Since I wrote the last post my understanding has changed. My last post was close to, but not quite, hitting the mark.
The turning point was when I read Emily Ratajkowski’s “My Body”. In case you don’t know who she is, she’s a Victoria’s Secret model. I don’t consider her to be particularly mature yet, and there is a lot of anger in her book, which I correctly surmised came from her living in America (there, people are always outraged/offended about something). But after reading it, it became as clear as day:
Beauty is a front.
Imagine you’re a happy little girl. Life is good, you’re not thinking about sex or boys or anything.
Suddenly, at school, beauty starts to become important. In fact, people start to treat you worse and treat others better – and it seems that it’s all predicated on being hot.
(this happens for guys too, except that it’s about being cool. not that the girls notice that they’re doing the same thing – they can only see the guys who are cool)
Everybody is now rated on beauty, and it’s the one dimension you’re ushered into. You can’t escape. Even into your twenties and beyond until you’re a grandma, everyone keeps harping about how hot you are or how hot someone else is.
Understandably some rebel, “why is it all about looks”, they say. Some opt out entirely, becoming the girl that no one notices, even if genetically they have what it takes to compete. Of course looks are important. But overemphasis on looks can create a subconscious rejection that, if one is not aware of their subconscious, can last a lifetime and stunt one’s potential.
This is for the girl who didn’t win the beauty contest. What if you won? You might end up angry and… I don’t know what’s the word for it but I’ll go with superficial for now… like Emily Ratajkowski.
Guys can’t escape the coolness ladder in high school/university – but in real life, it is skills, success, intelligence that you are judged on. Success can be interpreted in many different ways, and is entirely under your control (unlike beauty, which is up to your parents), so there is more freedom in that dimension.
Now you know a beautiful girl is just another girl, just with her own set of problems. But let’s not stop there.
Luxury is a front.
Fashion is actually not glamorous at all, as Rosen’s Gracia Ventus (love her white Volta M65) writes.
Luxury brands aren’t actually rich and prestigious – once you subtract marketing costs, their profitability is only average, according to Jean Noel Kapferer’s New Strategic Brand Management.
A lot of work goes into making a front. On the small scale, you see girls trying to find the perfect angle in the selfie. On the larger scale, observe the efforts expended to convince you that a perfume you made is worth more than 20 Euros, because it’s prestigious/you’re going to be sexier/exclusive/you deserve to pamper yourself every once in a while with only the best. No, it’s worth 200! The price tags are the real achievement, not the product itself.
But we can take it a step further.
Your perception is a front.
I remember once when talking to a girl I liked, she said “but you don’t really know me, you just like your perception of me”.
I replied: “but that’s exactly why I’m here – I’m curious and want to know more about you.” Back then her objection felt silly and easily resolved with common sense – today it feels more understandable.
Anyway, women put up the front to attract – but they don’t want men who are bedazzled by the front! In a way, it is an intelligence/character filter.
(this is a human thing, not a man/woman thing – if you spent energy to put up a front to attract attention, you’d also hope that people would be interested in the person behind the front)
Master the front to not be blinded by it
Everything in my previous post simply comes naturally from this realization and applies to all other areas of life, which is why this is the true answer.