irish i may

Monday, November 8, 2010

Beauty News You can do Without

There are three faithful friends - an old wife, an old dog, and ready money.
Benjamin Franklin 

I just read this article about female beauty  written by Amy Aikon, from the most recent issue of Psychology Today. This just bothered me on so many levels.  Lacking time I will just make a couple of points.  I hope you all read it and let me know what you think.

This is the magazine's cover story this month, which would suggest a new or profound insight into the human mind.  So what is the great revelation? That men prefer good-looking women, while women don't place as much emphasis on appearance? Huh? Is this really some sort of taboo subject?   Taboo among who?  I must be missing something because it is  not a recent discovery that men are visual and that pretty girls attract the most attention.  In theory this would give them the best selection of "mates", setting aside any personality or up-bringing issues which would influence their success with men. But beyond this, Aikon suggests, that character, intelligence, and decency-- "inner beauty"--  counts for zilch if a woman isn't beautiful.  .

 "While we wish things were different, we'd best accept the ugly reality: No man will turn his head to ogle a woman because she looks like the type to buy a turkey sandwich for a homeless man or read to the blind."  

Okay,  let's take a sensible step away from evolutionary-psychology-world.  Down here on the ground there are a lot of men who are married,  happily married, to homely women.  Some of them were never particularly pretty, and yet managed to attract their husbands.  Most women though, however lovely in youth,  come to that point where they eventually succumb to the pressures of age, gravity and cookies(me too, particularly the cookies part!). Despite some alleged internal evolutionary drive to seek out a better looking wife, their husbands love them and are faithful to them.  After all, they possess all manner of gifts and virtues which make them desirable life companions.  They are witty, intelligent, cheerful, astute businesswomen, good cooks, and enthusiastic lovers.  And their husbands are very happy. All of these good things do not mean nothing simply because there are younger, prettier, better-groomed gals out there.  

Aikon positions herself in this article as the voice of reason against impractical "feminist" ideas.  In fact Aikon seems to take a pretty dim of view of men, glossed over with a veneer of science.  Consider if a similar article by a male writer had urged men to step up their earnings lest their wives start eying the guy next door who's got a new deck or shiny SUV.  What?! How dare he suggest that women are only interested in a man's ability to support her! He would be considered a misogynist. However, in some circles (not Aikon's, clearly) men actually grow up and learn to treat women like fellow human beings.  The women in their lives recognize this, developing everything good and human in themselves in response.  This is not feminism, its adulthood.

I was also disturbed  by the authors "mean girl" tone throughout the article.  

"Note to the menopausal painted doll: Troweled on makeup doesn't make you look younger; it makes you look like an aging drag queen."

Nice. Seventh grade all over again. 

Personally, I think I prefer this beauty advice as I advance into middle age:

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
   but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
   and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. Proverb 31:30-31

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I am joining this with Gae from Cherished Hearts at Home because I was inspired by my blog-friend Allana at All is Amazing.  I am now home full-time and I am experiencing the Parkinson's Law effect of housework.  Not that I was efficiently plowing through all of my tasks when I was still employed, there were just things that I never did (cleaning out closets, volunteering at my sons' schools) or that I paid someone else to do for me (iron dh's shirts). Now I am determined to draw my focus back to home so that I can make our family life more peaceful.  These are my areas to concentrate on this week:

1. Meal planning: my Waterloo of domestic life.  I have avoided conquering this challenge once and for all for years.  I want to work on this both in anticipation of the holidays and in order to save more on groceries.

2. Thank-you notes for all of the folks who reached out to us at Mom's passing.  I really should have done these already.

3. Kitchen drawers and closet need attention.

4. It's time to put together a Christmas list.  This year it will be especially necessary. 

5. Scheduling my regular chores so I can make more time for fun with Rob and the kids! 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

November Daybook musings

Outside my window... The most glorious fall day you could imagine.  We have had three in a row, now.  Healing balm against February's gray rain!
I am thinking... of how unfair it is that my hair is going gray while my face is still breaking out!
I am thankful for...  my children's teachers and all they do for their students.  
Pondering these words...  “Teach your mouth to say that which you have in your heart.” Abba Poemen, from  Sayings of the Desert Fathers.
From the kitchen...  three-bean turkey chili, pumpkin bundt cake with cream cheese frosting, 
I am wearing...  jeans, a black turtleneck a blue short-sleeve sweater, and my cowboy boots
I am remembering...   both my Mom and the parents of two friends who passed to their reward in the last months.  Also especially remembering all the Souls who went before us this month.
I am a get-together tonight in honor of my good friend, Tina, cancer survivor and all-around class act! 
I am reading... Priestblock 25487 by Jean Bernard. Harrowing description of concentration camp life.
I am hearing...a classical guitar something on Pandora Radio.  
I am hoping...  to get to confession this weekend.
On my mind...  our monthly budget. Halloween may be over, but the real fright fest has just begun!
I am creating... an afghan for my husband.  It is a giant forest green granny square.  With luck and busy fingers I will be done by Christmas.
A few plans for the rest of the practices, a birthday party,  a visit to the park, two lovely days off from school for the younger kids, father's weekend at our son's school. 
One of my favorite things... my husbands' homemade wine: grease for the sandy gears of family life.

Thanks to Peggy at The Simple Woman's Daybook for expanding my world with this simple and wonderful exercise in appreciating all the good little things in my life.