Ladies: Treat Your Body Like the Piece of Real Estate It Is

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In an issue of Cosmo UK, humorist Matt Rudd was the feature for “The Big Question,” a section in which the man of the month wonders why women do certain crazy women things. Matt’s question was why women didn’t “big up” their bodies, which is either British or Matt slang for “Why do we sell ourselves short”?

What might have been an interesting analysis on the way in which women typically downplay their good features and act falsely modest about themselves as a way of avoiding seeming arrogant instead opened with an unfortunate comparison between the female body and a piece of real estate and your eager prospective male buyer.

“Imagine the following unlikely scenario,” Rudd says, “An estate agent is showing you around your dream house. ‘It’s perfect,’ you say. [...] ‘I want it.’ As far as you’re concerned, this is the sexiest house you’ve ever seen. But rather than licking his lips and whipping out a contract, the agent looks worried. ‘Are you sure?’ he asks. ‘I mean, isn’t it a bit saggy? Look at the bedroom. It’s a bit rubbish. I used to sell much better houses, but I’ve really let myself go.’

Rudd argues that women ought to be better “estate agents” and not point out our saggy breasts or bag-ridden eyes or slightly fuller midsection. Rudd is aware that you’re really just looking for reassurance — for your boyfriend/husband/partner to say, “But of course not!” but Rudd is tired of the fact that he’s supposed to say it, and even more tired of how often he’s expected to say it.

More importantly, if you keep putting yourself down, then your husband/partner/boyfriend who used to consider you way out of his league may start seeing you through your eyes and will eventually come to view you as having all of the faults you complain about.

That last part seems fair enough — after all, most flaws are far smaller than anyone thinks they are, and 0ften you don’t notice someone’s “totally weird neck mole” or lazy eye until they point it out themselves, but that doesn’t change the fact that Matt has dramatically underplayed or misunderstood the factors going on here. It’s not just that women want to be told, “No, of course you don’t look fat,” but I think also a huge factor is that women — especially North American woman — have been trained that self-depricating modesty is cute and expected. Women who think that they are hot, sexy and gorgeous are arrogant bitches. Cute girls who pretend not to know how beautiful they are are called leading ladies in romantic comedies.

But what’s your take? Why do women tend to downplay their attractiveness or over-emphasize their perceived faults?

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8 thoughts on “Ladies: Treat Your Body Like the Piece of Real Estate It Is

  1. This guy is totally missing the boat. It’s not that women are taught that modesty is expected. It’s that millions of women have bad self-esteem because they aren’t cookie-cutter copies of whatever young, waif-like models are in ads at the moment. I don’t think women purposely downplay their attractiveness, I think many of them truly don’t believe they’re beautiful. People might think that blaming “the media” is a vague displacement of blame, but we’re exposed to thousands of advertisements telling us what our values and ideals are supposed to be every day. And despite knowing about the negative impact of using only perfect-looking women of a certain shape, age, and race, when our world is so much more diverse in reality, ad companies continue to believe that only their version of sex sells.

  2. I am a bit confused by this article. It starts as though the point of contention is someone describing women’s bodies as “real estate” and a criticism of what a specific person wrote and his point of view. Then it somehow morphs and ends as a complaint that women tend to put themselves down. I understand both points but wonder which of them the author was meaning to lament.

    • I was annoyed at the way he presented his argument and then by the end was trying to say that he had the symptoms right, but not the disease. In other words, that beautiful women don’t put themselves down just to hear their man’s compliments — that our insecurities might be genuine and it’s not as easy as “big-upping” our bodies out loud. But also that beautiful, confident women sometimes put themselves down because they know it’s not “acceptable” to be vain about their looks, which is equally problematic.

  3. I think that the way he presented his argument got our attention, didn’t it? I happen to afree with him.
    I have 3 stunning daughters – all of them different in terms of beauty, but they are all intelligent and perfect.
    There is no need to trumpet your belief in your own attractiveness, but you had better believe in yourself. Without that – you are lost.

    This vid says it perfectly.

  4. He’s correct in the selling sense. If you are trying to sell yourself to a man, an honest playing up is a good idea. Constant self-deprication doesn’t help. As many men notice, confidence can add a lot of attraction points.
    Women who think they are hot, sexy, and gorgeous often ARE arrogant bitches. (And they’re often not very attractive).
    There is plenty of room for confidence and comfort between self-deprecating and arrogant.

  5. I was constantly putting myself down when my boyfriend called me “beautiful” or “sexy” because I (usually) don’t believe it. He really does, though, so I’ve started just replying in smiles and kisses.

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