Day: May 11, 2015

Ex Machina (2015) – The Power of A Woman’s Beauty

Men are victims to their aesthetics. Do they care more about looks than women? I don’t know, but I suppose it’s safe to say that we are influenced more by looks than women are.

Emily and I went see Ex Machina the other night. Without giving too much away, the movie dives into the psyche of Caleb, the man assigned to examine Ava, the Artificial Intelligence, or A.I. To Caleb’s surprise, he finds Ava to be fascinating and beautiful. He is attracted to her, and this feeling begins to influence the decisions he makes as the story develops.

This reminded me of another scene from another movie, the fittingly titled Beautiful Girls (watch it if you haven’t seen it. I highly recommend it). In this scene, Paul, played by Michael Rapaport, goes on a rant about the beauty of women. It’s actually quite good, in a quirky way:

We see it all the time – rich, powerful men with their beautiful trophy wives, the stereotypical, glaring example of women using their looks for personal gain. Surely, this isn’t the only case of men surrendering to a woman’s looks. What about the everyday situations where women use their beauty to their advantage? Are all women aware of the fact that they can use their looks to influence how men treat them? How many women have used their feminine charm at one point in their lives to help their cause?

Emily: One man’s loss is another woman’s gain. Whether it’s the free drink at the bar in exchange for conversation, the warning ticket from the officer in exchange for an “I’m so sorry, Sir, I was in a rush”, the free furniture delivery scheduled in exchange for a smile (yes, the salesman was a sucker), women know how to milk it. It wasn’t until an all girls trip to Las Vegas that I learned the power of the female body. Sin City makes every man wish they were rich and every woman wish they were beautiful.  As a woman, you are awarded free cover, VIP access, and free drinks from the men who pay bottle service. As a man, you better have that 3 grand to throw down on a table to get VIP access so you can watch all of that money be guzzled by the beautiful women you just paid for to sit at your table. Leave it to Vegas to reinforce this notion that men fall victim to their aesthetics.

Chris: Well, Vegas is outside of the norm. I guess what I’m curious about is how many women out there are aware of the fact that they can use their looks to their advantage, and how often, if ever, does the average woman actually put this into use? I know about the scenario of getting pulled over by the police, and there are other obvious instances like getting a drink from a bartender more quickly. But what are the more subtle cases where women get preferential treatment because of their looks?

Emily: Hmmmm. In the land outside of Vegas, I am sure the subtle treatment happens. Women may not be aware of it happening because it is so subtle. Occasionally, I’ve received a complimentary Starbucks drink and (more subtle) guacamole free of charge at Chipotle. Wild guess is the Starbucks barista was trying to be Mr. Suave because I’m sure he did not extend the same generous gesture to the bald man behind me. Whether the Chipotle cashier made a mistake or was subtly trying to charm me, I don’t know.  You hear stories of how women use their looks to their advantage a lot, even in the business world. I once talked to a beautiful realtor who told me she puts her headshot in her email signatures because it increases response rates. I don’t think these women are necessarily “using” their looks to their advantage in a deceptive way. I think the more appropriate way to phrase these situations is men are allowing themselves to be taken advantage of by freely giving it up. In the case of Mr. Starbucks and Mr. Chipotle, I don’t really know what they expected. “Why thank you, that’s so kind. You saved me a dollar. Here is my number. Holler.”

Chris: Not aware of it happening? Okay, sure. But you bring up a good point about deception. I think if a girl flaunts her good looks, milks it for everything its worth, and makes no bones about it then more power to her, but oftentimes guys get suckered into doing things for women because of their attractiveness. Hell, I wrote all about how I got Thomas Crowned. I just find it amazing how men of all statuses and intellects can fall to the charms of a woman’s beauty. It’s fucking annoying, but we’re just wired that way I guess. It’s going to happen to all of us – we just need to know the fine line between allowing ourselves to be taken advantage of in minor circumstances and becoming a total bitch and pushover. Do I sound bitter? I’m not bitter.