I Mimic, Therefore I Am: Democratizing Beauty and the Fallacy of Assumed VerisimilitudePosted: June 19, 2013
I was sitting in my automobile in a major metropolitan American city experiencing another of its cyclical explosive growth spurts, ruminating on the identical swath of late twenties urban femininity jogging by me in identical Lululemon stretch pants. As I waited for the light to turn green and lazily but predatorily watched the earnest cardioenthusiasts reduce themselves to a blurred singularity, one lycra/spandex-blended ergonomically seamed unit, I witnessed a straggler from the Pack, walking and gabbing endlessly on her social media device. Although she wasn’t participating in the shared ritual of Health, she had likewise subsumed into the Group: Fake blonde. Thin by today’s American standards. One of the few minor splash-choices on an otherwise black ur-garment. Tan high boots, makeup, sunglasses hiding the right proportion of her face.
Was she hot? I couldn’t tell. But she had the markers of being hot.
The markers of attractiveness are now more important than beauty itself, or at least its biological components – waist-to-hip ratio, facial structure, etc. The markers of attractiveness are socially derived from the original biological cues – a one off. Blonde hair is brighter. Makeup hides skin flaws. An ounce of sunglasses cover up a pound of facial structure sins. Shaped stretchwear firms and molds curves. Socially dictated outfits display the wearer’s ascension to a specific sexual marketplace perch.
The logic is easy.
P: I have the markers of being hot.
C: I am hot.
The assumption here, the fatal assumption, is the lack of the transitive bridge. These mountain king snakes of women, secure in their purchasing power, are trying to trick you into assuming the missing link:
A: [marked hot –> actually hot.]
Blame Barbie. And television.
Unattractive women tend to decry in venomous fashion the social structure behind beauty – Patriarchy! Myth! Irresponsible and impossible standard! – when they should be celebrating and glorifying it. The social aspect of beauty – changing the focus from the underlying biological traits to the one-off markers – democratized beauty. It made it accessible to otherwise ugly women. You can be hot now by acquisition. You no longer have to be actually attractive.
Once the social aspect takes over, the standard can change. Beauty on a biological scale is what’s primally healthy and virile. Beauty as a social standard can move. We who shed tears at the parade of fatties have Barbie to blame – she showed that the trappings of attractiveness could be faked, which in turn allows us to move the goalposts. Real women now have curves. Your granddaughters may be prized for their hideousness.