Donald Trump upset the world this week by wondering how someone who looked like Carly Fiorina might run for president. While the exact cause of his concern is in the dark for me, I would imagine that poor Trump was attempting to present poor Fiorina in a deprecating light. Perhaps he was saying that she’s not pretty enough for president. After Obama and Bush America’s used to having a pretty face in charge, right?
This wouldn’t matter if it weren’t that young women all over the world over are starting to value themselves based mostly on their looks. This recent research shows that kids these days think they can become happier and more accepted by adopting materialistic values. That means buying trendy clothes, looking like a fashion model at all times, and fitting in. Like the square peg to the square hole.
The research also showed that adopting these values did not work as the kids wished. In fact, it made the kids feel worse. Boys and girls reacted differently. Depressive symptoms in girls tended to predict “the internalization of appearance concerns.” This is a nice way of saying that the girls started spending increasing amounts of time in front of the telly crying to their popcorn (not actually eating it, of course) since their thigh gap is never going to be a match for Kate’s thigh gap. Tear. Sigh. Holy inner thigh machine.
You know how some women say that they don’t put on make-up/go to the gym/go on a diet to please men? They claim that they do it all for themselves, because they like to look pretty. They wake up 45 minutes earlier than they really need to in order to blow-dry their hair and apply make-up that is designed to look like they don’t wear make-up, they go through excruciatingly painful Brazilian wax treatments, eat sub-standard salmon salads in burger bars and gallop around the park at 9 p.m. with a crazy glint in their eyes. And of course all this is only for themselves. If all men died and went to play X-Box in Beer Heaven, the women would still be doing that. Right? They just really enjoy the look and feel of a shaved armpit.
Well I’m not buying that. If the men died, these women would place themselves in front of a romantic comedy, gorge themselves with cookies and have another glass of wine. They might keep up healthy habits, since they’d probably want to live long, but they’d keep it sensible. Brazilian bikini wax parlors would die a quick, painless (whew!) death. Even competition and judgment from other women would dwindle since there’d be no point in competing. Perhaps women would even start competing in something else, such as achievement, skill, or talent. They’d put on a sensible ponytail and go about their business. Make-up and blow-dryers would be assembled on giant heaps and burned.
Or not. I’m exaggerating, of course. Women don’t love fashion for men. Women do like to please themselves aesthetically through their own appearance. So maybe I’m going too far. Everyone can make themselves into a work of art if they like. I’ve nothing against that. It’s even fun.
My problem is the fact that women aren’t allowed to choose how to look. Everyone is expected to look the same and insanely the role model we go for is Barbie. That is stupid. Most people agree on that and yet we keep upholding that stereotype. I don’t know what Trump’s problem with Carly Fiorina’s look was. For me, she looks like a perfectly normal, even attractive, woman of her age who doesn’t spend hours blow-drying her hair. Which is probably a good thing in a president.
I’m not sure the same thing can be said about Trump, though.