Giving Up Preoccupation with Appearance

Here are some of my highlights from the Women’s and Men’s Workshop:

Diane’s direction to take an uncompromised stand against sexism was useful for me. In my sessions I worked on giving up my attachment to looking good, and my preoccupation with my appearance, as a way to take this uncompromised stand. As an Asian female, I have been socialized to think that my appearance is what matters most about me. Growing up, I got more attention for my appearance than for my intelligence. I also come from a culture that places great importance on looking good, especially if one wants to find a husband.

The beautification industry bombards females with messages about what it means to be beautiful. It tells us that if we work at it (by buying products), we can become more beautiful and get the attention we want. Sexism also confuses men into a rigid definition of beauty. They are conditioned to value a woman’s appearance more than her mind. Women try hard to look good, and men are trained to compliment women for their appearance as a way of getting attention from them.

I have decided to permanently give up my preoccupation with my appearance. Instead, I will focus on valuing my mind completely. It’s hard to take this direction, because I feel insecure about my intelligence and I’m worried that I might not get any attention from men if I don’t look “pretty.” I know how to dress and act in certain ways to get attention from men. I’m not hopeful that I can find close relationships with men who truly value my mind. I have a confusion that says that a man only likes me because of the way I look and how I can take care of him.

I encourage every female to have Co-Counseling sessions on how much of her brain space is taken up by beauty and appearance. I also encourage men to work on where they collude with sexism and are preoccupied with women’s looks. Hopefully, if we work on this, women and men will have more attention to get close in deeper ways.

It is hopeful that the RC Community is committed to ending sexism and male domination.

At the workshop I was reminded of how complicated and confusing relationships can be between men (oppressors) and women (oppressed), because of sexism and male domination. The workshop provided an opportunity for people to show the reality of where women and men struggle because of this oppression. I came away with more information and perspective on how my internalized sexism feeds into men’s oppression and vice versa.

It was useful for me to counsel with men and show them my deep struggles related to sexism. It’s rare that I have the opportunity to be totally honest with men about sexism and trust that they will understand and actually care about what I’m going through.

I was touched by a demonstration Tim did with a man who worked on why ending sexism was important to him. I had never seen a man work on this topic in such a profound and moving way. It left me feeling hopeful and optimistic that it’s possible to have male allies as committed partners in the fight to end sexism and male domination.

Thanks, Diane, for leading the RC Community in ending sexism and male domination. Thanks, Tim, for being an ally to women’s liberation. You two make a great team!

Chau Ly,
Newton, Massachusetts, USA


Last modified: 2017-04-06 16:01:36-07