Us girls are so magical
Soft skin, red lips, so kissable
Hard to resist, so touchable
Too good to deny it
Ain’t no big deal, it’s innocent
I’ve written before about fluid female sexuality, but you won’t - unless your internet stalking game is absolutely on point - have read my selfish, self-indulgent bemoaning of its implications for the human race. It’s a current imbalance - men do not yet demonstrate that fluidity to the same extent - and one I have constantly sought to square the circle of, to mix metaphors.
The lyrics above are from the Katy Perry song I Kissed a Girl. As you can imagine, that release had an impact on my life, despite virtually everyone I knew, of both (universally accepted) genders, shrugging in complete indifference. The song didn’t tell me anything I didn’t know, in terms of women, particularly younger women, having sexual experiences with other women, but it did bring it into the mainstream like never before.
A quick analysis of that bridge on a recent relisten, however, got me thinking. How much of what attracts Katy to “women” is biologically female? Like, how much of it would remain in existence had society and, let’s face it, capitalism, not got involved?
Well, women may be magical. They are objectively attractive, apparently - transcending sexual orientation, or defining it. Funny that men that identify as gay statistically don’t seem so taken with them, but perhaps that’s an exploration for another day, as it were. No, we’ll grant the magical bit, but that may be down to…
Is that natural? I mean, the moisturising industry is surely worth billions. It can’t all be snake oil, surely? Women have soft skin, traditionally, I guess, because they put pots of cream on and don’t tend to work outside or do DIY. I mean, that’s offensive, but will every female baby grow up to have soft skin in adulthood? That seems unlikely.
Is this ever natural? I’ve said it before: I’m a blogger, not a journalist, so find out, if you care, but I reckon red lips is down to lipstick, or some kind of moisturising chapstick. Perry had even suggested one was employed by the object of her affections earlier in the song. An enhancement of what’s already there? But is what’s already there enough to “turn” a “straight” woman?
Again, granted. But that’s due to the earlier stuff, right?
And so it continues with what I’d call effects rather than causes. Like long hair (they cut it that way!), soft hair (conditioner! They take two bottles into the shower! At least! Not the £1 bottle of shower gel I take in with me!), no body hair (they shave it or wax it off!), eyelashes (fake or they’ve had something done to them!) and big eyes (makeup! Damon Albarn looked just as fanciable in the The Universal video with his “guy-liner” on.)
Let’s say, for the sake of argument, all of this is exaggeration. We exaggerate women’s femininity and, historically, have exaggerated men’s masculinity. Traditionally, the more curvaceous a woman is, the more attractive she will be - great “a*se[s]” and “boobs” seem to be at the root of the mutual attraction between Geri then-Halliwell and Mel forever-B - and the more muscular a man is the more attractive he will be. The truth? Or the media’s attractiveness standards?
I wonder if, somewhere down the line, the pressures of magazine advice on how to be seen as attractive to men has led to women stumbling upon how to just be objectively attractive. Whatever smells nice to a man may also smell nice to a woman. Lovely long and soft hair is nice to touch...for anyone who has hands. Once society says, y’know what, you can kiss that person too, if they’d like you to, same goes for f*cking them, well, we like kissing and f*cking…
As much as metrosexuality has hit, men are sprucing themselves up, apparently mostly for women, by moisturising, and eschewing body hair, amongst other things. The traditional swings of females to the artificial feminine standard. The exaggeration, remember? Well, if that’s the way you’ll go, good luck, but know that women have a significant head start. You give them what they can get from women, instead of an alternative, and, well, as I say, good luck.
Here’s another head start: Women aren’t d*cks. Value being put, belatedly, on listening, and comforting, and understanding, is being seamlessly linked to male metrosexuality. If that’s now attractive, great, but women already have that from their friends. Their best female friends. Their Geris and their Mel Bs. Men can try, but they probably won’t be as good at it. Let’s just add that to the list of things men won’t be as good as women at, try as they might. Uh huh.
So what have we done? Well, we’ve placed attraction, in a primal sense, on aesthetics and the superficial. Some of this, naturally, and encouragingly, will be because we present ourselves as an image of our personalities and our likes. However, we’ve created a gender - at least one - or even a species, through the artificial augmentation of our appearances. I refer you to the opening titles of The Devil Wears Prada, showing how much goes into a morning routine before many women would even be seen in public. That’s why, the thread between the two films, Emily Blunt’s Mary Poppins couldn’t resist cheekily checking herself out. Meticulous accepted beauty standard presentation is sexy.
So are women fancying women? Well, yes, clearly. But what’s a woman? It’s surely not solely the preserve of an anatomical female? No, but being an anatomical female helps with the diminutiveness and perceived delicacy that - along with the absence of a penis - removes threat from an encounter. Does having a vagina automatically put a toddler into pigtails and a pink dress? No. Physically, a woman is without question a social construct. And, at adulthood, an objectively hot one.
This is all being clumsily mansplained, of course. I’ll hold my hands up to that, in my noble metrosexuality. Notwithstanding this transitional period - pre the throwing off of gender and orientation shackles - it seems some people are innately gay, yes, albeit an unnecessarily steering and self-limiting label, but a recent Neighbours storyline which saw a lady sleep with her fiance’s sister centred on the betrayal and the arguable infidelity (were they on a break?) rather than the “same-sex” element. In fact, I haven’t used the word “lesbian” before now. Because most lesbian sex isn’t had by lesbians, and, in the future, the vast majority of self-identifying female-female weddings will not be between two people who self-identify as lesbians.
So do we, as men, if that’s what we choose to identify as, blame capitalism for our losing battle? How do we compete, if what we find attractive is also our most daunting competition? It seems to be my suggestion, so well done, capitalism. You may just have f*cked it all up.
Or, maybe we just stop being d*cks. Maybe we be kind, and listen, and be respectful, and stop thinking about gender, and fall in love when we fall in love, which will give us the best chance of receiving reciprocal feelings. And, when we eventually see through the superficial, and the polarisation, given to us by capitalism, we’ll have the requisite personalities to find love. That’ll prove, long after short-termist failures like me are dead and buried (cremated), everyone’s best hope, whatever the anatomy we were born with.
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