I was going to write a blog about the Race for Life today, but I found something else which I just had to write about- I could not let this pass by!
As you do, I was browsing my Facebook newsfeed and clicked on a link for an article which sparked my interest. This led to an external website, which had lots of other articles with links to a whole host of different websites. I saw an article called ‘10 Things Men Find Unattractive’, and out of curiosity and my feminist head on, I delved into another website called Millennial Lifestyles.
Millennial Lifestyle is a site which offers articles about health, fitness, workouts and relationships. This is what they aim to do:
“Millennial Lifestyles allows you to stay up to date on the latest health research, fitness trends, and other breaking news relevant to your busy, active life”.
What is striking, and probably intentional to satisfy their readership, is that a lot of their articles are gender specific, such as what mistakes men are making in their lifestyle and what mistakes women are making in their dieting. Millennial Lifestyle’s aim to keep the genders apart is clear here, and just adds to encouraging people to conform to society’s expectations of how we should act and behave.
After reading ‘10 Things Men Find Unattractive’, I was annoyed at the writer, and became further annoyed when I found another article which she had written for the opposite sex, ’10 Things Women Find Unattractive’. To start off, I don’t normally read these sorts of articles. Why would you need to read something which dictates what you should find appealing or not in someone else? Attractiveness is subjective; we all find qualities and features in people appealing which others may see differently.
This is not what bugged me the most though. It is the fact that the writer appears to be unaware that she is a part of a society which dwells on ideological expectations, or that she is aware of it, and wrote the articles in order to fulfil the reader’s gratifications. Through both of these articles, she is dictating how men and women should act in order to avoid being ‘unattractive’.
I wondered after reading both pieces why some behaviours were dictated for one sex but not the other, but then I realised that the author is conforming to the differences between both sexes. For example, one of the biggest bugbears I have is when women are downtrodden for being ‘too naggy’ (e.g. being described as ‘bossy’ if they are a manager), while for men, this is seen as a quality. The article encourages women to be submissive, when the author states ‘If they leave the toilet seat up, quietly put it down’. This implies if women are outspoken, then they will be seen as unattractive.
I recently wrote a blog about body hair and how women are expected to remove their body hair in order to conform to the ideals of femininity. According to the article about women, ‘Men associate hair with testosterone and testicles so they don’t want to see it on a woman’. As you can imagine, this angered me the most, since the removal of body conforms to social expectations of gender, which is entirely ideological.
Other points for women include not wearing too much makeup, going for natural-looking hair and keeping good dental hygiene. Women have for a long time received a lot more negative criticism than men. They are penalised for trying too hard or not enough; it’s a no-win situation. And surely keeping your breath fresh is common sense, and men should do the same too?
Some other points which dictate how women should avoid behaving include drinking too much alcohol, emitting too much negativity and swearing. Men should avoid drinking too much alcohol as well, since it can have negative consequences on our health and well-being. Once again the author is encouraging women to be submissive by not being negative. This means that women should not ‘complain about the lack of service at a restaurant or how long you had to wait in a line’.
Apparently ‘Men like ladies with a little class so dropping the f-bomb in every sentence is a turn-off and does not show how sophisticated you really are’. This explicitly states that swearing is unladylike, but why should women have to be sophisticated to be feminine? And what about if men swear? Is it just them being ‘laddish’?
In the same way that ‘10 Things Men Find Unattractive In Women’ dictates what men find attractive in a woman, the article ‘10 Things Women Find Unattractive In Men’ highlights what women should want and find attractive in a man.
The points that the author makes in both articles represent the stereotypical assumptions of the sexes, such as ‘Women want an intelligent guy who wants to go somewhere in life’ and ‘Humor is a powerful tool for any man. Nothing turns a woman on more than a man who makes her laugh’. Once again, intelligence is subjective and humour can be argued to be attractive in anyone, regardless of their sex.
One of the unattractive qualities in men which peeved me off concerns beauty, that women ‘should never date a guy who takes longer than you to get ready’. This suggests that it is feminine for a man to take a long time to get ready, and beauty regimes should be kept distinct between the two sexes.
A final point I want to argue about from the article concerning men’s attractiveness is flirting. The author suggests here that men are more prone to flirt with other women while he is dating, in comparison to women who are dating. This is the also the final point made by the author, and further highlights the stereotypical behaviour of men, such as this example: ‘So the next time you see a hot girl in the mall, avoid undressing her with your eyes and look the other way’. Not all men are like this, we hope.
I was tempted just to leave the articles however, on this occasion I wasn’t going to let this pass. I’ve argued against the writer, Cherri Parry, in the form of this blog. Millennial Lifestyle posts content on a regular basis, and both of these articles are trending, even the ‘10 Things Men Find Unattractive’ one, which was published on the 19th January 2015, which is a great shame.
Despite their claims that they are ‘keeping up to date’, Millennial Lifestyle’s writers clearly aren’t, in terms of sex and gender. Both of these articles aim to keep its regular readers confined into how they should behave as a man or a woman. How would a transgendered person view this article? How would Cherri Parry write about how they should behave, since they transgress the boundaries of masculinity and femininity?