If you’ve been a grown woman for any amount of time, you’ve likely come across countless “Don’t Pick Up The Scissors Just Yet—This Is What Guys Honestly Think About Bangs” articles and the like. What do guys think about the makeup we wear, if anything at all? How about different body types? Do they even notice it when we wear heels or sundresses? Inquiring minds want to know.
And yet, at the same time, we’re willing to bet that if you scrolled through the comment section on social media for such articles, you’d come across an endless stream of “Who cares?” “I don’t wear makeup for dudes,” “Imagine caring at all,” and “If I want baby bangs, I’m getting baby bangs” comments from other women who have stumbled upon the article. But why?
Why is it that so many women seem to take issue with the notion of wearing a dress that a man will find attractive, or using a type of perfume we’ve been told guys tend to like, or taking their opinion into account when choosing a hairstyle, or doing anything at all for the purpose of looking attractive for a man? What’s the big deal with wanting to be found attractive by the opposite sex? Isn’t this a natural, biologically-driven desire to have?
The Harmful Messages Women Receive
It’s not difficult to assess that this kind of strong reaction against valuing the opinion of the opposite sex (which we generally only see from women) is a response to feeling as if our sole purpose in the world is to be youthful and pretty – a feeling that certainly doesn’t come out of a vacuum.
It’s true that women constantly face the pressure to stay 100% wrinkle-free and appear 25 years old forever, lest we be deemed to have “hit a wall.” We witness an army of men on Twitter calling Margot Robbie, an objectively beautiful woman, “mid.” We’re barraged with an eternal supply of overly-edited images of women on Instagram that stir up our insecurities. These harmful, demeaning messages about women’s attractiveness make us want to disregard what men think about the way we look entirely.
Being Attractive Isn’t a Woman’s Sole Purpose, but We Shouldn’t Shame Each Other for Caring
It’s easy to feel as young women that our physical attractiveness is treated as our utmost treasure – but it’s also one that culture loves to remind us that we’ll “lose” one day. We’ll get a wrinkle or a gray hair or lose some of the definition in our upper arms. And then, it feels as though we'll be deemed totally worthless.
We’ll be clear: Physical attractiveness is not a woman’s sole purpose in this world. Being beautiful is not the only thing a woman ought to ever strive for. Audrey Hepburn made a good point when she said, “The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It’s the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows, and the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years.”
That being said, it’s an overcorrection (not to mention working against our biology) to say that we shouldn’t care at all about being perceived as attractive by men. Not only that, but it’s wrong to shame a fellow woman for wanting her husband or boyfriend to be physically attracted to her, or hoping that guy at the cafe likes her new haircut.
To Be Honest, We Should Care
We can fight against the destructive idea that a woman’s physical attractiveness is all she has to offer the world, but let’s try to be nuanced instead of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The truth is that we should care about our physical appearance.
A married woman should want her husband to look at her and think about how lucky he is and feel attracted to her. A taken woman should want to get her boyfriend’s attention with a brand new dress she bought because she knew he’d like it. A single woman should care about what the guys she’s trying to date are attracted to. We should do whatever is within our power and won’t harm our health to up our attractiveness. This doesn’t mean you have to be dressed to the nines all the time, or wake up at four in the morning to start your makeup routine.
This means getting to the gym regularly, nourishing your body with healthy foods, having a skincare routine, investing in cute loungewear rather than wearing old t-shirts, changing up your hairstyle sometimes, and wearing makeup that will enhance your natural beauty.
Don’t We Want Men To Care About Their Appearance?
Haven’t we all come across the guy who insists women don’t care about a man’s physical attractiveness, and that all we care about when searching for a future husband is his money and status? Not only does his line of thinking feel like an excuse not to invest at all in his appearance while expecting women to do the absolute most, but it’s simply untrue.
While women do take more into account than men do when looking for a potential mate, it’s wildly incorrect to say that women don’t care about a man’s physical attractiveness. We just care about that and a lot of other qualities.
The truth is that we do want a man to care about his appearance. We want him to put effort into being attractive for us. We want him to be fit and strong. We want him to smell good. We want him to fix his hair. We want him to dress well. We want him to have good posture. We want him to have nice teeth. If we expect a guy to do anything at all to appear more attractive (and we certainly do), why wouldn’t we do the same for him?
It’s understandable that women would react to the demeaning cultural messages that surround our physical appearance, but we shouldn’t pretend that putting effort into being physically attractive is wrong in any way – it’s part of our biology.
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