• The mind of the system

    In my last two posts, I have explored the system/substance distinction.  Today, I’d like to discuss how the system can have its own logic, almost its own ideas, that can operate without anyone in the system holding those.

    The example I’ll use is the fashion industry, and the fact that white Caucasians are the standard of global beauty.  You can call this “white skin privilege” or “white is beautiful”, depending on what floats your boat.  It doesn’t change the substance of what we are discussing.

    N.B.: I want to be clear about what I am saying – I am not saying that white people are inherently more beautiful in some abstract, platonic and eternal sense.  I am saying that globally they are held up as the standard of beauty even in non-white populations.  I am not saying that this is the way it should be (I don’t think it should), or how it will always be – I am talking about how things are right now.

    For example, here we have Indian model Anushka Sharma:Anushka_Sharma_2015

    Now how many Indians have skin that pale?  Type in “Indian models” into Google images and good luck finding one who is even as dark as a southern European, let alone as dark as 90%+ of Indians.

    You can also look at Africa, were there is a roaring business in skin-whitening  creams.  Or even Asia where eye-widening surgery is common.  Look at the following anime picture, showing an idealized couple:

    imagesYS1VOYTF

    How Japanese do those two look?  I mean, really?

    Now you can either take the line of racialists like Jared Taylor that absolutely the entire world was pining for whites even before white Europeans showed up – or you can think that something else is going on here.  That attractiveness is socially shaped to some extent.

    One of the most important messages I took away from The Last Psychiatrist was that advertising isn’t so much about selling you the idea that their product will give you the good life, as about selling you on their version of what the good life is.  Ads have attractive people in them to sell more stuff, and in so doing, they shape what counts as attractive.

    Now, I repeat: I think this situation stinks.  Being given the message over and over that you’re unattractive, even when you’re not, is not pleasant at all.

    You can argue that this situation is racist, and I could agree – but, here’s the kicker: the entire system could be racist and operate in a racist manner without one single racist being involved anywhere, or even anyone particularly unpleasant being involved.

    Are advertisement companies corrupt or wicked?  No – they are just trying to make a living, and if there is a standard of attraction already abroad in the culture, they need to follow that or go bust.  Individual people in the company need to make attractive ads, or risk losing their jobs.  What about the people who absorb that message?  They are even less to blame.  Attraction is so visceral, and impossible to command.

    One reason I say that, is because I’m an exception to that rule.  I’ve always found Africans, Middle Easterners and Indians as attractive as white Europeans – and I think I can guess why.  I grew up in sub-Saharan Africa, and hit puberty surrounded by girls from those three groups.  There was also little television and advertising around where I lived.

    Conversely, I don’t find East Asian girls sexually attractive.  That isn’t to say I don’t recognize that one may be pretty, but it is an intellectual thing – disconnected from physical attraction.  It’s the same way I can recognize a man being good looking, but I feel no physical attraction as I’m straight.  I’m sure that is because I didn’t even see an east Asian girl until I was almost done with puberty.  I’ve never met an Amerindian girl, but I suspect it’d be the same thing.  This isn’t something I’ve chosen – it was chosen for me by my background.

    So you can see you have a system that does have some very unpleasant effects and operates in an unpleasant manner, and yet is not the result of any malice or wickedness on behalf of anyone.  You can also see how strong the system is, from a kind of automatic mechanism.  Many people are upset about this, but try any initiative to forcibly change the system, and you end up reinforcing it.  Why?  Well, any campaign for more non-white models simply because they are non-white would reinforce the message that whites are naturally so attractive that other groups need to be artificially boosted.

    This sucks, but I am not sure I have any answer to that, except exporting capitalism and growth to the rest of the world ASAP, so that there arises not merely a natural incentive to sell to them, but also homegrown industries.

    So here we have an example of how a system can operate almost independently of its members.  That is worth bearing in mind – if you want to change a system, you have to make it clear to the people in it that you are not attacking them.  Otherwise all you will do is piss off a lot of people and reinforce what you are trying to dismantle.

    Category: ClassLife and ReasonPhilosophyRace and racism

    Article by: The Prussian

    • ncovington89

      This is a good post. I think something similar could be said for other industries, especially some of the things that certain third wave feminists complain about (i.e. skinny models being used in ads, when in fact magazines marketed toward women use thinner models than male magazines due to the female misperception that “thinner must equal more attractive”).

    • ronmurp

      It’s nothing but cultural fashion, and the race angle is one you are imposing, perhaps because racism is a problem in its own right. Race is a side issue here.

      Looking ‘white’ isn’t enough to a real racist; so some ‘white’ looking mixed ethnicity people suffer racism from both of their ethnic groups.

      Look at all the young white girls suffering from identity issues because they compare themselves with other white celebrities.

      Look at the many young white kids that like to identify with black urban culture, copying dress and linguistic style. The difference here is if they tried to ‘blacken’ their skin they would be considered racist, primarily because of the racist humorous ‘blacking up’ that went for entertainment at one time.

      Look at the pale you white kids that would rather risk skin cancer than not look deep shade of Mediterranean. They are so enamoured by a false ideal that they look orange rather than tanned.

      If you want to see the effect of fashion, look at women in their 50’s to 70’s, and quite often you’ll see the fashions of 30-50 years earlier. Particularly with hair styles.

      And look at the cyclical nature of fashion.

      http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7b/WinehouseLA.jpg

      For me, this beehive of the last decade looked stupid, because as I reached my teens this was already laughably old fashioned. I’ve become accustomed to it, but at first? Nuts. But then I went through a phase when 1950’s rock ‘n’ roll re-emerged, sadly, looking back, more ridiculous in its reincarnation than in its original form. Look at all the women reaching 70 with long straight hair, which was their hippy trademark from the 60’s.

      Less obvious in men, who make fewer fashion statements; and when they do, well, I can’t see an old age pensioner carrying this look off:

      http://images5.fanpop.com/image/photos/27700000/David-Bowie-we-love-glam-rock-27766633-350-467.jpg

      You showed the anime picture, with “How Japanese do those two look? I mean, really?” Well, except for skin tone, how caucasian do they look? I mean, really? Look how slim they are and compare that to the culturally obese west. You think that image isn’t a threat to white anorexic kids?

      In the early 60’s and beyond black girls have been straightening their hair and wearing wigs. Then as black culture emerged the hippy white kids thought they’d look cool with an afro perm.

      Western fashions have permeated other cultures just as western music and movies have because the west has become the economically dominant region for the last few hundred years. But the tendency to ‘westernise’ was a problem for the Japanese isolationists. South Korea has consumed western culture, but because of its economic growth is in many ways surpassing the west, and developing its own cultural twist

      What it isn’t is racism, of any kind, because the impressionable of all races are just as easily hooked on whatever the current fashions are.

      It’s only a problem for the same reason that setting any ideal is problematic for young people trying to find an identity. It’s a particular problem cross-race because there’s not only clothes and make-up to copy, but hair and skin tone too. But it’s a problem for individuals. Many people absorb fashions foreign to their own culture quite well; and then discard them when they’d grown out of them, or perhaps absorb them so much they move into the culture.

      A ‘system’? Sort of, guided in the short term, but long term think of it more like evolution. Things change. In the microcosm of a few decades a single culturally iconic person, or some powerful capitalist is born, rises, falls and dies, Over a few centuries a cultural empire rises, dominates, falls. The last few centuries it has been western Europe, then the US and Europe – but that’s been no longer than some earlier empires. The west has dominated globally by pure luck of having developed the technologies that aid that dominance – not only weapons, but medicine, science, technology, communications, tools that earlier empires didn’t have.

      But we have seen the rise of the east, with Indian traditions heavily influencing the 60’s and 70’s, and the rise of economic and technological power in Japan and Korea. And despite the divisive destructive force of religion, Arab culture has begun to have a great influence, thanks to oil wealth. And when China gets its act together and starts freeing its people rather than repressing them it will be a greater influence.

      There’s a temptation to look at things from too small a time scale. Change will happen. Not soon enough for you? You want to influence that? “This sucks, but I am not sure I have any answer to that, except exporting capitalism and growth to the rest of the world ASAP, so that there arises not merely a natural incentive to sell to them, but also homegrown industries.” – OK, go for it.

      But I imagine Britons thought something similar, when the Romans came, and again with the Vikings, and then the Normans. What surprises me about Britain is that anyone here has a racist bone in their body. We’re all mongrels.

    • mark

      OT. I can’t resize the text here to fit my large screen phone. Maybe, it’s called text flow or something like that. That’s how I read these days. Am I missing something.

    • Gumpy

      Or it’s because of evolution. People darken as they age. We all know that younger people are more attractive. And light skin is a sign of youth. Not a very reliable or strong sign, so you don’t get a strong preference in a typical male. But if we’re discussing models, which are the tail of the bell curve of attractiveness, then those smaller things are going to have a larger effect.

    • Otto Greif

      Japanese women have began skin lightening around 1200 years ago. Look up Uguisu no fun.

    • Otto Greif

      Evidence from ethnographic literature for pre-Colonial indigenous African preference for lighter skinned women:

      http://www.unz.com/pfrost/skin-color-preference-in-sub-saharan/

    • Goosebumps

      Sorry to go off-topic. Are you going to post about the Obama administration’s negotiations with Iran? I would love to hear your perspective, given that the prominent anti-Islamists I know seem to be sharply divided on this.

      • ThePrussian

        At the moment – I don’t know what to think. I have little respect for the Obama administration, and I generally think that most of Western leaders behavior is motivated by abject dhimmitude.

        But – I really do not know what to do here. The problem is I know Persians who are good people, atheists, and who want nothing more than to remove the poison of Islam from their nation, to restore it to what it was before Islam ruined it. Sanctions will never hurt the regime, but only hurt those good people.

        The only realistic option for ending the nuclear ambitions of Iran is war. Again, bearing in mind my Persian comrades – can we sanction that? With all that it will cause? I don’t know.

        But on the other hand – if what we are all scared of is real, and the ambitions of the mullahs are what they say they are… then allowing them to have nukes will open the gates of hell. Don’t get me wrong – the infidel world would survive. After Iran flung its nukes at Israel, and Israel unleashed the Samson option, the infidel world would be aroused like never before and the entire Muslim world would be utterly extirpated. But what the hell kind of a world would we have left afterwards?
        So – I don’t know. I really don’t.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmToGmw2DDw

        • Goosebumps

          Right, the Persians I’ve talked to also have little to no interest in religion. But they also seemed fearful of armed uprising against the government, understandably so given how their last revolution turned out and how bloody the Arab Spring has been.

          Even if the mullahs aren’t suicidal enough to try destroying Israel, they can cause plenty of trouble with a nuclear umbrella. But have you seen the terms of the framework agreed? Apparently it increases Iran’s breakout time to a year. I really, really hope they’ve been negotiating in good faith – don’t even want to think about the alternative.

    • Nice Ekhat

      Also, bear in mind that across the world, lighter skin meant less exposure to the sun, i.e. not engaged in manual labor. Back in the day, it was like being fat: an indicator of (relative) comfort and thus a good mating prospect. You know that thing where “redneck” is an insult, and who the “redlegs” were?