Social Question

ctferrarajr's avatar

Do women wear make-up and jewelry solely to impress men?

Asked by ctferrarajr (270points) June 1st, 2012

My girlfriend and I recently had a discussion about whether women wearing jewelry and/or make-up was for the ultimate reason of attracting men. Our arguments went something like this:

Me: Its evolution. Through many years women who have looked nicer have attracted more men and, in turn, survived longer. By wearing make-up and jewelry they are continuing this attempt to be appealing. Even if they do not realize it themselves I think that make-up and jewelry was invented for purpose of pleasing men.

Her argument: I’m a girl and I know this stuff. I like to wear my makeup and jewelry to look pretty. Even if I was just going out with a bunch of girls I would still want to look good.

You get the basic idea. She thinks that because she wants to look good for her girls just as much as for guys that it must mean that its not for guys. I, on the other hand, think that instinctually, at the most basic level, that these things are to please men.

Any thoughts on the subject? I could really use a good article to read up on this.


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24 Answers

WestRiverrat's avatar

No, sometimes it is to impress women.
Sometimes it is just to make themselves look and feel good.
Sometimes they don’t want to be featured in a people of Walmart video.
Sometimes it is for no reason at all.

bewailknot's avatar

I think it is often to impress women. I think women are often more critical of other women than men are.

Linda_Owl's avatar

I wear jewelry that I like & I wear it because I like it – I do not wear it for a man’s sake or to impress other women.

Pandora's avatar

Sometimes it is just to blend in and not stand out. There was a time I wore makeup to attract men, then it became about wearing makeup, simply to feel girly (after taking care of two toddlers all day) and sexy for myself. Then there was a time I will admit, I wore make up to make sure other women didn’t think they would have a shot in hell with my husband, should they glance his way. Then there was the time I did it simply because I felt my youth was slipping away. Now its just so I don’t stand out by looking washed out. Hate it when I don’t wear make up and people say I look tired and I’m NOT! My skin is looking paler as I get older, so I find I have to put on blush or people think I am sick. :P
So my point is that I am simply one person and my reasons have changed over the years. I’m sure there are a lot more reasons. Its not so cut and dry.

filmfann's avatar

When a pretty woman walks into a party, more women check out the competition than guys check out the babe who just walked in.
That’s just the way it is.

wundayatta's avatar

Just because it is to impress other women doesn’t mean it isn’t about evolution. There are reproductive advantages to being a high status woman among women. A woman with high status among women is more attractive to men. Looking good is a way to appeal to women. In fact, my guess is that it is a more effective way of attracting women then it is of attracting men.

stardust's avatar

Frankly, I think it’s gas that anyone would think that I, as a woman, wear jewellery or make-up to impress or unconsciously attract men so that I can procreate.
The jewellery I wear daily has sentimental value. When I wear different accessories/jewellery, it is always an expression of my personality and has nothing to do with attracting men or women. I wear this stuff because I like it.
As for make-up, I wear it to accentuate my existing features as opposed to covering up.

JLeslie's avatar

No. A lot of time I put on make-up to look alert and to be taken seriously. I look tired and pale without makeup. If I am going to the doctor, to return something at a store, deal with a trying situation, I put on my make-up, nice clothes, some basic jewelry so I am not ignored. There have been studies showing doctors show better attention to patients dressed well, who look somewhat businesslike or sophisticated.

I also pull myself together when meeting a girlfriend out. If it is to hang out at her house or mine I would not care.

And yes, for men too when I was single, and now for my husband when I want to look nice for him. Every other man is like other women, if I am going out to a restaurant or event I will put make-up on. If they are just swinging by the house to hang out with my husband and I, I might not. If I go to the pool I don’t, I swim, laps, underwater and everything.

Most of my jewelry represents my relationship with my husband or inherited pieces. I love and wear them mostly because I love the items for sentimental reasons, and because I think they are beautiful. But, also some of it is to look more beautiful when I am dressing up.

Trillian's avatar

“Through many years women who have looked nicer have attracted more men and, in turn, survived longer.” Fallacy.
Women dress for other women.

iphigeneia's avatar

Fashion and beauty are, to me, an artform and a means of self-exploration and expression. I don’t dress for other women, and I definitely don’t do it to attract men.

rooeytoo's avatar

I wear jewelry that I like because I like it. I never wear make up because I don’t like the way it feels on my skin. This is me, the rest of the world, be it female or male, can take it or leave it.

Kardamom's avatar

All I know is that I’ve come to love This Look

Keep_on_running's avatar

I really only wear a watch now and minimal make-up, but I still like to attract men. So where does that leave me? :P

rooeytoo's avatar

@Keep_on_running – I would say self confident and real!

ucme's avatar

Is this 1948?

wildpotato's avatar

I don’t think impressing guys is the only or primary reason for wearing jewelry or makeup – this is one of the many reasons women do these things. And you can’t generalize it – sometimes a woman might have this in mind, but most often not.

I agree with the above answers that makeup is worn to impress other women, in general, more than men. I never wear any makeup and I dress for comfort over style. When I go out to bars in Manhattan and get introduced to lady friends of friends, they almost invariably ignore me utterly, even to the point of not responding when I speak to them directly. It’s so weird and amusing! And telling, of course. Guys also do this, but much more rarely.

For jewelry, 99% of the time I only wear dangly earrings, specifically because I think they make me look a bit more my age – according to many, I look about ten years younger than I am. So I guess that is me trying to impress others. Again, though, women are usually the people who say to me, “Wow, I can’t believe you’re 26; you look like you’re 14!”, not men.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Here is a site that provides a Make-up Poll Resluts. The survey was taken by women of different cultures. It doesn’t state when it was conducted. It’s too small of a sampling to get an accurate pulse reading from the world’s female population, and as the site notes, didn’t control who took it. For these reasons, take the information for what it’s worth to you and your GF.

However, it does ask some questions and provide statistical results that might help settle the debate. Here are two:
Why do you wear make-up?

Because all of my friends do: 1.74%
To be popular: 1.16 %
Because of pressure from my mom: 0.69%
To impress boys: 14.58%
To feel better about myself: 32.52%
To experiment with other looks: 34.26%
I don’t wear makeup: 15.05%

How does wearing make-up make you feel?
Prettier: 379
Confident: 295
Self-conscious: 40
Not good enough: 16

Personally, I think that the reason women choose to wear make-up and jewelry mainly stems from their culture. It’s some sort of ‘peer pressure’ created by several factors: one being that other women do it, and another is that a woman is considered less attractive if she doesn’t. In the latter case, it seems to stem from media sources and one’s inner self. The only people who have told me that I would look better with make-up are the clerks in the make-up stations in dept. stores. No surprise there. Plop a make-up wearer down in the middle of a group of people who do not wear any and see how long she keeps it up.

Here are the reasons I used to wear make-up:
* Wearing it was only allowed once I reached a certain age. After years of observing my mother and older sisters put it on before going to school or a party, it was a big deal.
* My friends wore it.
* A point was reached where I thought that I looked better with a bit of make-up.

About three years ago, I stopped wearing it. It was psychologically difficult at first, but the benefits outweighed this one minor drawback that was eventually overcome. The main reason I chose this path was because my SO said, “You don’t need to wear make-up.” He was quite right. Old friends don’t gawk at me as if I walked out of the house naked. I’ve made new friends that don’t suggest that I could use a bit of color in my face. The SO hasn’t said, “I’ve changed my mind.” And most importantly, I feel liberated from the worry, the expense, and the time-consuming act.

Mariah's avatar

Nope. I wear jewelry because I make my own jewelry and I’m proud of it. I don’t wear make up.

You can’t make these kinds of over-arching statements. Not all women have the same motives.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I think most women wear jewelry for their own enjoyment.
I think most women wear makeup to feel attractive publicly.

partyrock's avatar

Some do, some don’t.

Some women do it to impress men. Some do it for other women. and some dress and look nice for themselves. And others do it for all of that :)

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I don’t wear makeup or jewelry to impress anyone. I wear it because I want to. My wedding ring is usually the only jewelry I wear, with a necklace occasionally. I don’t often wear makeup, but when I do it’s not because I have some evolutionary desire to impress the opposite sex.

emeraldisles's avatar

I wear it to make myself feel good. Enhance the beauty that is already there.

Pandora's avatar

I wear make to give me a fresher appearance and it boost my confidence when I feel like my butt is dragging and as for jewelry, I just like shiny babbles. I don’t think guys are that into jewelry. At least I know my husband isn’t.
I can’t speak for every woman but that is the case for me. I don’t think make up is going to make him suddenly see me as a super model after 30 years of marriage.
I don’t think he notices too much when I do or do not wear makeup unless I go to the 9’s. I know he likes to kiss me (as he puts it) without all that crap on. He likes the look but not the taste.

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