As a teenager I wondered why women wore make-up, I concluded that that they wore it for themselves principally, for other women secondarily and not really for men.
I read recently that this view has come to acceptance. From this is seems odd that women do something to their appearance that has no effect on the opposite gender. As a heterosexual man I have learned that making some effort with my appearance does alter peoples behaviour towards me, i.e it provides social benefits for myself, so when I make an effort with my appearance it is purely for myself. Hence it makes sense to do this when going out to socialise or meeting important people at work. Really these functions are provided by dress, so why make up?
A couple of years ago I realised that I do like it when female friends of mine put make up on. Because it is someone I know making themselves look different and projecting a different image. I’m usually amazed by what a good job they have done. To me then make up is only relevent when it’s people you know, people who you know what they look like ‘naturally’.
There is something else than women do. the majority of women shave their armpits, bleach moustaches etc. The ‘feminist’ argument that I grew up with was that women did this for men and hence they should not.
I define feminism as simply parity between the sexes. I am also happy to extend this to include that no-one should do something simply because the other gender desires it.
Personally I feel it doesn’t matter whether a woman shaves for armpits/legs or not, people can do it if they want to. But does it matter?
At some point in growing up we learn not to judge people by their appearance. However we have to come to terms with the fact that humans seem to be pre-engineered to make rapid judgements about people. For example if I meet a lady and I notice that she has armpit hair, thoughts are triggered in my brain that bring back memories of thoughts about the subject. So for a split second I have set of pre-conceived ideas about this person. However these thoughts quickly pass. so it does matter, but only in influencing thoughts on an initial assessment of appearance. So, is there any difference when it comes to sexual attraction?
Sexual attraction is something that happens in that first split second of seeing someone. so all these initial triggered thoughts are there. If something in their appearance triggers a negative association (e.g. careful they might be some hardcore feminist and start screaming at me), that can stop the initial sexual attraction. Though a sexual attraction may still come about, but it will then depend on gathering information about the persons personality.
I often wonder if women and people of non-heterosexual persuasion have similar processes of sexual attraction. I find it wonderful that once I decide that I like someone any imperfections that they have no longer matter, are not unattractive or trigger any negativity.
What make up can do is hide imperfections, so any initial negative thoughts don’t happen, positive relations are established and so when imperfections are revealed, they no longer matter. For a non-sexual relationship, the imperfections are known about, so don’t trigger any pre-engineered assessment.