more difficult to reach?
      • Oct 13 2012: Men are or were less likely to be influenced by advertising about fashion products. Because we basically dont think we need makeup or lipstick or things like that. Now what is attraction?
        The attitude of a person is part of what makes a person attractive or not. When you feel good about yourself this feeling can be perceived by others. Its some sort of positive radiation that hits everyone around you. Of course most people around does not have the same degree of sensitivity and your positive glow will not hit everyone in the same manner. Conclusion, its not the makeup, or the hair dress, or the lipstick, the one who makes the magic its you.
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          Nov 5 2012: ...sometimes I love makeup though. I love "pampering" my looks (as you can see by my profile picture). Is that me giving in to society?
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    Oct 9 2012: Congratulations, Brenda!

    Your self-awareness of the marketing of beauty will prevent you from wasting a ton of money during your life. It will also allow you to choose friends who are deserving of YOU the way you are. Anybody who judges you on your looks alone isn't worth being a friend.

    Go forth in your life, and don't waste your time and MONEY purchasing things that some advertiser told you you HAD to buy to be "socially acceptable". I bought a car once...but Farah Fawcett wasn't in the trunk when I got home. And I never met her and had her climb in beside me when I was driving it either. Geez...I was so disappointed. But I got a little older and wiser after that. ;-)

    On the other hand, there will be times you will have to subject yourself to the insanity of the system. If you enter a beauty pageant, you better plan on wearing a nice swimsuit and some makeup. Just the way it is, sad to say. So, decide what is important to YOU. While understanding there are a lot of things that still aren't fair in the world. But at the same time, there HAVE been great strides made in women's equality in society (at least some societies). Yes, we still have a long ways to go in some areas. Keep fighting for those changes! Just don't expect the entire male population to jump on board with you. Some men will still only judge your worth based on whether you are "centerfold" quality or not. Find different men to hang around with.
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      Oct 11 2012: haha thank you, I was thinking of how even though I try to stray away from it all, we sometimes I like to pamper myself because it makes me feel good. I don;t know how to explain it. It's not to attract the opposite sex or get accepted. It's for ME though. I do it for me. Is that comprehensible?
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        Oct 11 2012: Is that comprehensible?

        Absolutely. We all do it...even us men.

        A few days ago I woke up and decided to go out for breakfast. Took my morning shower, got dressed, and stood in front of my bathroom mirror. While spashing on some aftershave/cologne, the absurdity of the cologne at the time made me chuckle.

        Who was I tryng to impress? My strawberry pancakes?

        Pampering yourself once in a while is not bad. If it makes YOU feel good, so be it.
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          Oct 12 2012: haha that made me chuckle too :) "Who was I trying to impress? My strawberry pancakes?" Well thank you for your thoughts, I really appreciate it.
  • Oct 9 2012: $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    Fashion, makeup, entertainment.
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    Oct 9 2012: I suggest the foundation for all this is we evolved to be sexual animals.
    We have sex drives. We reproduce sexually.
    Instinct, sometimes reinforced by our intelligence, e.g. using sexual attraction to gain resources, power, prestige etc.

    I'm not sure you will ever stop men being attracted to women, or people being attracted to healthy young specimens and whatever a society classes as beautiful.

    The world is a beauty pagent because we recognise and value beauty. It makes a difference.

    That is not to say we should be slaves to beauty if we think that would improve the human condition. That is not to say we should support the objectification of women.

    There may be an optimal approach where we enjoy and recognise our sexual nature but resist some behaviours and atitudes. Hopefully women rugging up as per some Muslim groups is not the answer, but just giving completely into our base nature is also not the answer.
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      Oct 9 2012: everyone wants to be the best ,so they do what they can to gain their scores .
      if we change our value about beauty ,i think it will work ,just as the change in ecnomic not only speed but also environment .ao as to beauty .
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        Oct 10 2012: Hi Chen. I suggest we have the most influence on ourselves.

        I suggest we can work on changing our attitudes and behaviours.

        If enough people change and talk about it and convince others, things can improve. I agree.

        Things have improved for women in most places.

        Just pointing out there will still be sexual tension, lust, attraction, ideas of beauty. But agree we can work on improving.
        • Oct 10 2012: Why is it only about women? You think a man will be successful looking like a bum? Especially in courtship physical attraction will always be important and both sexes have to work hard to look good.
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        Oct 11 2012: I agree John. Looks and resources are attractive amongst other things for both sexes. Creativity, confidence etc.
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          Oct 12 2012: I agree as well John but women seem to be more pressure than men.
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    Gail .

    • +1
    Oct 9 2012: I agree with James Zhang. Most people are sheeple. It takes courage to step out of the fold and see yourself for who and what you are. Life gets so much better when you do.
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    Oct 9 2012: In general most people are sheep and most people are self-conscious.

    The mainstream bandwagon is pretty powerful.
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    Nov 6 2012: Hi Brenda:

    Allow me to disagree here.
    Do you know of any culture in any moment in time that did not have a beauty ideal with all that that implies?
    The beauty ideals where different, but where there, putting reproductive pressure on both sexes (along with other types of pressure associated with reproductive desirability).
    Our sexual dimorphism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexy_son_hypothesis ) is a living proof of that (I mean secondary sexual characteristics http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secondary_sexual_characteristics ).
    What is new to this modern era is commercial influence over the beauty ideal aimed at profit with large scale impact and homogenization of that ideal across cultures.

    It makes sense to fight for your own identity and way to express yourself, but I would not fight against basic physical phenomena like sexual attraction, etc.

    Regards!

    JB
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    Oct 9 2012: I've been waiting for women to start wearing scarves again.
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      Oct 11 2012: Well I;m not saying that either haha
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        Oct 11 2012: Lol

        Scarves are cool, it protected a womans hair from dust and sun damage but today's environment is probably more toxic to a womans glory than the days gone by. What products sold in todays world that guarranttee's if swallowed will refresh and revitalize the hair? None that i know of, it's all external and advertized to steer you towards a perfect healthy shine 24 hours a day by the perfect unblemished models used to sell it to you.

        Take for instance hair straighteners, most young girls can't afford the expensive models that guarantee no burn damage and use any conditioner that is available at the time of straightening but not realizing that any heat system will damage the hair regardless and quite possibly change it's current normal look to something different, probably dryer and more frizzy. I have young nieces so i can only go off how they clog every bathroom for hours just getting ready to go off to school and complain why they never got the genes like i did for straight hair, they don't seem to listen when i say it's a curse because you can only have it long and can do nothing with it, cut it short you turn into a porcupine, gel doesn't even hold it, it slips off. Personally i think the world is directed to selling something to women about some part of themselves whether they need it or not.
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          Oct 12 2012: I agree on your last comment fully. I also know how trying to straighten your hair could be a pain and time consuming. It's ironic how people with straight hair want it curly and vice versa. Not everyone but that's what I see. I personally like straightening my hair but it is so tedious and it usually hurts my wrist since I have thick long hair. Women and society...I just don't understand.
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        Oct 12 2012: Thank you Brenda, your reply made me see my prior reply was just me ranting about something that is normal. In answer to your Q i will answer with a polite Q

        Do you think that todays young women are highly influenced by reality shows like "Jersey shore" or the social media site "Facebook" and advertizing as well as school social interaction, all mixed together? and are today's young women more competitive with their looks than their mothers time at the same age? if "Yes" What do you think is driving it? If "No" What could it be then, from your perspective?

        Sorry Brenda, it's more than one Q and though it may seem a formal test type Q, it is far from it, answer anyway you want if you want.

        Cheers.

        This Q has me confused for something that looks so simple.
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    Oct 9 2012: when you read some buddism books .i think you will feel better . huaman being born with suffering.