Worrying too much
Checking the comments on Echidne's blog, and I see the old demon of the fear of "man-hating" rearing its head again in the comments. Specifically, an effort was made to equate the handful of men who are inclined to bodybuild with the large numbers of women who feel compelled to seek out plastic surgery, as if the mere fact that some men are vain negates an entire culture that is built around encouraging female vanity to the point that it's nearly impossible for a woman simply to have a healthy attitude about her body. Let's be realistic here.
It's perfectly reasonable to have a certain amount of concern about being desirable for both men and women. In fact, it's perfectly reasonable that some men and women take alot of pleasure in being attractive and spend some time and effort working at it. Hey, we all have our Thing. I personally have zero desire to get rid of my miniskirts or lingerie because of some phony ideal. Sex is fun. Flirting is fun. It's fun to be desired. These are not the problems, in my opinion. The problem is inequality and brutality.
So, my basic rule of thumb about vanity projects is to follow two standards--is the standard fair and is it reasonable? I realize that neither of these is easy to define. So, here's a quick summary of how I define fair and reasonable.
My basic standard of fair is the old-fashioned sexism standard, on a certain level. Is ____ something that is expected of women without question but not an issue with men? Then it must be challenged. Of course, it's hard to judge, since men and women deliberately groom themselves differently to make those very sexual distinctions we all know and most of us love. So, it takes alot of intuition and some guesswork and quite a bit of chill. Of course, in a way, it's easy for me, since watching a man shave his neck squigs me out to no end. That's my gold standard. If I ever have to do anything that strikes me as more awful than shaving my neck, then I've gone too far.
But most of us don't feel that way. So, another way of gauging it is to estimate things by their nature and of course, always rely on your personal feelings for the final assessment. I shave and wear cute things, but I fully expect that my boyfriend will disavow the beard and turns his nose up to the whitey-tighties.
Equality cross-pollinates reason, which is the main issue I have with plastic surgery. It's unreasonable to ask somebody to tear at her own body, and it seems simple enough to me. I figure, if a boyfriend grows some ugly facial hair, then eventually I have a right to say something, and that goes both ways. But to me, breast implants are roughly the equivalent of telling a man that his dick isn't big enough and asking him to get a disfiguring implant that destroys his sexual response. Most guys, if told that, would rightfully say, "Fuck off!" Most guys would have no issue with telling a woman who asked, that their dick belongs to them, and what's the point of having a big one if they can't feel anything, and frankly, any woman who wants a disformed dick just because it's bigger is a WEIRDO. So, why can't we see how breast implants are the same?