Posts Tagged ‘Esquire metric’

Lately, the world has been getting on my nerves, and things that otherwise might roll off my back just…aren’t.

A friend posted a link to Rebecca Traister’s article in the New Republic:

I Don’t Care If You Like It
Women are tired of being judged by the Esquire metric

In it, Traister takes issue with an Esquire article lauding the beauty of 42-year old women. She goes on to take issue with other things as well, such as Marvel’s recent announcement that they’re going to introduce a female Thor, and Harry Reid challenging Mitch McConnell’s assertion that women have achieved parity in the workplace.

I’m not commenting on the article per se nor on the Esquire article when I say that it seems that a man can’t say anything positive about a woman that doesn’t get taken by some as an offense. The ultra-nuanced deconstruction of every comment males make about females is to a certain extent counter-productive, and if men complain (as I’m doing here), they often get lambasted, which is also counter-productive.

do get it. I get the fact that women don’t want to be judged solely by the “Esquire metric” (a metric that gets more and more difficult to achieve the older we get, thus pushing more and more women out of the “acceptable” range as they age). Esquire’s lauding gorgeous, 42-year old females for being, well, 42, female, and gorgeous, is merely applying the objectification standard to a non-standard bracket. I do not consider the Esquire article to be a “step forward” for women. But what about Marvel’s female Thor, which Wired magazine complains doesn’t go far enough? And what about Harry Reid giving Mitch McConnell hell on the topic of gender equity, which Traister says makes her feel “obligated to feel grateful”?

It’s as if we (men) can’t appreciate female beauty, can’t stick up for women, and can’t try to nudge the pendulum of social change in any way toward real gender parity, because whatever we do, it’s too little, too late. We’ve failed before we even start.

When you boil it down, heterosexual men are attracted to women, but there doesn’t seem to be a way for us to express that anymore.

My wife and I were both young and beautiful once (or so she tells me), but now after 30+ years, we’re both old and squidgy. She’s still beautiful to me, in so many ways, and yes, sometimes she doesn’t feel that it is so. Am I to wave her off with a dispassionate “Oh, come on. You know you’re beautiful”?

In my fifty-plus years, I’ve seen women’s issues and rights advance and improve. I’ve also seen plenty of setbacks. And, in a sort of reverse reaction, I’ve seen beauty standards applied to men in a way they never were before, and seen men become vainer and vainer in response. Yay, equality.

But my question is this: In an age where women are seeing their rights, freedoms, and even their safety curtailed by SCOTUS, politicians, and religious leaders, is it wise to slam the actions of those who are actually moving things forward or at least trying to do so? If we condemn the small steps because they’re small, we may never gain any ground at all.



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