Saturday, December 03, 2011

" It’s not our cultural programming that sets our standards for beauty; it is our instinct."

I am reading a book by Michael and Mary Eades called The 6-Week Cure for the Middle-Aged Middle: The Simple Plan to Flatten Your Belly Fast! The book gives good information on how to reduce your stomach, hence the title. But what caught my eye was the cultural implications of belly fat from an excerpt of the book:

In 1991, feminist Naomi Wolf opined, “Beauty is a currency system like the gold standard. Like any economy, it is determined by politics, and in the modern age in the West it is the last, best belief system that keeps male dominance intact.” In other words, Ms. Wolf views our opinion of beauty as being based not on any innate or inborn sense of what is attractive, but as a product of our cultural indoctrination. We think a pretty face is pretty or a flat belly is attractive for no other reason than that’s the way we’ve been programmed to think by the society in which we live. The covers of Playboy, Playgirl, Vogue, and Cosmopolitan, she claims, set our standards for attractiveness, not the reverse. According to Wolf and others of her opinion, there is no universal standard for human beauty. Were we not programmed by advertisers and the entertainment industry, we would find a fat man or woman just as attractive and desirable as a thin one.

We disagree.

Years of serious scientific study, across numerous disciplines, prove otherwise. Our attraction to a pretty face and a flat belly is in our genes and is an atavistic throwback to a time when such features represented health and the ability to reproduce—important requirements in the selection of a mate. As Harvard Professor Deirdre Barrett puts it, these deep-seated universal standards of beauty “reflect our evolutionary need to estimate the health of others from their physical characteristics.”

What do you think? Is belly fat a reflection of health? What about women who are very thin and have trouble getting pregnant because of low body fat?


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Is Physical Strength the Most Important Thing in Life?

Glenn received a copy of Mark Rippetoe's updated new book Starting Strength, 3rd edition in the mail this week and I couldn't resist thumbing through it. The new version is terrific with lots of pictures and details about how to perform basic barbell exercises. This updated edition seems a lot bigger and more detailed than the 2nd edition. The book takes the reader through the proper form for squats, deadlifts, presses and a number of other exercises. It would make a great gift for the weightlifter or exercise buff on your list.

As an aside, Rippetoe says that physical strength is the most important thing in life. "A weak man is not as happy as the same man would be if he were strong." I used to disagree and think that intellect was more important. I'm not so sure anymore; on days that I feel good, my life seems perfect, when I feel ill, not so much.

Do you think physical strength is the most important thing in life or do you think intellect or spirituality take precedence?


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Solution: Stop Nagging and Treat Husbands with More Respect

A reader (thanks!) sent me a link to a CNN article by Martha Brockenbrough, author of Things That Make Us (Sic): The Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar Takes on Madison Avenue, Hollywood, the White House, and the World. Frankly, this bitchy title should tell you that this snarky writer would have no more tolerance for husbands than she does for those who don't use perfect grammar.

Anyway, the article entitled "Why we get mad at our husbands" is simply a rant against husbands and dads who don't listen, drop whiskers in the sink, can't deal with the kids and make some women (including her friend)) feel that they are "married to nothing more than a hairy man-child."

The author is upset that her husband doesn't listen to her. After reading her nasty piece, I can see why. The gist of it is that men don't do enough and that women are angry that men aren't more like.... of course, women:
The ones we also really need to talk to, however, are our husbands. The fact that so many moms are mad, and that so many of the complaints are similar, is significant. And maybe that can give all of us moms -- who love our husbands but wish they'd just be...more like us -- the push to make some changes, to delegate more and demand more for ourselves. Anger can be debilitating -- but it can also be motivating.

Maybe what Brockenbrough should realize is that women feel anger more deeply than men and tend to do more complaining. Maybe the changes need to start with her and her angry fellow women. When you spend your time nagging someone constantly about their faults, whether the "fault" is their less than stellar grammar or what you perceive to be inadequate parenting etc., than it's no wonder they tune you out. As Gandhi said, "be the change you want to see in the world." Stop nagging and ranting and treat your guy with respect, maybe then, he will be more receptive to your requests.

For men out there, if a woman seems angry, does that make you more likely or less likely to comply with her demands (requests)?