Beauty is as beauty does.

A couple of recent academic studies have raised my formidable ire.

One is from McMaster University, which concluded that women changed their eating patterns based on who they ate with, but men did not. Many news articles were written in response, titled such literary gems as “Hey women, wanna slim down? Dine with men“, and “Men good for your diet“.

The other is from the University of Helsinki, which concluded that attractive women have more children than their less attractive counterparts and that a higher proportion of those children are female, and that this repeats itself through generations resulting in women becoming steadily more aesthetically pleasing over time. Further, a study in 2006 by the London School of Economics found that good-looking parents were far more likely to conceive daughters, and suggested this was because of differing “evolutionary strategies” that each sex has adopted to survive, and which had been subtly programmed into their DNA.

Say what?

1) May I ever so delicately say that these academic studies are utter CRAP! These beautifully written articles defend my profoundly poetic accusation: “Of causation, correlation and calories“, and “The mystery of beauty“.

2) Why are we perpetuating the myth, and giving it increasing strength when we do so, that women not only do compete, but should? This post beautifully states that “the idea that women are superficial and judgemental is damaging, and particularly so when it comes from smart, respected women.”

3) Why, oh why, do we determine our self-worth according to what we think others value about us? Isn’t the idea of self-worth something that should be determined by oneself? Eleanor Roosevelt said it best: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

I’m an artist, which I think entitles me to espouse an opinion on the concept of beauty.

I’m also a mother, a policy wonk, a life-long learner, and (gasp!) a feminist. Which I think entitle me to espouse an opinion on what kind of world we want for our children.

And I don’t think that world should be one where the snarky, empty, bullying, vain, sneering, judgemental, shallow and self-important people win.

So, wanna change the world? Don’t give them your consent.


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