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I’ve noticed many articles, tweets and other posts lately battling out issues regarding women’s appearance. The most recent that comes to my mind is the issue of body hair (to shave, or not to shave), but there always seems to be a story about a female politician’s, business person’s or artist’s clothing, haircut or makeup. I question why we are paying any mind to any of it.

There is a billion dollar industry that only exists because offending marginalized groups of people gets them clicks. Publishers are paid by view of article and gain visibility (and value) any other proliferation of their work(s): Any publicity is “good” publicity. Even if one is angered or disagrees with an article, his or her click supports the publisher to create more of the same. The publisher does not know or care whether you like or dislike them, they just care that you read and will produce more of the same (this is simple logic from a business perspective, what made money before will make money again).

By engaging those who make a living criticizing artist’s, politician’s and business women’s appearance, we produce more work (and publicity, and money, a compounding effect) for them. While I am for the market place of ideas, I question if we are picking our battles wisely. Focusing on petty (and of course, cruel) comments, which are really tu quoque arguments, on appearance distracts us from issues such as slave labor, the gender pay gap, family violence and environmental destruction, all of which are urgent and important.

Imagine the results we would achieve regarding these issues if we focused intently (and organize, mobilized) on them as opposed to sharing pictures of our armpit hair. There is only so much time in a day, we need to use that time productively.

We should try to follow our mothers’ playground advice: ignore them, they just want your attention. When attention is a reward ( one connected to financial gains here), we have to be careful as to where we focus. Let’s focus on the issues that diminish justice, equality and fairness as opposed to petty red herrings that distract us from them.

As for those who produce this rubbish, I pity them: it must be a bleak existence to have to criticize small details in a woman’s appearance because you can’t understand what is coming out of her mouth. It’s not a living I would like to make.

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