Are all observations about appearance off the table in our politically correct society? President Obama recently stepped into a buzz saw by noting what was clear to anyone with eyes: California’s Attorney General is one beautiful woman. Immediately the chorus of protest arose (mostly from women’s groups), about objectifying females and devaluing their professional attainments.
As a card-carrying feminist and author who has fought and won those battles, I have a different view. Appreciating beauty is a gender-neutral trait that is also a fact of life. Gorgeous women and sizzling men raise our thermostats to boiling and make even the monogamous among us sit up and take notice. We experienced that phenomenon in Massachusetts recently with the senatorial candidacy of Scott Brown, a respected attorney, legislator and astoundingly handsome guy who once posed for Cosmo. People noticed and that’s not wrong.
My novels are categorized as romantic suspense and I happily subscribe to the formula that the protagonists will ALWAYS include an attractive woman and an especially hot guy. Naturally, the hero is also brilliant, successful and fabulously wealthy, just like the men one meets every day. In speaking with readers of all ages, I find that my mostly female audience expects and appreciates male beauty. After all, reading transports us into a land where fantasy becomes reality for at least a short while. We all need a chance to dream. Reality pummels you every time you stand in line or use public transportation, and very often it’s not pretty.
To those who lament the tendency of men (and women), to celebrate physical perfection, I say this: Get over it! It’s normal to acknowledge everything a person brings to the table in both form and substance. Let’s keep that in perspective and discuss the things that really count.