Beauty and the Green-Eyed Beast

Do beautiful women get treated worse because of the envy and insecurity of others? Or do they merely perceive this bad treatment due to their own pride and vanity? (Or is it something else altogether?)

Here are some of the things I’ve been thinking through on these questions…

(For this post, I will be referring only to physical, outward beauty. I think in younger women, physical and inner beauty are two completely separate things. As I’ve discussed before, outer beauty is a gift from God to be enjoyed, but inner beauty is far more important.)

Firstly , there are beautiful women who are very down-to-earth. They don’t spend time dwelling on their beauty or drawing the attention of others to it. They simply get on with life.

My good friends in real life are all beautiful women. Do I feel threatened by them, or treat them with disdain out of envy? I don’t think so. I notice and appreciate their beauty, and I may even ask their advice on make-up or fashion from time to time, but it is not a major factor in our relationship.

Is this just because I have a secure heart, and I would never feel threatened by a beautiful woman?

Well, I do feel secure and confident in myself and my marriage, but I don’t think that’s the full picture.

You see, I have felt threatened by beautiful women before. I have secretly thought, “I hope my husband doesn’t notice her. ” I have even desired to distract him somehow at times.

What was the difference between my reaction in that situation, and my reaction to the many beautiful women in my life daily?

Well, I think there are other beautiful women who put a lot of effort into attracting male sexual attention. They know they are beautiful, they know the response they can get from men, and they actively seek it out. Even (especially?) married men. For these women, there is a special thrill in knowing they took a man’s attentions away from his wife, even if only for a moment.

So when a wife notices and feels threatened by this kind of beautiful woman, is it a sign of her inner struggle with envy? I don’t think so.

Earlier this year, my neighbour’s three large dogs broke through the fence, cornered me against a wall and stood there barking at me for five minutes or so. (I am so thankful the kids were inside sleeping, it was terrifying enough with just me out there!)

Did I feel threatened because of some deep seated insecurity about dogs? Or did I feel threatened because the dogs were threatening me?

My point is this: a woman feeling threatened by the presence of a beautiful woman is not evidence of an envy problem in her heart. There are women out there who misuse their beauty and whose intentions are not good and we are wise to notice when this is going on.

I am certain there are some women for whom envy and insecurity are a deep struggle in their hearts. These women may very well feel threatened and behave rudely to any woman they perceive as more beautiful than them, regardless of whether the threat is real or not.

So what is the best way to handle this in real life?

If you notice a woman who seems to be seeking inappropriate sexual attention, my recommendation is to befriend her. She might not have any really good female friends, and only knows how to attract men for attention. If you are her friend, you may be able to confront her about her inappropriate behaviour one day. Or you may realise that you had the wrong impression of her altogether.

If you feel like you get a lot of cattiness from other women due to your own beauty, you might like to have a good look at your behaviour, particularly around men. Do you feel a thrill when a man appreciates your beauty? Is it possible you are acting in certain ways to chase that thrill? There is no excuse for other women to treat you rudely, but it’s important to take responsibility for yourself and change any inappropriate behaviour.

I’d love to hear others’ thoughts on this! What have been your experiences?

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58 thoughts on “Beauty and the Green-Eyed Beast

  1. I totally understand SS, that’s why I brought up those issues to try to help Liz see what was really being discussed… I know you pointed out that you don’t look down on women who dress immodestly though, so sorry if it sounded like I was condemning the whole discussion as just being judgmental, I know at the heart of it, it’s not. It was trying to figure out what is right and what is wrong.

    I know with my husband at least (obviously he’s not every man or every man’s experience so take it for what it’s worth), seeing women wearing bathing suits can be tempting when it’s out of the right setting. But it also can be tempting even at the beach like you said if the woman’s a 10. But it’s FAR more tempting for him when it’s unexpected. He used to work security at a mall when we first got married, and two women came in wearing extremely revealing workout clothes – sports bras and shorts I think… and he remarked how it caught him off guard because the display of skin was so out of the ordinary for a mall where most women wear more clothes than that. But that was when we were first married and turning off his roving eye was a real change for him from when he was single and (by his admission) would lust after almost any woman. Now it takes a lot more to tempt him, or something even unexpectedly subtle (not what we would think). I was asking him about this post, what his thoughts were, and he said it’s just difficult to pin point for a lot of men since they can have different preferences. Men can become tempted by a woman even when she isn’t wearing revealing clothing, or acting inappropriately… they can be extremely tempted by her even when she is virtuous and modestly dressed. They can have an erection (uncontrolled obviously) just by courteous feminine behavior! This is so beyond me LOL… I will never understand this part of men. I almost think it’s part of our femaleness to want to understand this so much, to put boundaries in our minds around what can tempt our husbands, almost as a way to “control” the situation so that it’s less intimidating to us. But I could be wrong 🙂

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  2. Oh, thank you for clarifying! I was sitting here scratching my head a little bit after I thought we were in total agreement the other day 😉
    Your husband’s thoughts are insightful – thank you for sharing them.
    I think a desire for understanding can totally be rooted in control. That is part of the curse on women from Genesis 3, I believe – a sinful desire to control our husbands.

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  3. Side note re context. With selective picking can make even Tangled look like a horror film:

    (these clips are fun…they have ’em for most of the children’s movies and they also make the point that selective information can be very misleading) 🙂

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  4. And this is random, but since it involves bikinis and men (or women) thinking they’re appropriate or not…

    I found it strange that when I was being extremely judged by Cane Caldo for wearing a tank top that had a shadow of cleavage (ie: not real cleavage or pushup bra cleavage here, just a tiny shadow), that months later, when Cane was still bemoaning that Dalrock welcomes women to comment and criticizing my comment that Dalrock used as the basis for a good post, Sarah’s Daughter brought up Vox Day’s wife of 20+ years, SpaceBunny, and how she wears and shows a full body bikini in her gravatar, even posts photos of her in a bikini to her Twitter followers who she regularly interacts with through retweets and comments (a large portion of them being men). It was the moment of truth for Cane Caldo, and he ended up supporting Space Bunny not only wearing a bikini, but using it as her gravatar picture, even posting photos of herself in a bikini to her male audience (to show off how she’s kept in shape all these years even with 4 children). His answer as to why he supported her behavior and condemned mine, was because her husband is Vox Day, and then he criticized and put down both Sarah’s Daughter and my husband saying that they weren’t “a VD”… ?

    So months before, when my tank top issue was being discussed at Dalrock’s, the bikini issue came up there. I admit I was totally foolish to try to talk about this issue with those men at all when it’s just between my husband and I. But since I was trying to defend myself against Cane’s very crass judgment, I said that my husband was fine with my gravatar that it was not revealing to him at all. Somehow bikinis came up and I admitted that yes, I wear a bikini to the beach because my husband likes it, and all the men condemned my husband, criticized his headship, even Cane, for allowing me to wear bikinis even when with him.

    I honestly think that rather than stick to his belief that women shouldn’t wear revealing clothes in their gravatar, that it was because he would not dare insult Vox Day, and insulting SpaceBunny’s choices or judging her for having a bikini gravatar would be ultimately insulting her husband. VD is extremely popular in the manosphere, he’s one of the founders, so this was a test to see if the real issue was what women should wear in their gravatar (even the issue if bikinis are ok or not), or rather him feeling ok in exploding in righteous judgment at someone obscure where he knew he wouldn’t have to deal with the consequences, versus someone high up in social standing (SpaceBunny) who would undoubtedly incur VD’s anger and defense. I’m not begrudging Space Bunny here, I think she’s a role model and not merely because she’s 45 and looks amazing in a bikini after 4 kids, but because of her behavior being brave and wonderful in supporting her husband’s fight against SJWs.

    I totally understand now, in retrospect, that my gravatar just seemed questionable in intention and out of place for Dalrock’s, but obviously it’s attached to my blog and I commented more on women’s blogs then, even fashion and beauty blogs, so I didn’t understand it back then. I think my gravatar was a bit like those women going to the mall in extremely revealing workout clothes… for the place (Dalrock’s blog) it was actually inappropriate.

    But as far as bikinis sometimes being ok, or not being ok at all, I think men can flip-flop on their “convictions” of what is right and what is wrong, based on how they perceive that woman, her intentions, or how easily insultable she (or her husband) is. I thought it would be black or white – that people would either think it’s ok or not ok, and then stick to their convictions.

    One cannot hold the belief that wearing a bikini (or having a gravatar that revealing) can be “ok” for some people, and “not ok” for others, without exposing a certain amount of inconsistency. My husband thought that a lot of it was Space Bunny’s age, but still, even for people you’d think have strong convictions (black and white) of right and wrong, there are apparently “gray areas.”

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  5. Right… it really is too much drama! And you’re right…. We’re all a little inconsistent when it comes to judging others and trying to draw a line of what is right and what is wrong. Clearly there is still a “right” and “wrong”… a line somewhere, and it’s good to be consistent, search our hearts and motivations before confronting someone, and try to be as graceful and kind as possible.

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  6. Pingback: Blogging Etiquette and Some Fun | seriously serving the saviour

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