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Beefy Fatheads

The New York Times Maureen Dowd is discussing "fatheads," the segment of the male population that has a condescending locker room mentality in regards to women, in her article, â??Whereâ??s the Road Beef?â?.

At the dawn of feminism, there was an assumption that women would not be as severely judged on their looks in ensuing years. Phooey. It's just the opposite. Looks matter more than ever, with more and more women spending fortunes turning themselves into generic, plastic versions of what they think men want, reaching for eerily similar plumped-up faces and body shapes.

What they think men want often becomes what women think women want, and in my experience, there are also those fatheaded women who are vicious in judging other womenâ??s appearance.

Iâ??m not immune to the human (not just female) convention of primping, but I am rather fond of lines and sags and bags as people age. We all earn those badges of maturity. And, at least for me, I feel ageless inside no matter what nature eventually has in store for my body. So, where do we draw the line between caring about our health/appearance/grooming and being neurotically obsessed with our looks, grasping for some illusive fountain of physical youth? Are we humans with dignity or merely physical objects, often encountering double standards?

Iâ??m reminded of an incident several years ago during a backyard picnic. A few of us were chatting in a circle, introducing ourselves. A neighbor of the hosts looked at his wife, mentioning they were newlyweds, and then teasingly said that his wife needed to lose a little weight sheâ??d put on since the wedding. I looked at the womanâ??s petite frame and wondered what on earth he was talking about. Jerk, I thought, looking at what some might have considered his unattractive paunch.

No one said anything as we uncomfortably watched the woman teasingly nudge her husband back. The womanâ??s saddened eyes belied her forced smile.

I didnâ??t speak up, even though I wanted to, because the woman needed to speak for herself. But she didnâ??t, at least not publicly. She didnâ??t call him a neolithic fathead. She didnâ??t even calmly tell him she was happy the way she was. Nothing. Heck, maybe she even bought into this ridiculous, demeaning crap.

After a brief pause, conversation continued. One battle lost. One woman appearing to accept public disdain.

She might have let him have it later in private. I donâ??t know. But still, for a while after that I beat myself up for not coming to her aid.

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