Wishing I was blind to attractiveness, semi-sarcastically
March 19, 2013 10:20 PM   Subscribe

How do you deal with the damaging ways that society evaluates women?

Society (esp. men) value women largely on appearances and youth. Lately, I've noticed that I view women that way too and it bothers me that I view my own gender and myself in such a damaging way. For example, I noticed younger men and women more. I have also noticed how unfair it is that in the media, actors have a much longer career than actresses. I'm more aware of women's biological clock and how that affects a lot of the most important decisions in their lives (while men don't have such restraints). I am noticing all the ways that time seems to favor men over women, and it bothers me 1) I have to deal with it; 2) my viewpoint contributes to that.

Right now, I am at a favorable age but I am very aware that youth is temporary. It makes the advantages of youth feel very shallow, and I keep thinking how it feels to lose that. I feel objectified, and I don't like how much value society places on women's appearances, because surely there is so much value to a person at all ages. I don't like how looking good is a value itself. Perhaps when I am older, my view of beauty will change and I will notice and appreciate those who are older too. I also know that besides being an ego booster, being noticed by strangers doesn't mean much. In addition to that, my paying more attention to younger and prettier people doesn't mean much to older people. Nonetheless, it bothers me that as I get older, I'm supposed to be less valuable when the older I am, the wiser and better at handling things I would be.

I realized that lately, I've been placing a lot of value on looks and it bothers me that I play into this whole damaging way of evaluating myself and others. I mostly evaluate strangers this way, not people I know, but it still bothers me that I am paying more attention to better looking people. It feels unfair, and I am the same person who asked that question. Being young makes me feel like I have a lot to lose, and it's a feeling that really bothers me. Is being young really such an advantage, or is being older pretty good too? I can imagine feeling so free when I am older, because I no longer have to care about this.

PS. Part of me is scared that if I have a partner, he, like society, will not value me as much when I am older. I know too many disgusting examples of this. Truthfully it makes me feel very insecure to get married, because I don't believe that most men are deep enough to appreciate their partners for things beside appearances-- their character and how much they contribute.

I welcome your thoughts from either gender and all ages. Thank you.
posted by ichomp to Society & Culture (25 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Well, it is pretty unfair. Young people look better and are quicker, but older people know more, usually have more money, and are wiser. There's not much you can do about that as a general matter. You might want to narrow your vision a little bit - you should be glad, not sad, to have the advantages you have, because you won't have them forever and some day you'll need to trade them in for future not-yet-acquired advantages. If you renounce them, no one else will benefit, and you'll just be out whatever you gave up. So that's irrational and self-destructive. If you want to not feel guilty about it, help other people out, be a good person, and care about others the way you want to be cared about yourself. My two cents.
posted by facetious at 10:26 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

the short answer with respect to how you see other people is that you're already on the right track if you are noticing this. over time you'll get a better sense of yourself, and your biases, and you can calibrate.

i'd warn you that it's easy to get lost in terms like "society" and "value."

regarding the variation in women's "value" to "society" over the life course compared to men, you should keep in mind that, in those terms, for men they are "valued" lowly and slowly increase over time. the exception might be men who join the military, but then their lives (at least in terms of time, and sometimes in terms of dieing) are in a sense disposable and of less "value" because they're sacrificed to "society."

to the extent that these things are rooted in biological facts, regardless of how fair they seem or not, you have to make some peace with the fact that they ARE.

your fears regarding what your future partner may or may not think may be more appropriate for a human relations question.

Part of me is scared that if I have a partner, he, like society, will not value me as much when I am older.

i'd say that may be very likely in certain ways, but not in the way you probably mean. "value" is not one dimensional. time makes trolls of us all, so of course, over time, you will be less physically attractive compared to younger women. but that may or may not be enough for your future partner to leave you. or, you may want to leave your future partner further down the line.

i'd suggest doing an internet search for "sociology life course".
posted by cupcake1337 at 10:43 PM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

Yes this frightens me also. I was really fat as a kid, so people forgot to see me as gendered (huge blessing, moderate curse), but I now fit into general standards of beauty. I gained this privilege when I could process it as such, and fear losing it.

On the other hand: I used to have a complex about feeling like I was being unfair at social dances when I was asked to dance more often, presumably because due to youth and beauty. [note the glaring assumptions, delusions, and narcissism.]

I decided to just work on the dance so that I could be confident that I was also a technically better dancer. My brain says it's ok to be valued on technical merit! And then I moved to a city with enough men at dances that this became a non-issue. Yay.

I guess one thing that makes me feel better is that I'll always have merit, and that I should be lucky / proactive enough to surround myself with situations and people who see those merits in me. The area under the awesome curve doesn't decrease -- it just shifts. [I hope it works this way?]
posted by batter_my_heart at 10:44 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

I am in my late 20's and like most people, I can be taken for a couple years up or down in either direction depending on my makeup/hair/clothes.

When I am wearing work clothes and makeup, I *NEVER* get perverts trying to take up my time and attention in a pushy way. They just don't even try. I will sit in a coffee shop and watch as these 50-something guys go up to college-aged girls who are trying to study, and just suck up their attention and time with blather while the girl doesn't know how to get rid of him and still be "nice," or even if she would still be considered nice at all if she wanted to get rid of him.

But it doesn't happen to me in those scenarios and it is fantastic. Sometimes all I have to do is look at the man while he is on his way to approach the college girl - just openly look at him in a way that he sees I am fully observing him and what he is doing - and he will think twice about it.

I still get men shouting rude and nasty things to me on the street. But I never get targeted by that subset of men who look for targets they think will be too nice, meek, or polite to object. The only time it happens now is when I'm wearing sports clothes and an old college tee and ponytail and they think I am a college girl.
posted by cairdeas at 10:46 PM on March 19, 2013 [6 favorites]

Oh, one of my friends who just turned 30 posted some quote like this the other day. "It feels weird to remember that I'm 30, because I still feel like I'm 20. That is, until I hang out with people who are actually 20. Then I'm like "Yup, I'm definitely 30.""

At least half my friends are in their 30's now (early to late) and just as many of them are fun and attractive as they were 10 years ago. Lots of them more so. There isn't a weird dynamic where all the men treat all the women like crap. [My experience is only people with no kids though, I don't know if kids changes this.] Generally everyone of both sexes is a lot more mature, more stable and just easier to have fun and really good friendships with. Honestly, I was treated way way worse by my male peers when I was closer to 20; opposite-sex relations between peers sucked way more when I was closer to 20.

ALSO, the only guys I knew in their 30's when I was that age, were the guys who really fetishized college girls. So basically the only ones I knew were creeps with major issues. Ever since I was a little girl I have always thought guys in their 30's were the most attractive, and I am finally at an age where quality guys in their 30's would want to have relationships with me. So it kind works the opposite way from how you might think.
posted by cairdeas at 11:00 PM on March 19, 2013 [15 favorites]

I was gonna say the same thing as cairdeas, that.. I really like being a bit older (mid 20s now) because I get many less unwanted advances in public places.

I don't think you need to worry too much about the marriage thing. I'm sure there's a lot of men (I know a lot of them, so I feel confident in this matter) that are more than deep enough to value their partners for much more than their youth and beauty. you're thinking of men in a different damaging way by doing that, projecting "society's" sitcom narrative that men are shallow and only value hot women onto real men, who are (mostly) much more complex.

trust me, while being young and still valuing getting noticed, sometimes the ego boost is nice (and it's still okay as long as I don't get harassed along with that looking) I think as you age you'll probably start to value different things in yourself more as well as in other people, and it will naturally shift your focus. you won't feel like you lost anything.
posted by euphoria066 at 11:02 PM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

I think we value looks for strangers as a proxy or shorthand measure of quality. In maps, a good (well designed, highly functional) map is typically described as beautiful but a beautiful map is not necessarily a good map. So I think beauty gets a bad rap because it is a proxy of underlying quality but it can be faked so it isn't a reliable proxy. If it were a 100% reliable proxy, I think it would be less controversial.

In women, I think most of the things we think of as beautiful are really indicators of good health and thus of important functionality. But, again, it can be faked so it isn't reliable. Makeup, wigs, hair dye, cosmetic surgery, fake fingernails, padded bras, girdles and so on all are a means to look better without really fixing the underlying problem. If you do not know someone well, how they look gives important info about them which has its uses, but you do have to discount it somewhat as probably not entirely authentic.

I was seen as beautiful when I was young. I was also molested and raped as a child and was probably bluntly told it was my fault for being "too beautiful to resist." So beauty is not all upside. I spent years learning to downplay my looks. I am mostly happier with my more "mellow" appearance now that I am older. I have a long history of attracting unwanted attention from men. It is less of a bother these days.

I am unconvinced that looks per se matter as much to men as they may think. I have known a few men who were attracted to me because of my independent nature. These were men who tried to make their wives go to school and get more of a life, etc. I think many men would really prefer to marry someone who is more of an "equal" but they don't know how to behave in a way which genuinely helps foster that. A lot of men seem actively sabotage the traits they seem to genuinely desire. I think it is rooted in complex social issues that they don't really understand. I don't think most of them intend to engage in such sabotage.

I am still trying to figure out how to establish a relationship based on "true love." I think a lot of my own relationships have been based on being a good fit for my Crap Du Jour. When I resolved my Crap Du Jour and moved on to some new flavor of Crap Du Jour, those relationships were so Yesterday and ended. I am very leery of marrying someone who has a taste for whatever my current pain point is. I feel like that tends to keep me stuck. It is easier to fully resolve an issue if I can walk away from a man who prefers me to be someone with X problem for some reason. My hope is to find someone who can grow with me and see past some current problem -- recognize it as a current problem and not see it as some innate character trait or otherwise permanent.

(I suspect a lot of people attract partners who fit some thing here and now but can't really make it work long term/big picture. I don't think that's peculiar to me. I just don't know how to put my observation in more general terms without sounding like I am insulting people. I am fine with expressing what amounts to self deprecating humor on this point.)
posted by Michele in California at 11:09 PM on March 19, 2013 [7 favorites]

I ruthlessly drop women who are competitive with other women (of any sexual orientation) and men who encourage said competition. Reduces stress in life.
posted by fshgrl at 11:13 PM on March 19, 2013 [11 favorites]

"Is being young really such an advantage, or is being older pretty good too?"

Being older's great, so far. I enjoyed my teen years and my 20s were great, but you couldn't pay me to go back to them, tight ass and pre-baby-belly and all, because being in my 30s is just so much better. I hypothesize this getting-better will continue, based on observing the women around me.

It must be hard if you're in an industry that really places a premium on youth or looks, but I work in industries where ideas, diligence, intelligence, etc., matters a lot more, and the greater experience of an older person has a lot of value. I had the luck of coming into an organization right as the last male-only leadership set was leaving, and these were men who had to make a conscious decision that women were going to be brought into positions of equality and power, and who hadn't really been raised that way or worked that way for their entire working life, and even from these 70-year-old senior executives on their way to retirement, after only the last 20 years of their working life were women entering the profession in large numbers and they had to learn to be mentors and managers to women in positions of authority, they were so eager to invite women in and mentor us and make a place for us, and in just the 20 years they'd had working with women in management positions, they had become used to it and approved of it wholeheartedly. And I've really not been in a work situation in quite a while where men are treating women as being valuable for their looks. I'm sure I work with some guys who THINK that way, at least some of the time, but they also value women's brains enough to work with them as equals and are polite enough human beings not to run around going, "oooooh, saucy young secretary, I'd hit that!"

I have been fascinated by the spectacle of Hilary Clinton aging so gracefully on such a public stage. It IS difficult for women to age gracefully, and when we see older women in the media, they are often famous actresses. It's really awesome to see a smart, powerful woman who's in the public eye for being kick-ass at her difficult, serious, amazing job, and to see a model of what aging gracefully looks like when you're not Christie Brinkley (who is aging very gracefully and I salute her! But she is still Christie Brinkley and in a looks-based industry). Hilary Clinton looks GOOD. She doesn't look young but she looks like what you'd expect a savvy, hard-charging politician in her 60s to look like. She gives you a model of how to dress when you have to go to a meeting to, like, stave off nuclear war. Or design product specs or something. :) I also think of Angela Merkel, Melinda Gates, Diane Sawyer, QEII (inimitably!), Christiana Amanpour, Sonia Sotomayor (who's done Sesame Street!). Those are women you look at and their beauty is almost totally beside the point; they are so INTERESTING in their own right, and their faces are all the more interesting for having some lines and wrinkles and the tales of life on them.

I don't think most men are as shallow as you fear -- or at least not in any greater proportion than women are. And marriage builds on so many things that beauty maybe an early attractor but it becomes irrelevant as time goes on and builds the marriage on stronger foundations. This is the person who's going to take care of you when you barf for the rest o your life -- that should scare off most of the sexists and body-shamers because barf ain't pretty.

My views on beauty do change as I age; I find all you 20-somethings just gorgeous now, so clean-skinned and fresh-faced and full of life and then my doctor is suddenly younger than me and I want to tell my doctor that he's beautiful in the way babies are beautiful and also are you some kind of Doogie Howser because obviously you're 12. But I feel like that would be weird. But I also find women in their 40s and 50s and 60s to be so beautiful, and so interesting-looking and it seems like the longer I live (so far), the more beauty I find.

Aging does have its downsides (my knees have already received the memo that they are 35 and should be complaining bitterly about it), but I wouldn't trade it for being 20 again, or looking like I was 20 again. This is just better. And judging by my mom, 60 seems every better still.

Also when I watch less TV I find myself more attuned to the huge variety of human beauty instead of focused only on its narrow Hollywood expressions.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:27 PM on March 19, 2013 [45 favorites]

Oh yeah, Eyebrows McGee mentioned something I wasn't thinking about that might be significant. I haven't had TV in 4 years and I also live in a place where many many people don't have TV either. I think attitudes are different in places like that. Sometimes I think I am living in a bubble and that is a bad thing, I should get TV and be immersed in that so I'm not oblivious to how the rest of the culture thinks and I won't be blindsided by it when I go out of my bubble. But, it's pretty nice so far.
posted by cairdeas at 11:33 PM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

I welcome your thoughts from either gender and all ages.

When people first discover the notion of depth, often everything around them suddenly appears very shallow. This happens regardless of the subject—gender relations, art appreciation, religious philosophy, etc. It's an ironic thing because honestly, when you're first discovering the depth of something, you have probably a 1 percent appreciation for how deep (and broad) it truly is. But your view has suddenly changed and so, well, your view changes. Everything looks different to you.

A comment like, "I don't believe that most men are deep enough to appreciate their partners for things beside appearances" is indicative of this. It's the kind of remark a young person says, someone who is earnestly pursuing thoughtfulness and reflection but without tons of experience. This is not a bad thing. To the contrary, it's a laudable thing. Every trait has to start somewhere, and those are good traits to develop.

But while you're going through the process of developing, I think it's helpful emotionally to maintain perspective. Remember that your personal discoveries are new and that your personal experience is limited. I'm not suggesting you should stop trying to think in deep ways about the world around you, but remembering those facts can help to keep your "conclusions" in perspective and, in turn, to keep your emotions in check. In other words, it can help you to continue being thoughtful without experiencing doom-and-gloom (or unwarranted ecstasy) as the gears turn.
posted by cribcage at 11:46 PM on March 19, 2013 [7 favorites]

There's not a whole lot you can do about the fact that other people make judgments based on looks. But you probably can help how you react and be a positive influence by doing so--likely affecting all of your relationships over time.

As an example, I used to hire tons of college students for a particular job, and I was very pleased when a disinterested observer noted what a coincidence it was that others seemed to hire such attractive people, whereas my crew were, let's say, all over the spectrum but considerably more effective by any standard. It's pretty anecdotal, but I was conscious of the misleading halo effect that attractiveness can have on judgments of intelligence, competence, etc., so I had sketched out in my mind what an ideal candidate would be like (regardless of looks) and used that as a sort of rubric when deciding whom to hire.

It's likely you're in a position to make similar choices, whether you realize it or not, about acquaintances, co-workers, strangers you're helping at work, and so on. And you're certainly in a position to inform anyone you're in a relationship with that they need to be or become someone who looks at a wide range of meaningful criteria when judging people.

You're right that a long-term relationship is a little tricky because it's likely to begin on very shallow premises, and people aren't wrong to click initially with others they find cute. But the only reasonable thing a partner can ask for a lifetime is that you occasionally make an effort with respect to things you can control: grooming, health, style, and so on. And obviously, they should mostly be considering criteria like how much you share in the work or how companionable, affectionate, and sexually compatible you are.

There ought to be a long period of time in which to figure out whether your partner is the kind of person who at least tries to remain aware of the whole package, so I wouldn't worry about that too much. I mean, you can never know for sure, but by thinking about what you think the right criteria are, expressing a need to be appreciated for them, and assessing whether that's really what matters to your partner, you'll have done the best you can and a lot better than most.

TL;DR: read up on the halo effect and counteract it with consistent rubrics and revised opinions; read up on qualities of a good long-term partnership and, before you get too committed, make clear to your partner they need to share your views on what makes for a good, positively self-reinforcing relationship.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 1:03 AM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

because I don't believe that most men are deep enough to appreciate their partners for things beside appearances

So this is what you believe. Think about this: men that have depth and capability to appreciate you beyond your physical beauty are typically on the other end of the attractive scale - what would you do if you were involved with such a man and his physical looks degraded further over time?
posted by Kruger5 at 5:13 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

I would like to answer your question in two ways.

First, I think if you ask most people in their thirties, forties, or fifties if they want to be in their twenties again, most of them will tell you decidedly no.

Second, don't worry about the things you have no control over.
posted by Dansaman at 5:42 AM on March 20, 2013 [4 favorites]

to the extent that these things are rooted in biological facts, regardless of how fair they seem or not, you have to make some peace with the fact that they ARE.

I have to join in everything that Cupcake1337 said, with emphasis.

It is easy to blame "society" when things are not as we think they should be, but there is no villain called "society" twirling his mustache somewhere. "Society" is what people do. Let's say I am attracted to women with brown eyes. I hope that you would agree that you have no right to tell me that what I am attracted to is wrong and that instead, you want me to be attracted to women with green eyes. If it is not possible to tell one person what to find attractive, how could you do it to a group of people i.e. "society"?

Cupcake hit the nail on the head. In this case, what people do is rooted in biology. I am a man who is attracted to women. I think most people here would agree that impulse is rooted in biology and that it is not the case that "society" made me this way. Similarly, young women have a better time in the sexual marketplace because sexual urges are procreative at their root and young women have a distinct fertility advantage. When I was looking for a mate, I knew that I wanted to have children, so it wouldn't have made sense to pursue women in their late 30s because they are near the end of their fertility window. I do not understand your framing of these biological issues in terms of "fairness". To me it is no different that complaining about the unfairness of tuna being able to breathe underwater while I cannot. I would love to be able to travel faster than the speed of light, but complaining that the universe has an "unfair" speed limit doesn't change anything. I just have to deal with reality. Until you do the same, you will continue to post similar AskMeFi questions.

If you are truly worried about the emphasis you place on looks, be the change that you want to see. Date men whom you think are not attractive.
posted by Tanizaki at 7:32 AM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

You also asked this AskMe. I get the impression that you have some kind of warped relationship with beauty... like possibly you spent your life being taught that you aren't/shouldn't be beautiful or that beauty should be ignored, but now you're realizing that you can't resist beauty's inevitable allure, but you're also repulsed by it.

I think you have problems "managing" your reactions to beauty, and you feel that inevitably other people have the same problems managing themselves with respect to beauty that you do. You manage to tamp it down, but figure that others are just as obsessed but have much less self control.

I think it is definitely true that people (especially women) get "noticed" a lot less as they get older, but this applies mostly to strangers. Most interactions in life don't involve random encounters on the streets or whether you get noticed in coffeeshops. If that is your primary forum of social interaction and where you get most of your self-worth from, then aging will be hard to deal with. But if you invest in yourself and your future now, then your self-worth will come from other places, and age will be something to look forward to.
posted by deanc at 7:34 AM on March 20, 2013 [3 favorites]

Most of the women I know are much happier in middle age and older than they were in their youth. There are probably many reasons for this, but I think at least one of them is that they've learned not to let their self-esteem and their happiness rely so heavily on the perception of others. Also - and this has been a complete surprise to me - they seem to have more fun and more active love lives than my friends in their 20s and 30s, who flail about in the high-stakes drama of the Elusive Quest for the Perfect Life Partner.

I don't know if it was always this way, but based on the experience of my own parents and other people in their 50s, 60s and above, I'm actually really looking forward to retirement!
posted by walla at 7:42 AM on March 20, 2013 [4 favorites]

I put it in my Fuck It Bucket and move on.

Seriously, I do. There is so very little I can do about it -- losing weight to get to whatever I perceive is a socially acceptable level of fabulous svelteness, keeping up with the endless cycle of hair dye and eyebrow plucking and all that. Until four months ago, I hadn't blow-dried my hair in over 15 years. Fuck it.

I am living proof that confidence and throwing caution to the wind is much more attractive AND worthwhile in the long run than trying to fit yourself into some arbitrary standard of attractiveness. Since July of 2000, I have been in four relationships, including two marriages, and have been truly unattached (i.e. not still hanging out) for a grand total of, oh, three months. Three separate months. I "caught" my last two serious relationships while slumming it, in one case showing up sweaty and cranky after moving into a new apartment.

I am not some kind of magical being. I am fat and cranky and annoying and REAL. Doing things any other way would be impossible.
posted by Madamina at 8:00 AM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'm 45 this year. If you offered me a chance to be 25 again I'd tell you to drop dead. I hated my 20's I don't get the big deal about them at all. Never have never will. I am a very fat person 260lbs easily and was invisible in my 20's, but something happened in my 30's I lost no weight what so ever but I gained self confidence, and knowledge and stopped caring what silly guys who think college girls are awesome because bewbs thought of me and I started getting dates. Lots of dates, guys thought I was funny and smart and strangely enough sexy. I chalked it up to older guys like what they like and they don't all just like shiny pretty young things and yay for me.

Then I met this great kid, he was 20 at the time. Still in college, fun and a bit sexy and we had some great times together, I kept him firmly in the friends with benefits zone despite his best efforts, and there were lots of benefits. He went back to college in the US we kept in touch over the years and visited and he graduated and dated other people and got a new job in a great city so I went to visit him again and sparks flew. Long story short we've known each other 9 years and been married 3 and I can make him want me, even now, with just a smile.

Don't presume to know what people find attractive. Look at people you would think are unattractive by these standards of "society", heck go to a site that mocks these people like that "People of Walmart" site and notice that they have partners, and families and love and are loved too, most of the world isn't pretty or young and we all get along, for the most part, just fine and dandy no matter what the pretty people think.

Anyway you wanted peoples thoughts on the subject, those are mine. Go spend some time on your insides, develop some hobbies, volunteer, go read to the blind or something. If you like the person inside the pretty then chances are other people will too. Right now you sound like you think that is all you have going for you and that makes me feel sad.
posted by wwax at 10:05 AM on March 20, 2013 [6 favorites]

I figure that when you know you're going experience both sides of a coin of life's unfairness, it's better to enjoy the good side without guilt and roll with the bad side as best you can as the cost of the good times. I figure that if there is not a choice to decline the bad side (or both sides), then it's better to enjoy the good side than to turn it down.

Try not to hurt people as you live life, and try not to perpetuate unfairness, but when you have the advantages of youth, use them. And when you have the advantages of age, use them. And when you can help people, help people.
posted by anonymisc at 10:48 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Do some reading on the subject, and try to alter your way of looking at people. Your assessment of yourself is open, so your ability to change should be quite good. One book that comes to mind is The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women by Naomi Wolf.
posted by theora55 at 12:25 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

I find that although we are bombarded with images of young, usually too young, females in the media, many people do find older women attractive- if anything I think today this is much more so the case. In fact I was just watching A Streetcar Named Desire the other night and remarking on how Blanche being over 30 was such a big deal, whereas today, at least in the urban areas I have always lived, 30 is still considered pretty young.

I, like those above have indicated, have enjoyed aging to the point where I'm not a target for dirtbags. I had mostly considered my beauty a burden until recently - I'm 34. I felt men wanted to use me for sexual satisfaction and women hated me because they perceived me as more attractive than themselves.

As others have pointed out attractiveness is more generally related to healthfulness and being confident. There are some people that will always be chasing the barely legal set, but I think this is analogous to the idea that women are only attracted to men for their money. It is a stereotype and definitely true for some people, but there are many exceptions.

Also, not all men age gracefully. Sure some get all dignified, but many just lose their hair and gain weight.

No one I associate with considers people that look good more valuable as individuals, that is immature and shallow.

I suggest you find new friends, stop reading any shitty magazines(if you do) and watching crappy shows that reinforce these toxic ideas in your brain. Also, if you feel you focus on your looks too much try getting rid of all your mirrors.
posted by abirdinthehand at 2:52 PM on March 20, 2013 [3 favorites]

Try taking a class in drawing, or anything that really makes you look at people carefully. Some people are obviously beautiful, but that doesn't mean everyone else isn't. You just have to see it.
posted by emeiji at 5:13 PM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

My first thought on reading this was, "I wonder if she lives in Los Angeles?" Seriously. So I checked your profile and I was pretty darn close! The looks-and-youth worshiping attitude might be more prevalent where you are than in other parts of the USA.
posted by selfmedicating at 7:15 PM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Ask older people if they'd like to be younger again and although many will say they'd like to be physically younger, and some will say they'd like to go back to change some poor decisions they made, most of them will say they would not want to undo the experience, wisdom, knowledge, and financial stability they have at their current older age. So I wold say don't worry about this because life is always about tradeoffs - something is lost and something is gained. So enjoy your physical youthfulness and try not to make too many bad decisions that you will regret later.
posted by Dansaman at 11:23 PM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

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