Beauty! What is it? According to ancient philosophers Beauty is transcendental, a quality like Truth and Goodness that runs through to the core of being. A quality that transcends being. Plato said that where we find one of the transcendentals then we find them all. Where we find Beauty, we also find Truth and Goodness and where we find Truth we find Beauty and Goodness. Beauty is not subjective. What we find beautiful is. It’s the same with Truth. Truth is Truth but ‘the truth' is something that we have fought over for too long. My truth is better than your truth and I’ll die trying to prove it!
Beauty is the subject of many myths and stories, because like Truth and Goodness we are deeply programmed to seek it out and recognise it when we see it. The problems arise when we disagree about what we see. The revelation, to me, that what I am seeking in this life is Beauty came as a surprise.The further revelations about the ways I have been preventing myself from experiencing it has rocked my world. 2016 has been good for me like that. That one word, Beauty, it seems so innocent and easy. Put on a skirt and some stockings, some beautiful colours and fabrics e voila!? Non. Beauty is not that simple.
The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf describes a billion dollar industry that sells Beauty. The beauty industry sells the notion that Beauty is in a jar and is only sold by them. Not cheaply either. I mean if you had Beauty in a jar would you sell it cheap? Would you sell it at all? Or give it away to anyone? The Beauty Myth states that to have value women must be beautiful. Above all other considerations a woman's value is her beauty. Naomi describes it so precisely and is, I think, spot on. I’ve not finished the book yet so she might make the point I’m going to make, but there is another assumption that the beauty myth makes. That assumption is, that men are not beautiful. The modern lie that Men do Truth and Goodness while women do Beauty damages us all. Why is this damaging? Why does this assumption matter? Does it matter? I think it does. Here's why.
If Beauty is a transcendental quality and the experience of Beauty is limited and distorted then the experience of the transcendent is limited and distorted. If Beauty is distorted what happens to Truth and Goodness? Are they distorted too? If a mans experience of seeing beautiful people is limited to beautiful women then what does this say about him? Is he not beautiful? I believe that men (I know I did and I don’t believe I’m alone!) project their need for Beauty onto women, thus increasing the pressure. Not only does a woman feel her own real need for Beauty but she bears the weight of mens needs too! And of course this work both ways, women have an innate need to express and experience Truth and Goodness too but this is distorted as well.
Throughout the animal kingdom it’s the males that put on the big displays of beauty. The feathers, the dances, the nest building. Even in fish some males of the species build a beautiful nest for a female to lay her precious eggs. Think about it. It’s the females that do the selecting when it comes to mating yet in the west males are mainly uniformed in the blue/black jeans equivalent of a peacock with plain feathers. Why would the peahen choose him?
At a party the other day I was talking to a couple. Very typically she was beautiful and he was plain. We spoke about the effort she put in and the choices she made, ”Mainly because he likes it!” Not because she wants too!
“Well if he likes it why doesn’t he wear it?” I said
Women have got the most beautiful and precious thing of all right there inside themselves the miraculous ability to develop a human being. Women have what we want already.I think it’s up to men to attract a woman if thats what he wants. If women collectively decided to stop doing makeup and sexy clothes would we go off them? Would we fail to reproduce any more without the temptation of all that ‘feminine beauty’? No we wouldn’t. Heterosexual men find women attractive. It’s like a magnetic force, we are propelled toward you because you are already beautiful. I think it’s for men to prove their Beauty. Not necessarily by shaving our legs and putting on dresses, that might work for some!:-), but by being beautiful, by making a beautiful world. By making a safe world. I also believe that we are doing that in buckets but we could do more. We can always do more as the feminine is insatiable.
My own experiences of late are heavily influenced by the prevailing Beauty Myth, that Beauty is a feminine thing. I’m attempting to find and define Beauty from a masculine angle but should I shave my legs? I mean I don’t like hairy legs on women and I do want to wear a pair of nude tights to show off my great legs under the skirt I’ve made myself. So yes I’ve shaved them and yes I like the feeling and yes it was a hassle and no I’m not sure if I want to do it all the time and yes I might just be trapped by the Beauty Myth that states that hairless is beautiful. The same with makeup and nail polish, they transform my experience of myself.
I hope you notice the abundance of question marks here? This is raising more questions than answers and I am happier now to sit in the more feminine space of not knowing rather than the more masculine space of certainty. Thank you for reading and please feel free to agree, disagree or find a happy place in the middle with me. A knowing unknown.
A Man in a Skirt.