Tuesday, 19 February 2013

A Gender Thing.

Isn’t it interesting that we understand a distinction between the words ‘pretty’ and ‘beautiful’ when applied to women? Pretty girls are ten-a-penny, but a beautiful woman needs something extra – a strong personality at least, and preferably some rare and deeper qualities. Men, on the other hand, are merely handsome or not. There isn’t a male equivalent of beautiful, at least not as popularly conceived. Does that mean that men aren’t expected to have deeper qualities?

3 comments:

Sara said...

To my thinking, a your musing is only halfway there. I've heard many a woman without that something extra described as beautiful by people other than myself. But for me to consider a woman beautiful, her appeal absolutely must extend beyond the flesh. You feel the same way, but when you say "we" who exactly do you mean? You and other like minds? Or you and the greater cultural consciousness (where folks are primarily judged by their physical attractiveness).

I feel the same way about men, though I have a whole slew of words besides handsome I use.

Sara said...

Damned typo!

JJ Beazley said...

By 'we' I simply meant that the distinction between 'pretty' and 'beautiful' is commonly recognised when applied to women (even though it might frequently fail to be delineated with a proper degree of circumspection.) It would be rare, however, to hear a man described as 'beautiful,' and even then, only by a certain type of woman.

I think the issue is also complicated by the fact that deeper beauty often finds expression in the face, especially the eyes, so maybe there's value in judging by physical attractiveness up to a point - as long as you know what you're looking for.