Sunday, December 14, 2008

A particularly female competition

Women are definitely more competitive than men. Men might have their sports and their video games and their egos to uphold, but when it comes down to plain, balls-out, who’s-better-than-whom, women are simply out to beat each other more often than they’re willing to get along. There is loads of evidence to prove this.

Take, for instance, the simple case of high heels. Any realistic, halfway-sane person will acknowledge that high heels are a torturous, vain, unnecessary invention created purely as a means of generating a false sense of hierarchy. Some women claim that men prefer women in high heels, that that is why they wear them. This may be true, and if it is, then shoes are one more way women use to compete for men. However, men certainly did not create high heels, whether they prefer them or not; they are simply not sadistic or impractical enough to think up such painful, unnecessary, restrictive clothing articles.

This raises the question,Why would we do this to ourselves?. To feed our competitive natures, of course. Heightening their sense of eliteness, heels cost more than flats, so if one woman is wearing high heels and another is wearing flats, the woman in heels automatically earns a higher implied socioeconomic status. What’s more, she is assumed to have more poise and grace, because in order to walk in such dangerous contraptions, she must have a greater degree of dexterity. (No one would ever presume this woman to have a greater degree of stupidity, intractability, or masochism because, after all, she is being fashionable. And one must sacrifice comfort, above all else, for fashion.)

But let us return to the premise that women wear heels simply for the purpose of attracting men. (This, in spite of the fact that: 1) most men rarely look at a woman’s footwear; 2) men hate being shorter than women—a circumstance obviously not ameliorated by heels; and 3) if a woman ever discusses her heels or displays any sort of pride or interest in them, it is 99.99% of the time in conversation with another woman—not a man.) Admittedly, just as men boast and posture to try and gain the attention of women, women do—or, for the sake of this argument, wear—a many different things in order to attract men. The general rule of thumb is that the better we look, the more—and hopefully better—men we can attract. Hence, we are again in competition with one another, not only be look better than one another for the mere sake of being one-up, but in the end (at least under this premise), we need to look better for the sake of getting the better man. This explains miniskirts, makeup, curlers/straighteners/perms/hair-dye, control-top pantyhose, pushup bras, and any number of other contraptions we use to contort our bodies.

And so, I return to my original claim. What man do you know who would spend over an hour getting ready for a date? And not only would he spend that “getting ready” time making himself clean and fresh-looking, he would try to make himself appear overall physically smaller by suppressing any extraneous flesh (e.g. the pantyhose, amongst other “suck-it-in” garments) while trying to render certain portions of himself larger (e.g. the deluxe bras, complete with extra padding in all the right places), encase his flesh in a layer of paint (or several, if you consider that you have to layer powder over foundation over concealer, not to mention blush, eye shadow, and any primers you put on so your mascara and lipstick will stay “all night long”), and perform more elaborate procedures to his hair than they do in some laboratories (first blow-dry, but make sure to apply a heat-protection product first; then straighten with one dime-sized drop of straightening serum, more for longer hair; then curl layers appropriately, spraying each with extra-volume hairspray, adding pomade and styling gel as needed). Women are clearly this competitive. They are committed. And in my opinion, they are often completely out of their minds. But of course, who am I to judge? I have bowed out of this particularly competition for almost twenty-three years now, and the result is that I am either clearly at the back of the pack or have thankfully retained my sanity. Both are possible, but I suppose neither are, as well.

1 comment:

K said...

Here's that book I was telling you about.
(Some of the pages are missing but it's a start.) It's pretty disgusting how fired up some women get in competition with each other.

I'm definitely not as intense as some of the women in the book, and I do tend to be competitive with both men and women, instead of just women. I try not to be jealous, and most of the time it works. I can't think of anything off the top of my head that I want that someone else has. Then again, I've been told many times by many people that I'm not a girl, I'm Kelly.