Beauty and its discontents at Good Men Project

It’s beauty week at the Good Men Project. Founder Tom Matlack has a piece asking Are Women Addicted to Beauty? Editor Lisa Hickey answers at least partly in the affirmative with her powerful Chasing Beauty: An Addict’s Memoir. My take is almost predictable, I suppose: Her Looks, Your Status: Why Men’s Claims Not to Care About Beauty Ring Hollow. Excerpt:

The desire for the approval of other men shapes straight men’s sexual desires. Think of the very reasonable claims of many men that they’re not attracted to size zero, skin-and-bones supermodels. Lots of guys claim, with apparent sincerity, that they love women with “curves.” So why are men so interested in dating skinny models? (A question asked and answered brilliantly in Ted Demme’s marvelous Beautiful Girls.) The answer, of course, is that a great many men care as much about what other guys think of their girlfriends and wives as they do about their own desires. The young guy who claims to love curves may be sincere, but he may also have to endure the taunts of his peers, who’ll call him a “chubby chaser” – or simply remark dismissively, “Dude, your chick’s fat.”

In Guy World, models imbue their beaux with a special and rare cachet in the eyes of other men. And that cachet is more than worth dating a woman with a body type that is less of a turn-on than a great many people imagine. This isn’t true of all men. But it drives a great many guys throughout their lives: from high school boys who sense the homosocial boost of dating a cheerleader to middle-aged men who suddenly start dating “hotties” half their age. Put simply, it’s not about the sex, it’s about the status.

And while we’re talking beauty, let me start plugging Beauty, Disrupted: A Memoir, available for pre-order in advance of its October 11 US release.

2 thoughts on “Beauty and its discontents at Good Men Project

  1. Well, I liked your article on the Good Men Project site a lot, although the comment section is a nightmare. However, I think there is an unintentional implication here:

    “Lots of guys claim, with apparent sincerity, that they love women with ‘curves.’ So why are men so interested in dating skinny models?”

    It sounds like because “lots of guys” like curvy women, “men” shouldn’t be interested in skinny women. There’s nothing contradictory about lots of guys liking curvy women and lots of guys liking skinny women (or even the two groups overlapping). The unfortunate thing is it sounds a bit disparaging toward the skinny.

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