So Tell Me ... What's The Weather Like on YOUR Planet?

02 May, 2010

Imaginary

Holly of the Pervocracy is taking apart some internet weirdo named Roissy, who has put forward "tests" to evaluate female attractiveness and male attractiveness according to some wacked out fetish pick-up artist subculture paradigm.

It is ... very strange.

Especially since the usual suspect is in there arguing that the Conventionally Attractive Woman totally benefits from this detestible set of social upfuckery and thus if one wants to have a Conventionally Attractive Woman one must learn these rules.

Now, as I mentioned over there, to the extent that that's an accurate description of "club culture", it's a brilliant argument for never going to a club, but there's more than that going on. As Holly notes in one of the previous posts she's written about this nonsense, the nonsense ignores the huge number of ordinary guys with partners. All of the Conventionally Attractive Women are off clubbing, right!

Er, no?

Unless, of course, one defines Conventionally Attractive Woman - and Roissy might - as someone who goes to trendy clubs. (I am pretty sure that people who go to goth and punk clubs don't count.)

I mean, I know more than a few women who pretty much meet the basic standards for Conventionally Attractive Women as I understand them - fairly thin, non-invisible bust, dress in an attractive manner that is compatible with their figure, and ... I don't think I know anyone who goes to trendy clubs. Or if I do they consider it the sort of shameful secret that doesn't get mentioned in polite company. Closest I'd get is people who go to see favorite bands in clubs on occasion, in which case the trendiness of the club is completely irrelevant. Hell, I've done that, to see a goth rock group. I have no idea if the place I went for that is fashionable, though the bartender didn't know how to mix a lime rickey and I had to tell her.

But it comes around to that thing that got said there - to get a patriarchy-approved woman apparently one has to become a patriarch. Okay, that's as sensical a thing as any.

What I don't understand is why this is an appealing relationship goal to have, at least as anything other than "Look at me I have a hot chick hur de hur hur". I mean, I know that humans are profoundly status-driven in ways that often fly under the radar, but that particular status jockeying just eludes me entirely in its appeal.

Somewhere recently I read a chunk of a post that went something like, "Nerdy types are rarely popular because they don't want to go to the effort of popularity" or something like it. Which, well, makes sense. The goalstates are different. And setting aside the fact that I was cast as the smart one, not the pretty one, even if I had had the option of being the pretty one type, I didn't want to pay the cost.

And there is a cost. Maybe it's a more obvious cost to me as someone who had that weird outsider fringe status but maybe could have paid that pound of flesh if I had had the social acumen to do it - but the cost is immense.

I don't even mean the time and money investment required to manage the beauty ritual, make sure all of the shaving-required bits are shaved, mastering the skills of makeup and coiffure, and so on, though that's certainly a cost - if nothing else an opportunity cost on acquiring other skills or spending that money.

I mean the social cost.

Let's say I go to the effort to convert my more-or-less Conventionally Attractive Woman presentation into something that hits the PUA crowd's buttons, something I could probably do because I have the privilege of having a base template that is fashionable. Let's even say that I would enjoy presenting myself that way, so that we can neglect the mental stress of investing myself in something that is at best neutral to me on the appeal front. Let's even go into the wild hypothetical mode and suggest that this hypothetical me is unpartnered.

This hypothetical me would have to deal with more creepy approaches. Real-world me is sufficiently nondescript in clothing and presentation that she can fade into the background and read a book on the bus rather than having to regularly fend off the inappropriate and unwelcome strangers who will occasionally glom onto a woman and try to demand her attention.

This hypothetical me would be attractive to pick-up artist types. Real-world me has not been subjected to that sort of attention since the regularity of sexual harassment in junior high school.

These costs are magnified by my experience of sexual assault, which makes unwelcome male attention extremely stressful. My particular (major) sexual assault has its roots in my being a wallflower, in part, so perhaps if I had achieved Conventionally Attractive Fourteen-Year-Old it would not have happened. But that sort of breaks the boundaries on this speculation, because if that were the case I would not be the person writing this blog at all, even in hypothetical.

This hypothetical me would be perceived as not unattractive but unlikely to be suitable as a partner by the sort of men I do find attractive - because the assumption runs very strong in certain subcultures that a woman who is not only conventionally attractive but who puts significant effort into the elective portions of conventional attractiveness will only interact with those men either to demand service or for purposes of mockery. I might well have to go to extra effort to integrate myself with these communities - which can be doable, I know and have known several women who cared about fashion and similar matters who have done so - but it would still be a cost.

So, yeah, I could theoretically remake myself to gain certain forms of status in certain subcultures, because I'm thin, could probably pad out a bra a bit if I wanted to, and know a bit about what flatters me physically. But I don't see that I'd derive much benefit from the "patriarchy-approved woman" template, so I can afford to be lazy on that front and pursue other forms of status.

It just always bemuses me to be invisible.

Though it often beats the hell out of being seen by some people.

2 comments:

Vieva said...

Man, if that's what popularity gets me .. *shudder*

I think I'll stick with the coffeeshops with my knitting buddies, and routinely being weird in public, and failing completely to be Conventional.

Because I have a hard enough time with jerks hitting on me without actively going out of my way to get them. My sexuality is not there for THEM, it is there for ME. I want a patriarch about as much as I want to be perforated with a paperpunch and used as a holiday decoration.

Yuck.

Erin said...

Good lord! That is the creepiest test I've ever seen. (The female one -- I didn't even look at the male one, as at that point I felt like I'd seen enough.) If that's what being an alpha female would get me, I'm glad I'm a freaking omega.