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09-12-2011
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Not Plain Jane's Avatar
 
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Originally Posted by PinkGoddess View Post
Yes, but that describes all powers (except power over oneself). They rely on the approval or esteem of others and tend to reach a peak at some point in one's life.
I totally take your point; it is a good one. With sexual power it is unlikely it will peak for a woman later in life (sure, it can happen) whereas with talent, sometimes people do their best work (writing, acting, designing, whatever) when they are more mature. Or they can have an entire career of success and power, whereas beauty tends to fade, hence the window for sexual power is narrow. And sometimes when people, celebs in particular, rely too much on that power, they are lost when it is lost. It is rather sad in a way.

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10-12-2011
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It's true that talent remains with one for a long time even though the ability to profit from it usually has a peak, but I don't think that necessarily makes it a better power. Sex appeal/beauty for females plays a large part in attracting romantic partners as well as capturing the attention of people in any given field - advantages of a more intimate nature than just the professional realm. Talent usually only works in this way when coupled with fame, as there is a less personal and more detached quality to it, whereas people tend to associate sex appeal/beauty with the person themselves, even though it has nothing to do with their essential nature. I think it's akin to the way that people who are very sociable or 'charmers' tend to get further in life as talented people don't always have the confidence or ambition to get their foot in the door. Beauty/sex appeal is similar to charisma/sociability in this regard due to its obvious and immediate nature.

Ultimately though, it does depend on what a person wants to get out of it.


Last edited by PinkGoddess; 10-12-2011 at 12:08 AM.
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10-12-2011
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Beauty, charm and sex appeal are promoted as 'strengths' for women because the more serious forms of power are not traditionally seen as their domain. There's nothing wrong with women making the most of what's been assigned to them, but it's also important to be aware of the forms of power being practised in the world that profit from women being so concerned with their much smaller sphere of influence.

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10-12-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PinkGoddess View Post
It's true that talent remains with one for a long time even though the ability to profit from it usually has a peak, but I don't think that necessarily makes it a better power. Sex appeal/beauty for females plays a large part in attracting romantic partners as well as capturing the attention of people in any given field - advantages of a more intimate nature than just the professional realm. Talent usually only works in this way when coupled with fame, as there is a less personal and more detached quality to it, whereas people tend to associate sex appeal/beauty with the person themselves, even though it has nothing to do with their essential nature. I think it's akin to the way that people who are very sociable or 'charmers' tend to get further in life as talented people don't always have the confidence or ambition to get their foot in the door. Beauty/sex appeal is similar to charisma/sociability in this regard due to its obvious and immediate nature.

Ultimately though, it does depend on what a person wants to get out of it.
You seem to be conflating personality, charisma, confidence, and personal appeal with beauty. They are not the same things.

My own view is that its an excellent idea to be cautious in the exercise of any power one happens to find in one's possession.

I worked with a woman in her 50s or early 60s who apparently had experienced great success wielding her SA in the past. Its sell by date had passed, but she was continuing to behave in the same ways--doing nothing but alienating people and making a laughingstock of herself.

Had she had the discipline and character to develop a more balanced approach of teamwork and consensus building, had she learned how to treat people in a way that inspired loyalty, she would have had an approach that would have transitioned seamlessly as the 'blonde factor' diminished, and would have continued to make her more and more powerful.

I believe that if you are not impeccable in using whatever power you find to hand, it will come back to bite you in the a$$.

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10-12-2011
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I wasn't trying to imply that they're the same; I was comparing their effect on people as opposed to the effect that talent has. The benefits of personality traits like charisma and confidence, for the most part, cannot be sold nor even defined. Beauty and sex appeal can be sold, but for most women, the greatest powers that their beauty or sex appeal will bring them lie in the unsaleable and the intangible. The majority of good-looking women don't work in jobs where their beauty or sex appeal is directly being sold. However, they do experience many more benefits in associating with people than their non-beautiful counterparts, but these benefits, unlike the professional advantages that talent brings people, cannot be measured, and are therefore overlooked.


Last edited by PinkGoddess; 10-12-2011 at 11:24 AM.
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10-12-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tigerrouge View Post
Beauty, charm and sex appeal are promoted as 'strengths' for women because the more serious forms of power are not traditionally seen as their domain. There's nothing wrong with women making the most of what's been assigned to them, but it's also important to be aware of the forms of power being practised in the world that profit from women being so concerned with their much smaller sphere of influence.
I think your sentiment that beauty, charm, and sex appeal are not "serious" forms of power is an erroneous one and part of the reason why so many feminists have believed it necessary to "overthrow" traditional femininity in order to assert themselves as strong and capable. A serious power should be any power that is influential and profitable, which those aforementioned certainly are.

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10-12-2011
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^^I think they can be measured ... there have been a number of studies done where they, for example, send a more attractive person and a less attractive person on interviews with the same resume and measure the results. Which do, of course, favor the more attractive person.

You're speaking of beauty in the context of women only, but physical appearance is quite significant for men too. For example, a man's height is an accurate predictor of how likely he is to have children (and also how likely he is to have an executive role). I read recently of a study showing that looks/physicality was actually more influential in men's careers than women's.

On the plus side for women, women who are groomed and wearing makeup are perceived in all sorts of ways in a more positive light than women who aren't and don't (more trustworthy, deserving of a higher salary, etc.). And that is something we can change.

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Last edited by fashionista-ta; 10-12-2011 at 11:40 AM.
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10-12-2011
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The idea that beauty is power cannot be denied. But the objectification of women is a serious problem, and thank god feminists recognized it and tried to do something about it, tried to be recognized beyond roles of housewives and playboy bunnies - stepford wives. It is a sad day when a person gets a job over others more qualified, talented, or intelligent because she is prettier or sexier (unless the job specifically calls for that). The surface is just the surface. It doesn't have intrinsic merit beyond that. Then we might as well revert back to judging people based on their skin colour. How retrograde.

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10-12-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PinkGoddess View Post
I think your sentiment that beauty, charm, and sex appeal are not "serious" forms of power is an erroneous one and part of the reason why so many feminists have believed it necessary to "overthrow" traditional femininity in order to assert themselves as strong and capable. A serious power should be any power that is influential and profitable, which those aforementioned certainly are.
I wouldn't poo-poo the feminists, not for a minute. If it weren't for them (and civil rights, and gay rights, and all people who fight for change) we probably wouldn't have near as many freedoms and rights today. And let's face it, women still don't have equality.

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10-12-2011
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Originally Posted by Not Plain Jane View Post
I wouldn't poo-poo the feminists, not for a minute. If it weren't for them (and civil rights, and gay rights, and all people who fight for change) we probably wouldn't have near as many freedoms and rights today. And let's face it, women still don't have equality.
Yes, but the feminists whose concerns lay with tearing down traditionally feminine notions were certainly not the ones who gained us our rights. First wave feminists did not think of femininity as a curse or a void that had to be filled with masculine traits; that concept only arose with the radicals.

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10-12-2011
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Masculine traits? What are those? Who were the "radicals"? The first wave feminists, if you are referring to those who fought for the vote etc, Victorian era, were of their time. They just wanted to have rights to property and to vote. It was a start. But don't kid yourself, because it was after them that the 1920s followed and with that era, the flappers, and the end of corsets, covering everything, etc. Including hands and ankles etc. The feminists of the late 60s and early 70s didn't advocate "masculine traits" though I am still not sure what those are. They advocated working outside the home, having the ability to move up at a job, to do things besides being a helpmeet/secretary. And yeah, to wear jeans if they so chose. Not cinch in waists and full skirts and white gloves. But a different kind of sexy and femininity.

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10-12-2011
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^ You're quite right ... it's very common to see (read) Gloria Steinem era feminists discussing how/why what's thought of as feminine traits make women superior and more fit to run the world.

I find this masculine/feminine construct to be often inaccurate, and limiting to everyone. The idea that being logical and analytical is masculine is actually quite insulting to our entire gender. I wish we could find a new way to characterize and think about the traits that virtually everyone has a mix of. (Well, there is Myers-Briggs ...)

I had thought we were largely past this demonization of second wave feminists, but I guess not quite.

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10-12-2011
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In terms of any movement for change, it's the radical thinkers who produce the energised ideas that filter down in a moderate form, ideas which are then put into practice in a more general way. To dismiss the radicals is to miss the important part they play in the entire process of making anything happen.

Just because we may not agree with their points or want to live by their potentially strict principles doesn't mean we haven't enormously benefited from the risks the radicals took by kickstarting the process of seeing and describing things differently and daring to speak out about it.

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10-12-2011
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In 2011 it's standard practice to support claims with convincing empirical evidence, which if you're completely ignorant, excludes anecdotes. The sum of this whole discussion seems like a throw-back to phrenology, where you can "predict" various traits people possess with very superficial and highly irrelevant measures. In 2011 a claim that leather coat wearers are a certain type of people needs to be supported by a study that shows a high correlation between all leather coats and all fake leather coats sold, with individuals of a specific personality profile in a very large sample. With the commercialization of many trends, I wish you luck in funding such an inquiry, and this would be despite whatever the initial message or intent of making a said type of garment is/was. Besides, when it comes to luxury goods, the environmental and social implications of production (fur & skins, etc.) and price point (large mark-ups, where funds spent on luxury goods could go towards positively impacting social & environmental change), respectively, have much more grave consequences than any of these insignificant real, or most likely imagined, subliminal designer messages have.

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11-12-2011
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And let's face it, women still don't have equality.
I'll probably get caned for this because I'm a male (which apparently instantly means that I'm out to keep women in the kitchen), but don't women have the legal right to equality? If they're still not receiving equality then they have every bit of power to do something about it.

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