Tuesday, 7 May 2013

"Men, you're less beautiful than you think"

If you're connected to the outside world in anyway, by either a television or the internet you've probably seen the Dove advertisement that proves to women that they are prettier than they think and they should stop being so damn hard on themselves. And yes, I'd love it if every woman could see themselves with the same eyes as those who love them. I'm a big fan of having self-esteem.

Shortly after this advert went viral all over Facebook, a parody was made for men. You can see it here, if you haven't already (and really I've only included the link to prove my point not to boost the view count on this thing). It's essentially the same video, but with the opposite message. In the original video women are shown a drawing described to a forensic artist by someone less critical than themselves. Through out the original video the women are describing themselves using the unflattering language we are all taught. For what reason I can't say, some sad attempt at modesty perhaps. They are shown how they describe themselves in comparison.

The parody shows men describing themselves as how they are. They are unabashedly kind to themselves. They are confident and honest about their appearance and are all easy on the eyes. They are also shown what they described themselves, they are also shown the drawings described by women who, in the video, describe them as "creepy" or having "rapey" eyes (I don't even ...  I don't want to even touch that one right now). The drawings they describe end up being 'handsome celebrities' instead of themselves and the drawings they describe are also not their faces but gross exaggerations of "ugly" people. 

The tag line at the end of the parody video? "Men, you're less beautiful than you think."

Since when is it wrong for both genders to feel good about themselves? Since when is it wrong for both genders to be confident and happy about their looks? Since when is it wrong for men and women to think they're nice looking? I understand how parody works, I understand that it's an exaggeration to make a humorous point. Well I don't find it particularly amusing.

The mere existence of beauty standards makes it hard enough for anyone, regardless of gender identification, to feel happy in their own skin. Some of us don't need Dove's misguided attempts at making us feel better and some of us certainly don't need parody videos telling men that they're over-confident and unattractive. Mainstream media is already doing this to the entire gender spectrum. 

There is already a razor fine line between being modest and over confident. Step over that line and suddenly you're a horrible, self-absorbed, and shallow. Too modest? People encourage you to feel better about yourself (maybe by buying whatever they're selling), but don't feel too confident or you could find yourself on the wrong side of that fine line and be criticized for thinking you're beautiful. Try not to cut yourself in the process. And for some people that is what happens.

I don't agree with boosting one gender and simultaneously bringing the other down a few pegs (even if it is all in jest). People (not men and/or women) need the same support. I don't buy into this idea that just because there's such a thing as the patriarchy that no man alive ever needs to be told that they're nice looking. I suspect that guys sometimes have just as many self-esteem and body issues as women do. Pretending they don't is only going to make it worse.

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