As Miranda Priestly once laid it the fuck down for Andy Sachs in The Devil Wears Prada, “I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select… I don’t know… that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise. It’s not lapis. It’s actually cerulean. And you’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent, wasn’t it, who showed cerulean military jackets? And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of ‘stuff.'”
So it is that a certain kind of “man” truly believes that he, too, is exempt from the industries of fashion and beauty that cater to his archaic preconceptions of femininity (it doesn’t matter how many attempts at “body conscious” ads by Aerie there are). This theory of exemption is particularly pronounced should he 1) not be a Marc Bolan acolyte or an 00s-era poseur trapped in the past who wears guyliner or 2) “go for” women who favor a “natural” look (likely because said “women” are probably girls still freshly entering the motherfucking sebum phase, which Humbert Humbert must grossly described as, “The excess of the oily substance called sebum which nourishes the hair follicles of the skin creates, when too profuse, an irritation that opens the way to infection. But nymphets do not have acne although they gorge themselves on rich food”).
The reality is, however, that “men” are the ones who fall prey more than the female gender to the illusions and temptations of what “beauty”–as it is stylized by makeup, fashion and other cosmetic alterations–means. Titillation is an entire industry predicated on the cliche arousal of what’s left of “men’s” libidos–and all as they feign not to notice the difference between a woman who has put forth effort and one who hasn’t (“men” are blacked out to reality, sure, but come on). More than trying to appeal to how women want to feel about themselves, it is about how they feel about themselves when they know they have the power to make a “man” get an erection on sight. For that has far more political clout than any presidency. It indicates she has the power and control to essentially get him to do whatever she wants in exchange for the dangle of the possibility of sex. And while, sure, the twenty-first century has done its best to stamp out lust and desire in that Orwellian/Bradburian fashion built upon stacks and stacks of screens and false entertainment, beauty and fashion have remained largely untouched (save for various genderless clothing lines) by the female rage characterized by contempt for catcalling and rape culture (“asking for it” because of how she dresses, as it were. But no, she’s just asking for the aforementioned power that comes from mind controlling a penis with her “beauty”).
While the “evolved” “man” peddles his expected, “Oh my god that’s so sad, I feel so bad for you that you’re shallow enough to believe that a ‘man’ doesn’t value more in a woman than her appearance.” But smart or not, “things to say” or not, all it takes is one “hot person” to walk into the room for all intellect and humor to be rendered as far less valuable. And “men” who try to delude themselves into thinking otherwise simply haven’t recently seen a woman walk past in an Yves Saint Laurent cerulean blazer with a fresh coat of makeup demarcating the “au naturel” aesthetic that Kylie Jenner has of late sanctioned.