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From the “We Told You So” file – Peer Influnce Edition

Posted by A birch tree on April 8, 2008

So I’ve gone out and done something stupid: I bought a couple of magazines.

Why is that stupid? Because now I’m going to be spending god knows how long posting about every article in both of them that raises my ire. So you’re going to get tired of hearing me rant about things in the latest Psychology Today and Discover, and probably at least a couple things out of an ancient (Sept. 2007) Reader’s Digest I yionked from the doctor’s office the other day.

I’m going to start with an article called “All In Favor”, a little blurb on page 26 of the April 2008 issue of Psychology Today. Basically, it tells us that some new studies have shown that beauty is not only in the eye of the beholder, but also in the eye of the beholder’s buddies. An excerpt:

“Men and Women were asked to rate the relative beauty of male and female faces, and their preferences were compared to those of their siblings, spouses, friends, and total strangers. As it turns out, your aesthetic preferences are closer to those of people familiar to you than to those of strangers. One explanation: …all those preference discussions you have with your friends, about what you like and dislike, shape people’s ideas even about things researchers assume are hard wired…”

Well duh. Radical feminists and the Boy’s Auxiliary have been saying that for years now; beauty standards are exclusively culture-derived, and not only in terms of the overarching culture, but in terms of micro-culture. The people you hang out with and the media you consume shape your paradigm about what counts as “beauty”. This study deserved more than a single-column analysis, because it’s basically a big fat “FUCK YOU!” to the popular distortions of evolutionary biology as it pertains to selection of sexual partners that MRAs and PPFs both like to put on golden pedestals and worship with starry-eyed devotion as excuses for their individual bad behavior.

So yeah, when a woman says “You looking at porn worries me, because I’m pretty sure those girls are what you really think of when you think of physical beauty, and I don’t look like that,” or “I don’t like the way your buddies talk about women and judge their looks because it makes me feel inferior, since I don’t have those gigantic tits they go on and on about,” and the guy says “You’re full of shit” (in nicer or less nice verbiage, depending on the guy), that woman can turn around and say “No, you’re full of shit because even a pulp psych rag like Psychology Today can show you studies that prove your preferences are shaped by the people you hang around and the media you consume even moreso than any ‘internal hardwiring’ you may or may not have, so bite my ass and get that porn, that Maxim, and those smelly-ass dudes right the fuck out of my living room.”

Well, ok, that’s a bit idealistic, but at least now we’ve got some mainstream scientific goodness to show that she’s not, in fact, full of shit or a prude or pathologically insecure, but has come to a scientifically valid conclusion just by using a smidge of common sense.

Combine this with the overpopulation of air-brushed photoshopped heavily-makeuped images of females touted as reality, and suddenly we have a perfect recipe for shaping men’s preferences, through initial exposure and reinforced by peer associations, into something entirely unattainable by real, live women, and no, it has nothing to do with what their ancestor-chimps fourty thousand years ago thought was sexy.

Men always amaze me with this kind of stuff, by the way. The fact that women can know something, just by thinking about it and using real logic (instead of the oft-touted “Male Logic”, which is usually nothing more than attaching a half-thought-out ad hoc pseudo-scientific justification to the back end of a purely emotional idea*), that men have to spend tons of money and months studying and researching to figure out, makes the finches give out a chirp that sounds suspiciously like “WTF?”

*(For example, men justifying the way they unabashedly oggle big breasts by claiming, after the fact, that back during the Evolutionary Days(tm), big breasts meant better child-raising, even when about fouty-five seconds of research on a pregnancy website reveals that excess breast tissue can mess with an infant’s ability to latch onto the nipple, thus making larger mammary glands a net evolutionary detriment.)


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