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Relationship Health Message Board

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What Galina says is all true, but there are definitely some obstacles and difficulties involved in being perceived as a very attractive woman. Since I was old enough to date, I have a look that has generally proved quite attractive to the vast majority of men I've met...basically I'm petite, blonde, often called cute, pretty, or beautiful, and I have an hourglass figure with plenty of curves where men like to see them and little extra weight anywhere else. This is all genetics and out of my control and while in some ways it has made my life much, much nicer, more enjoyable, more pleasant, and easier than a lot of other people's lives, it has also caused other women to almost uniformly reject me as a friend on sight and target me as an enemy or at the very least as a competitor who should be attacked, criticized, and defamed whenever possible. It breaks my heart how often girls seem to think that every other female presents competition that must be destroyed to protect her desirability if single or to preserve her relationship if attached. Since one of the nicest benefits of my looks is that any guy I’ve been interested in has reciprocated my desire to get to know them better, I certainly don’t need to steal anyone’s boyfriend or husband, not that I would ever do this in any event, but just as men are quick to stereotype pretty blondes as airheads, women are quick to label us evil, scheming, would be man-stealers.

Anyway, one of the hard parts about being an attractive woman is that a lot of women hate you on sight, the other especially beautiful women are so used to women hating them that they steer clear of each other, and unattractive women, who are usually the most likely group for attractive women to find friends within, often end up hating and resenting us without our knowledge. Most of the close female friends I’ve had since puberty, at which point I started dating in earnest and haven’t really let up since, though I have had a number of relationships of varied seriousness and length, have been what most people wouldn’t consider conventionally beautiful. Perhaps not surprisingly, I’ve never had any trouble finding lots of fun, loyal male friends, and I’ve always related better to guys than girls, so the vast majority of my successful and fulfilling friendships are with men. The female friends have often turned out to be using me because of my friendships with and access to guys and despite all my efforts to be a kind and loyal friend, many of them have ended up resenting and even, in extreme cases, hating me, primarily because of the success I’ve enjoyed within relationships and the fact that they haven’t been able to seduce and/or hold onto the men they’ve desired during our friendships.

By the way, Citygirl, I just wanted to mention here what a cool girl you seem's amazing how many awesome women I've met here, far more than I've met in real life in years and years all put together! I also wanted to add how cool and rare it is to find a girl my age who doesn't have any compunction about giving herself credit where credit is due. When did women become so uniformly self-deprecating that now whenever we say something positive about ourselves, we automatically apologize and make sure to explain we aren't intending to brag. That makes me sad--what would be so bad about that? We all have a lot of great qualities and achievements, lots of things to be proud of, and from the sound of it here, a lot of women could definitely benefit from the self-esteem boost that comes from complimenting ourselves on the things we like and admire most. And when someone is going through a major trauma, I think we should take every possible opportunity to remind them of all the great things they have going for them. I guess maybe one reason I tend to connect better with men than women is because men don't have the same sort of modesty when it comes to complimenting themselves. I've found that men actually find it appealing when girls speak up about their talents and achievements...I've gotten really positive responses to some of the things I say in my online dating profile that come closest to bragging.

The girl friends I had look it over mentioned several times that I might want to tone it down and sound like less of a fan of myself, but I don't think guys respond in the same way at all. They seem to find it refreshing and admirable when a woman is confident enough to be frank about her impressive qualities, and come to think of it, I think that it's appealing when guys are confident and don't feign false modesty about the things they have to brag about. Confidence is attractive, especially in the somewhat shy, nerdy guys I like to go for who have a quiet confidence underlying their reserved demeanor, which disappears after they get to know someone well. I think the guys I like might describe me the same way, though the older I get, the more outgoing I become, and once I'm in a social situation, I have no trouble being gregarious. In any event, the type of guy I like is sexy when he's smart and confident, but the same guy might seem a lot less attractive if he didn't have confidence in his abilities.

I think guys find confidence equally sexy, and equally intrinsic to whether or not they find a particular girl appealing or not, especially because sadly, it's less common for young women to display confidence openly than it is for young men to do so. We are taught starting pretty early that while boys compete, girls are supposed to gain skills and work hard on cooperating, getting along with everyone, and building consensus. This never suited me well--other than a few other equally assertive, confident, outspoken, and competitive female friends I have from when I was little, I never had as many female as male friends, and girls rarely liked me while nearly every guy I met liked me either as a friend or as more than a friend, or both. The more I think about this, the more I think my experiences could be very strongly impacted by guys finding confidence and a willingness to express one's talents and achievements appealing and common, women seem to find it very rude and distasteful, probably because they were urged growing up not to brag for fear of seeming full of herself. Well, I think this is selling women short--better to be honest about your abilities and risk people getting the wrong idea than to undermine yourself in the name of modesty and in the process, jeopardize one's self-esteem and risk increasing insecurities.

Has anyone read Reviving Ophelia? It’s about how while little girls and boys have a lot in common, by the time girls get through adolescence, the vast majority of them have experienced a major decline in self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-assurance. They become increasingly uncomfortable speaking in class, expressing opinions to a peer group unless they know others will agree, grow less and less willing to not conform in any way, from their clothes to their hobbies, basically trying to eliminate the things that make them most unique and distinctive, losing their boldness, zeal, and willingness to stand out and stand up for themselves. They also learn that their main value is as target of desire for men, and therefore their most important and defining quality is how successful they are at attracting men compared with their peers. This helps account for why it sometimes seems like women, especially certain women, see themselves as perpetually at war with all other women, mainly those women who might be perceived as more attractive or as otherwise more appealing to men. It makes me so sad to think that after all the gains we worked so hard to achieve, the feminist movement wasn’t completely successful (for instance, we failed to pass the ERA) because deep down, a lot of women view all other women as first and foremost competition for male attention and devotion. This can be very ferocious among high school girls, some of whom will seem willing to go to any lengths to humiliate and discredit any girls they see as real threats because of the girls’ beauty, talents, or personality. But I think the worst offenders are those pitiful, pathetic women who see marriage as the penultimate achievement in a woman’s life and view their husband as a prize that all other women are constantly fighting her for possession of, even though this is primarily a fiction that exists only in the heads of these wives.

Why do women have to fight each other in such a petty, unflattering manner rather than help each other out? There always seems to be such competition…I feel like every woman I see, especially if she is part of a couple, gives me a quick up and down and then a dirty look, or sometimes makes it obvious she is saying something catty about me if she happens to notice her boyfriend looking me over at the same time. I just wish it could be different…it makes for a very lonely world out there as a pretty girl who boys have always liked a lot. Don't get me wrong, I am grateful for how nice my life has been because of my looks, innate intelligence, and family background, and I know I was very lucky not to lose my confidence, self-esteem, uniqueness, and willingness to be different and stand up for myself when I went against the norm. Many girls aren't so fortunate, which is part of the reason I think it can be very lonely for women of all ages and degrees of attractiveness.

I got extremely lucky to have strong female role models, both relatives and teachers, who helped me become one of a very select few girls who avoided this fate, but I was absolutely devastated reading the book and realizing how widespread the problem is and how few girls remain unaffected by the trend it outlines and details.

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