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When men look at women, it’s sleaze. When women look at men, it’s just plain good fun. An American Apparel case study in hypocrisy.

23 Jun

Booty Alert: some images may be NSFW


Late post today, but I was hosting a luncheon for the parents of a good friend, who are visiting from out of town. Lobster bisque and homemade bread. I cheated and bought the butter. I’m so lazy!




After a very lovely lunch and visit, I popped open my Buzzfeed app and one of the lead feeds was “The Five Sleaziest American Apparel Panty Ads Of All Time (NSFW)”.


American Apparel comes under regular fire for its apparently “sexist” advertising, and in keeping with our theme of lusting after human bodies, I thought today we would explore a little slice of objectification hypocrisy.


Let’s start with the PantyTime ads.




panty 2


What, exactly, are the objections to these ads? Are they tasteful? Well, I guess that depends upon your taste, but you have to be some kind of killjoy to not enjoy campfire tent sex. A dancing fire, endless stars above you, the smell of pine trees, a brook babbling nearby. I’d say the hiking lady looks to be in for an evening of some melted marshmallow fun!




Aside: Don’t try that. Melted marshmallows are total hell to get off. They taste sweet and they’re warm and gooey and they’re fun to eat off a willing body but they stick like some sort of glue NASA uses to repair the space station. Trust me on that one.


Let’s take a look at what the Swedish Lady Mafia thinks about American Apparel. In an act of epic bravery and rebellion, the Mafia had a male model mimic the pose of a female model advertising a shirt? Maybe the product is the shirt? It must be.




It’s a stark way of showing how men on the website are predominantly shown fully clothed and standing in modest poses, while women are often shown in various states of undress and striking sexually suggestive poses.


You know, I agree. The lady on the counter is sexy. The guy on the counter looks foolish, but all that demonstrates is that we have very different ideas about how male and female sexuality are played out. We want different things from men than we do from women.


Let’s take a look at this assertion: men on the website are predominantly shown fully clothed.


Oh, really?


man 2


man 3


man 5


man 4


That’s taken off their home screen! Who knows what loveliness lurks deeper into the site?


Calvin Klein featured an epically objectifying advertisement this past Superbowl, and while a few commenters called it out for sexism on Twitter, most of them gave a huge whooping cheer! Here is Jezebel celebrating an ad that has little to do with the product and everything to do with lusting after a body.


Why is this ad okay?


Oh, that’s because it’s a MALE body being objectified.



Let’s talk about the rationale behind hating the American Apparel ads in particular. The central issue, the key point of contention is WHO OWNS THE GAZE. Who is looking? What thoughts do the images invite? With whom does the viewer identify?


I’ve discussed before a film theorist named Laura Mulvey who wrote a paper about representation in which she claims that men own the gaze on film. Men look, women are looked at: ergo, men objectify women.


And obviously, that’s very, very, very bad.


Let’s start with the male gaze (and I’ll assume everyone is heterosexual in this discussion). When a man looks at an image like this:




He is supposed to experience a strong reaction of desire. The ad is designed to illicit very explicit images in men’s minds. The bubble draws attention to her mouth. What would you like to replace the bubblegum with? The stockings frame her barely covered ass. Would you like to uncover it? Those are no fragile nylon stockings, either. They look pretty robust. Rough and tumble. Her hair is already tousled and messy. Can you imagine making it even more dishevelled? And then what? And then what…..


The ad wants men to visualize strongly sexual imagery. You want to fuck her. For male viewers, American Apparel is attempting to create an association in their mind whereby American Apparel = sexy, hot, powerful, desirable, dominant. The company is hoping that the next time a man who has seen the ad walks by a store window, he might just recall those feelings and pop in and pick up a blue shirt.


That’s how advertising works. Create an association, then transfer it onto a product, which you will then purchase BECAUSE of that association. Seems to be working, too. American Apparel is back to profitability.


I looked for some men objecting to American Apparel’s blatant attempt to appeal to a very animal sort of sexuality, but I couldn’t find one. Seems like most men are perfectly comfortable managing their desires and emotions. Go Daddy has some of the raciest TV spots out there, and gets called out as sexist routinely, but…


When GoDaddy aired its first Super Bowl spot in 2005, it was a $100 million company few people knew with a 16% market share. Fast-forward to 2012, and GoDaddy is a $1.1 billion company with a 52% market share.


Sex sells. To men and women both.


Now let’s talk about the female gaze. As a woman looking at the bubble image, you are supposed to imagine being that woman. You are supposed to understand that she evokes a powerful response in men. Men want her. They desire her. She has power over them, and that power has the potential to lead to lots of benefits. You are supposed to want that power for yourself, and when you slip on your own pair of knit stockings and barely there panties, you will feel it. Buy our products so you, too, can control a man’s gaze and make him want you.




Oh dear. Well, now we have a problem. Nearly 40% of women in American Apparel’s target market (18 -35) are overweight.


How are those chubby ladies going to look in stockings and panties?




Tsk, tsk. Not so hot. And that makes women feel a sense of loathing. Confronting a body that men want and desire and long for makes women who fall well short of that ideal sad and depressed and unhappy.


One response has been to feature more fat bodies in advertising, like the Dove Beauty Campaign tries to do. But it doesn’t work. Women still dislike their fat bodies.




We live in a culture saturated with the idea that problems belong to someone else. Whatever the issue, the solution is for someone else to deal with it. And if it is someone else’s responsibility to solve the problems, it’s probably someone’s fault the problem exists in the first place.


Here are the reasons commonly given for obesity:


Toxic environment


Food deserts


Contaminated food supply

Big Government and Big Business Conspiracy

High fructose corn syrup


Fast food


Here are the real reasons for obesity


You eat too much

You don’t move your body enough


The first list are all problems for someone else to solve. The real list has one solution: YOU.


When women are confronted with images of other women who clearly put some effort into what they eat and how much they exercise, it triggers anger and anxiety and a search for someone to blame. If women don’t live up to the images in the media, well then, we have to change the media. And if men continue to desire those fit bodies, then we have to change men, too.


size 22


It’s all about making other people change rather than accepting responsibility for yourself and deciding that it’s your body and your choice and you CAN choose not to be fat.




Here’s how we know that the feminist response to women being objectified and thereby dehumanized in advertising is a straw man argument: the same standards do not apply to men. If objectification is bad and wrong and morally reprehensible, and causes us to view the objectified as less than human, then it’s bad when women do it to men, too, right?


Er, nope.




Let’s go back to the gaze. When men look at this ad, they are supposed to want to be that guy. Buy HOM briefs, and you can be sexy like him! Or just get as close as you can. There is little teeth-gnashing and sobbing in the media from men who are confronted with these unbelievably fit, gorgeous men. Few cries of “sexism”. If anything, guys look at these images and decide to hit the gym.


In the same way that American Apparel ads are designed to trigger explicit sexual imagery in men, ads like HOM are designed to trigger explicit sexual images in women. Here is man, displayed for us, in total masculine magnificence.


What would you like to do to him? Are you on top? He’s already leaning back. Seems like a good choice. His socks and underwear frame those beautiful thighs. Wouldn’t they look good underneath you? The tattooed bicep. He seems a little dangerous. This could get rough…..


Oh my.




This ad appeared in Elle magazine!


Here he is again.




Women are invited to turn their gaze on a beautiful man and let their imaginations run free. And that’s okay. It’s totally okay. It’s more than okay. It’s pretty damn spectacular. Jezebel runs a regular feature called Thighlights, in which women openly slobber over a specific male body part.


Mark William Calaway, Phillip Jack Brooks


thighs 2


thigh 3


Jesus. Look at the package on the guy in red.




Oops. I mean, he seems like a really nice person.


Pretty long-winded today, but my point is this: the argument or critique of women in advertising and the objectification of women’s bodies isn’t a debate about women’s self-esteem at all.


It’s a debate about power. The power to look. The power to want. The power to desire. The power to evoke.


And women want that power for themselves, and only themselves.


Kate Upton makes (fat) women feel bad.




Half naked men make (most) women feel good.




Anything that causes ladies to feel bad is wrong by definition. And the thing that makes ladies feel bad is the power of the male gaze. It assesses them, evaluates them and very often, rejects them. That power must be demonized, derided, dismissed as evidence for men being shallow, stupid superficial brutes who see women purely in sexual terms.


If feminists really cared about the relationship between objectification and dehumanization ( a dicey theory at best), they would care about ALL instances of objectification. They would care about EVERY body that is reduced to sexual utility.


But they don’t. In fact, they delight in watching men having to objectify themselves.


Ford’s entire roster of male models take off their shirts and dance for the cameras to the all-too-fitting song “Drop It Like It’s Hot.” You’re welcome.




Feminists only care about one type of body being objectified: slender women.


Those are the bodies that have power, especially over men. Those bodies are testaments to the true power women can wield in the world: they signal reproductive fitness.





Genetically outstanding babies


babies in a row


All the things feminism tries to teach women are NOT important. The continuing appeal of advertising featuring sexually provocative women AND men tells the real story: it matters. Sexuality is one of the key things that define us as humans. And it will always matter.


When sexuality is turned into a power struggle that argues over the ownership of the gaze, the potential for mutually satisfying partnerships between men and women is all but destroyed. Men are made to feel guilty and ashamed. Their preferences are “sleaze”. And women learn that male sexuality is theirs to control and define. Male bodies are objects to satisfy their desires.




Imagine a group of men with a Victoria’s Secret catalogue in the lunch room at work, openly admiring the angels. Get ready for a meeting with HR, dudes. Sensitivity training is in your future. Now imagine a group of women swooning over David Beckham in Elle. HR is probably sitting there drooling along with all the other ladies.


Now imagine any one of those men dating any one of those women.


A culture in which male desire is disgusting and sleazy and women’s desire is empowering and objectifying is a culture in which sexual ecstasy is pretty much impossible.


“Only the united beat of sex and heart together can create ecstasy.”

― Anaïs Nin, Delta of Venus


Images of beautiful women shouldn’t be threatening. They should be a welcome reminder that we are all physical creatures, inhabiting skins that long for one another’s touch.


That’s not sleazy. It’s beautiful. For men and women both.




Lots of love,




Of course pretty girls are entitled to rich men! Duh! Also, stop celebrating marriages that have lasted. It’s not fair to all the fuck-ups. In other news, I must stop reading Dear Prudence.

30 May


Prepare to be gobsmacked! I certainly was. Two letters from Dear Prudence have left me feeling like a coked-up Dr. Freud: what the hell do women want, anyways?




Here’s the first one:


I’m recently engaged to the most honest, thoughtful, and loving man I’ve ever met. He has supported me through many hard times, including losing my job and being assaulted. Here’s the but about him: He makes no money. He has ambitions, and he’s smart, but will likely only bring a middle-class income at best. I have an OK job and I’m self-sufficient. Now here’s the but about me: I’m really, really pretty. My whole life people have told me I could get any man I want, meaning a rich man, and are shocked that I’m engaged to my fiancé, nice though he is. I’ve never dated a rich man, but it does make me curious. So part of me thinks I’m squandering my good looks on this poor man, and the other part of me thinks that I’m so shallow that I don’t even deserve him or anyone else. Am I a fool for thinking that a poor man can make me happy, or an idiot for believing a sexist fantasy?




Run, Forest, run! That is seriously the very first thought that popped into my mind.


Let’s see: honest, thoughtful, loving, supportive, kind, intelligent, ambitious and nice. When you have a man like this, and he has expressed the desire to be honest, thoughtful and loving to you for the rest of your life, a girl responds by heaving a giant sigh of relief and thanks the gods for watching out for her, right?


Not this bitch. No way. Honest, thoughtful, loving, supportive, kind, intelligent, ambitious and nice are not nearly enough.


He’s not rich.


The offended girl with pouting lips


Or handsome.




And chicky is pretty! She’s pretty, damn it! P-R-E-T-T-Y! Super cute, and HER LOOKS WILL NEVER FADE. Ever. Why she’s squandering them! SQAUNDERING, I tell you. A girl as pretty as she is deserves a rich man. Any man she likes! Everybody says so, so it must be true, right?


Granted, she’s never actually dated a rich man. Hmmm. That’s kind of curious, isn’t it? I mean, everybody knows rich men are the biggest bunch of superficial assholes to ever walk the earth, and they only care about PRETTY and nothing else, and why the hell aren’t rich men lining up for this paragon of beauty?


Because she’s an A-One cunt, maybe?


the other part of me thinks that I’m so shallow that I don’t even deserve him or anyone else.




Ding-ding-ding! We have a winner, folks! Well, sort of. She gets the shallow part right, but fails to understand that it is not HER that is the undeserving one. No man alive deserves to be inflicted with this kind of narcissistic, self-absorbed, totally clueless little bitch.


I am seriously doubting Mr. Fiancée is as intelligent as she claims. Either that, or she is a liar of the most impressive skill. Entirely plausible.


So what does Prudie say to her?


It’s a delicate thing to sing “I Feel Pretty” and keep the audience charmed. Many people will be repelled by your acknowledged superficiality and wish that a string of rich men use you, then dump you when you start to lose your looks. But surely your fiancé delights in the fact—and surely his friends have noted—that he’s nabbed one the prettiest girls in the room. When considering possible life partners, people should bluntly assess each other’s intangible and tangible qualities. Of course character is central, but if the person you’re dating is a wholly admirable person who doesn’t attract you physically, that’s a serious problem. So, too, is being with someone who gives you pleasure in and out of bed, but who’s hiding from creditors. You have asked an unattractive question about monetizing your beauty. But I think there’s a more accurate way to look at what’s troubling you.

You’re really wondering whether you can be happy in the long run with a guy who treats you great, but who’ll never satisfy you financially. “Middle class” is a very elastic term, but I assume you mean that while you and your fiancé will be able to meet your basic needs, you’ll mostly be living paycheck to paycheck. You say he’s smart and ambitious, and I’m assuming you both are young, so you haven’t made it clear why these two qualities can’t propel him further professionally. Maybe he’s prone to pipe dreams the marketplace rewards with minimum wage. It’s fair to want a fully contributing partner in life, but if you think the bulk of a couple’s earning should come from the man, you either need to re-examine your assumptions, or clue in your fiancé. You and he need to discuss what kind of life you’d both like to lead and how each of you can map out career choices that will make this possible. Of course there are no guarantees of financial success, just as there are no guarantees that good looks will lure a guy with a bulging wallet (or that he’ll stick with you into middle-age). But if you’re filled with dread over the certainty that marrying your boyfriend will consign you to forever dreading when the bills come, this will tarnish your perception of his sterling qualities. You’re not a shallow fool for thinking that a life of scraping by won’t be so pretty.


Money, money, money. It’s all about money, as far as Prudie is concerned and she lets MissPrettyBitch know that she is … not a shallow fool for thinking that a life of scraping by won’t be so pretty.




Way to miss the boat, Prudie. This isn’t about money, except as a corollary. It’s about power. PrettyBitch wants to have power, absolute power, especially over her man. Let’s flip the story around. Here is a man who appears to have little intention of wasting his life scrabbling for nothing but cash, only to see it waltz out the door with his shallow little wife when she grows tired of pretending to love him.


You’ll note that PrettyBitch never once says she loves him.


He gets all the benefits of a hot wife without having to pay the usual fee of a bulging wallet. Who has the power here, again?




Could it be that PrettyBitch is nervous about her man’s unwillingness to dedicate himself to paying for her beauty? He refuses to acknowledge the fact that her beauty entitles her to all the fruits of his labor. A middle class salary at best. Average, in other words. In which case, doesn’t he deserve an average wife?


I’m thinking Mr. Fiancée is actually a very smart guy. He’s on the verge of landing a woman he can enjoy fucking, all the while getting her to foot her own bills. The power of beauty has no power over him.


Clever man.


There’s a bit of equality I’ll bet a lot of women won’t be all that happy about.


Let’s move on the second letter.


At our upcoming wedding, my fiancé and I would like to have a display with wedding pictures of our parents, grandparents, and others who are dearest to us. The snag is that my parents divorced when I was 5 years old, and my father has been with his current wife for over 20 years and they have two preteens. (All parties are on amicable terms.) I adore my mom and dad’s wedding picture, but displaying it might be strange, given that they haven’t been together since 1985. I also don’t want to include a picture of my father with his current wife, because A) it’s awkward to have a picture of the same man marrying two different women, and B) while we get along, I’m not terribly fond of his wife. I’m not intending this as a snub—she’s just not in that circle of intimates for my fiancé and me. Should we give up on the display and eliminate the awkwardness? It would be a shame not to admire photographs of the beautiful marriages that have lasted.




First of all, I think this woman is incredibly lucky to be surrounded by people who are in lasting marriages. That in itself is unusual, and absolutely worth celebrating. It’s a shame her own family was broken by divorce, but the fact that she has enduring marriages to turn to for inspiration and confirmation bodes very well for her own future. On the day she unites herself in matrimony to her husband, she would like to be surrounded by images of couples who have honored their vows and created long-lasting happiness for themselves and their families.


A beautiful sentiment.


One that her own parents will be left out of, by their own choice. Too bad, so sad.


But, oh no! That might be bizarre and awkward. Here is Prudie’s response.


I’ve never seen this done before, but what a wonderful tradition it could be as long as the photos get an exegesis with sticky notes. On your parents’ you could post, “Came asunder in 1985.” On others you could write, “Still crazy about each other despite the bickering you’ll hear when Harry has a couple of drinks.” Or you could forget this whole idea since the point of it seems to be to rewrite history and pretend your parents are still together when in fact they’ve been divorced forever and you have two half siblings (who you’d apparently like to write out of existence). No one is stopping you from admiring beautiful marriages that have lasted, just do so without making a bizarre and awkward display.


Again, way to get the whole thing wrong, wrong, wrong. The bride to be does not want to pretend that her parents are still together. I think she understands perfectly well that they tried, and failed, and that’s life.


What she wants to do is begin her own journey by celebrating those who have succeeded. She isn’t spending her wedding day thinking about divorce. Not her divorce, and not her parent’s. That is exactly the right mindset, too. Celebrating the long-term success of other couples is a pretty strong indicator that she sees her own marriage as long-term, and I think that’s a beautiful sentiment.




Put the two letters together and Prudie’s view of marriage becomes pretty clear. It’s a set-up, whereby men are responsible for earning all the money (especially if the bride brings beauty), and it’s a scenario designed for upgrading. Couples who have celebrated their 60th anniversaries are bizarre and awkward.


Oh, but aren’t they just. Why it almost seems like they took the words they spoke seriously!


…to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.


Women have long used marriage to create their own financial security. Indeed, it’s the BEST way for women to be financially secure.


Divorce culture allows women to break their marriage vows and still walk away with their husband’s wealth and usually his children, too.


Women’s entitlement to men’s labor is the foundation of our civil society, and when it came with an set of obligations for women (fidelity, commitment, kindness, gratitude), it worked brilliantly. For those who understand that men’s work to support their families comes with duties and responsibilities, it still works brilliantly.




But for women like PrettyBitch, who can’t quite grasp that they aren’t OWED a man’s money, a nervous tic is entering the cultural dialogue.


Men are catching on, ladies. They aren’t going to foot the bills all by themselves anymore, only to have their lives ripped out from under them. The lads are sick of this shit. You wanted equality? Looks like you got it. Men are not willing to be women’s ATM cash dispensers any more.


No matter how pretty you are.


Lots of love,






Peter Lloyd is wrong to oppose women’s only gym time. I go to the gym to check out other women’s asses and that’s easier when all the pesky men are gone.

23 Apr


Ladies, you all know by now that I am one judgy bitch, but I’ll bet you didn’t know just how fast I can slap you into a box.




You have 20 seconds to impress me, and then your time is up.


Here are the main things I will be evaluating about you:


How fat are you?

Fat is good.

How much make-up are you wearing?

Four dollar hooker is good.

Do you have any sense of fashion at all?

Slovenly is good.

What is up with your hair?

Rat’s nest is good.

Do you have a nice smile?

Crooked teeth, grimace and halitosis is good.

Is your skin clear?

Age spots, wrinkles and pimples are good

How tall are you?

Freakishly tall or small, either is good.

Touched up your highlights recently?

Four inches of grey regrowth is very good.

How’s that fake tan?

Orange with the texture of a leather handbag is good.

How’s that eyeshadow?

Pink glitter liner and purple eyeshadow is great!

What’s on your feet?

Tattered, smelly gym shoes are good. Or useless, precarious stilettos.

How big are your boobs?

Bazongas or pancakes, either will do.

Do you have a tattoo?

Tramp stamp is excellent.

How short is your skirt?

Visible underwear is good.

How straight are your teeth?

Bucktoothed overbite is good.

Are your teeth white?

Coffee, tobacco and wine stained preferred.

Is your jewelry tasteful?

Rhinestones are perfect. Plastic pearls are good.

How’s your manicure?

She-devil talons or chewed to the bloody nubs, either is good.

How’s your personality?

Ha ha! Just kidding. Who gives a fuck about your personality?


WHY am I checking other women out in such exquisite detail?


threat level


Well, duh. I’m trying to assess the level of competitive threat. I’ve already contributed to the gene pool by having three children, and I’m not interested in having any more, but you might be. That could dilute the resources coming my way, and I’m obviously going to guard against that.


It’s rather selfish of me, in the long, long term, as refusing to share my husband’s DNA freely is probably impeding our development as a species, but too fucking bad. The Scientific American reports that a past willingness to breed fairly freely, even with other humanlike species, is probably what gave homo sapiens the upper edge against those other species and allowed us to become the triumphant victors in the DNA wars.




That’s all good and well, and I’m glad our ancestors were getting down with as many and as varied a number of people as possible, but the wars are over, we have won and I’m not feeling very generous when it comes to sharing my husband’s DNA.




It therefore makes me rather relieved to know that in England, where Peter Lloyd lives, the hourglass figure is becoming a thing of the past. Ladies have packed SEVEN extra inches around their waists since 1951, and a full 38% of them are overweight.


Not coincidentally, 35% of British women would rather be thin than earn more money. A further 8% would actually give UP £1000 to be thin.


Hmmm. That’s curious. I wonder why? If women’s value is primarily in how much money they earn, why should they care more about being thin?


Ha ha, don’t be silly. It’s because of the patriarchy, twisting women’s fragile little minds into believing that the entire point of their existence is to reproduce, and that the best reproductive strategy is to attract the very best DNA you can to ensure healthy, happy offspring.


And clearly, that’s not true. That’s obviously just a big lie based on millions of years of evolution concocted by some horrible men in lab coats who hate women.


Men’s preference for a slender woman with a small waist, and pronounced hips and breasts is simply a way of oppressing women, and the cult of thinness is a way to get women to focus on their bodies rather than their minds, which keeps them out of the upper echelons of society.




“Our culture pressures women to tend to their bodies. But if you don’t tend to your mind, how can you ascend into other levels of society?”


Because everybody knows thin women are also stupid, right?

Yeah, wrong.

The hourglass figure is strongly correlated with women’s fertility, and no amount of screaming that fat is beautiful is going to change that, or men’s preferences.


No matter what you actually do all day, or what your personal preferences towards reproduction happen to be, your brain and your body and your DNA just want to get the mini-me factory rolling, and that means you are constantly, and often unconsciously, evaluating the fitness and fertility status of the people around you, even if you have ZERO intention of smashing up your DNA into a little bundle of snuggly joy.




The minute an egg makes the leap from ovary to fallopian tube and heads for a sperm party in the uterus, a woman’s brain will prefer the smell of men oozing with testosterone, men who have features associated with masculinity such as a deep voice and a strong jawline.




It’s not a CONSCIOUS partiality, it’s a relic from our past that still has an impact on our instinctive preferences today.


Men have a similar instinctive preference: they like a high hip to waist ratio, because it DOES in fact, signal fertility.


It is now verboten to say that, because it makes the chubby ladies feel bad. Captain Capitalism has a few thoughts on this new prohibition against men openly declaring their preferences for women’s bodies, and I’ll just leave it right here for you.


Let’s get back to Peter Lloyd. What the hell does any of this have to do with Peter Lloyd?


Well, the fact is that ladies police each other in this competition to capture the best DNA, whether they understand it as that, or not. Indeed, it seems that even smart ladies with PhD’s can’t quite grasp what policing and evaluating other women’s appearances is all about. There’s no question that we DO, it’s just a matter of the WHY.


What’s going on in the minds of women? Have we become so vigilant about how we look in general — and our aging appearance specifically — that we’ve lost sight of the fact that we’re all in this together? Do we question and critique others because of our own fears and ambivalence about how we will deal as our looks change? Remember, by comparing, competing and then devaluing others in order to boost our own shaky sense of self, we join forces with the very culture that has created the need to do just that!


Well, that’s the thing, isn’t it? We’re not all in this together.


And we keep an eye on each other. 20 seconds. That’s how long it will take me to assess your threat as a competitor. I will observe all your features, particularly those that signal health and fertility and measure them against my own and settle on a judgement.


And it’s not just me. I’ve posted this study before, but I’ll put it up against, because it’s just so telling.




Results showed that almost all women were aggressive toward the attractive female whose only indiscretion was to dress in a sexually provocative manner. The women in this situation were more likely to roll their eyes at their peer, stare her up and down and show anger while she was in the room. When she left the room, many of them laughed at her, ridiculed her appearance, and/or suggested that she was sexually available. By contrast, when the same attractive peer was dressed conservatively, the group of women assigned to this second scenario barely noticed her, and none of them discussed her when she left the room.


Vaillancourt, T.& Sharma, A. (2011). Intolerance of sexy peers: Intrasexual competition among women. Aggressive Behavior, 37, 569-577. doi: 10.1002/ab.20413


Personally, I have no problem with other women taking me apart visually. Go for it. Three kids and I still have a 26 inch waist, topped with some pretty awesome C-Cups. I weigh the exact same as I did when I met my husband. I don’t mind other women scanning me and rolling their eyes or snarking quietly.


Because I’m still competitive. Check out my ass all you want, ladies. I’ll bet it’s better than yours.




Plenty of women who don’t quite measure up aren’t so confident. They don’t like how they look when they’re working out. They hate being stared at and objectified. They feel intimidated by eyes that are assessing, measuring, calculating, evaluating and ultimately judging them.




At the same time, gyms can be incredibly patriarchal places where women often feel intimidated, harassed, out of place, and unwelcome. Also, the ads for gyms and the primary motivation for many women going to one is focused on (often unattainable) patriarchal standards of beauty.


What they seem to have forgotten is that it’s OTHER WOMEN who are doing the looking. It’s OTHER WOMEN who will behave aggressively if you’re a bit too sexy. It’s OTHER WOMEN who will notice that you actually look like shit.


Ladies who don’t like being objectified and stared at should probably stick to working out with lots of men present. I’ll go to the women’s only workouts.


And you can bet your ass I’m going to judge you.


Lots of love,



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