I meant to write about this a couple of weeks ago. There was a great post on XOJane several days ago that focused on the sometimes awkward way men express their pleasure and dis-pleasure about a woman’s body. The essay reminded me of this comment left on my blog over the summer in response to the photo at left.
“I have to wonder why she is hiding her face in a glass of wine. insecure? Problem Drinker? Facially unattractive? From what I see, her forehead is about double the length of a normal female forehead, and so is her chin. Not sure if this is because of skeletal deformities or excess fat. Her eyelids are drooping somewhat, due to age or genes, but neck and hands look youthful if not a little plump.
Arms are way too chubby, and I can’t tell her true figure from the dress and the position she’s standing in, but I suspect her waist-hip ratio is about 0.8-0.9. I would assume she are wearing a lot of spanx to pull in her waist, based on her propensity to carry weight in her upper body. Breasts are too small in proportion to the rest of the body. They are also very far apart, which suggests a large ribcage and back.
Best features are the calves (beautiful), small hands and feet. Although, putting her small (chubby) hands near her face confirms that there is something disproportionate about the size of her head. I would need a picture of her in jeans and without an obscured face to give a better evaluation.
Since she has lost a lot of weight recently, and at the age I think she is (44-48?), her skin will not be so elastic. Although slender is the ideal, I would prefer a fatty who fills her skin than a chubb who is covered in loose skin around her stomach.
Curly hair? As long as its long, healthy and bouncy then I don’t care about the color or texture. The OP needs to grow her hair a little longer as I think her afro look does not suit her, since she is a ruddy-cheeked chubby woman.
If I saw this picture on a dating site, nothing would make me contact the OP, even if she was DTF in that nice apartment and willing to pay for my dinner, drinks and blow all night, then drive me home in the morning.” – Daniel
Then there was this a few weeks ago:
Moxie lost this argument. When she has no defense she brings up PH balance and says since I dont know this, I dont get close to a vagina. Maybe its hard for her to reach hers because her size 10 gut is in the way. More evidence she rarely gets close to a gym. – John
Not to be outdone in the “who can embarrass themselves more when dissecting women’s looks, men or women?” contest, here’s a woman’s opinions on my body and looks:
You aren’t a 6-7. you are a solid 3-4. Slightly less than average. You are an overweight, 45 year old chick who believes she is higher – you aren’t. sorry. I am not 100% wild about my prospects either, so I get it.Time to get with reality, fat chick who is also over the hill! (I am over the hill too though… :/) – Vox
Mind you, I’m not naive enough to think that if I post a photo of myself in a tight dress I’m not going to get commentary of all kinds, including negative feedback. Comments like Daniel’s and Vox’s are par for the course when you put yourself out there publicly. Men who say such things will want to take you down a peg, lest you get too big for your britches. Women who make such comments just want to hurt you so you don’t some how surpass them or succeed where they failed. Both just want to put a woman “in her place” and subdue her.
The bigger issue, to me, is whether or not people should allow the opinions of others to dictate how they feel about their own bodies. Are we capable of ever really seeing ourselves objectively?
I stayed in bed almost until I left. Why did I spent the rest of the night with one partner? Well, my paddling friend was absolutely rapturous about my ass. I have an otherwise slender frame with large, pear-shaped hips/ass and weight gain tends to show just on my stomach. Even though I love my curves on my boobs and butt, I’m less enthused about my belly. But he didn’t see that: he just saw curves, curves, curves everywhere and made me feel like I have an amazing body. He couldn’t keep his hands off my ass and hips — and I lapped up the attention. In my normal day-to-day life, I have mean Internet commenters telling me a couple times a week that I’m fat or unattractive. Those are the poison darts stuck inside my brain. I don’t walk around thinking, I have a great ass. I walk around thinking, Who’ll be able to see past by belly?
While I found the story itself intriguing, what I took away from it was how the reactions and responses from other people seemed to shape how the author felt about her own body and attractiveness. Like I said above, there are always going to be people who voice their opinions if you put certain things out there. Whether you’re naked in the emotional sense on the internet or naked in the physical sense at an orgy, there can be this overwhelming sense of vulnerability involved. Having a tenuous grasp on how you feel about your own body can be dangerous in either situation.
There is also the risk that someone might place too much importance on or give unwarranted credibility to feedback that comes from people who want to wound or seduce you. As I’ve said before, I find most compliments and critiques from strangers to be strategic or disingenuous. That’s only because I think I have an accurate and objective view of my attractiveness and know my audience. I don’t seek out opportunities to have my self-esteem brutalized by a stranger. I also don’t listen to the comments of randos on Facebook or the internet or OKCupid.
None of that is real. Not the positive. Not the negative.
It seems the question is: how does a person determine how attractive they really are?
Does it come from within?
What sort of feedback and reactions are genuine?
How much do the opinions of others matter?