September 23, 2013

Body dysmorphia and cocooning

It's something I've covered here and there before, but as occasionally happens, I wrote an entire blog post in someone else's comment section. Here is the post, about some nude model with already large breasts who's gotten them enlarged several times nevertheless. Not too different from the "sweater girl" phenomenon of the mid-century, exaggerating their chest size with bullet bras in order to prop up their sense of self-worth.

When people cocoon, they lack the feedback from others that tells them where they rank -- pretty, average, ugly, etc. So they take up solitary pursuits like breast augmentation to convince themselves that they're worthy -- y'know, rather than putting themselves out there for the boys and seeing how many date offers they get.

Add body dysmorphia to the list cocooning's web of dysfunction.


  1. I always felt that middle school is when and where we begin to learn who is attractive or what the opposite sex likes. It's only a small percentage who are homeschooled with the vast majority going to public schools. And not just about attraction, but what makes one popular or not in with everyone.

    In middle school, a girl may not completely understand why one girl is more popular than another, but she's at least learned that the world is no longer so simple when it comes to those matters.

    I can't imagine unlearning those public, middle-school lessons. And they seem impossible to avoid learning!

    I think it's more likely that people are more exploitative and less loving toward others, not that they don't know their value.

    So what of those middle school lessons, do you believe they can be forgotten?

  2. Off-topic, but Razib just flagged an article by Christopher Beckwith that sounds up your alley.

    One point of disagreement is that he scoffs at the notion "Human Accomplishment" gave an equal shake to other cultures, but he's still largely focused on nomads/mountainfolk.

  3. Don't forget, that those who are socially isolated are more likely to be scammed as well.

    Many of the bodybuilder fanatics are being scammed - they really think its necessary to be attractivve I'd expect the same applies to women getting boob jobs.

    Also notice high-profile celebrities who got really bad plastic surgery during past 20 years(Micheal Jackson, Mickey Rourke, Carrot Top, etc.)

    It only takes one snake whispering in your ear to set off a full self-destruction. "You're gonna have to get the boob job if you wanna make it in this business.."

  4. Also, when cocooners do manage to interact, they are haughty and dismissive, which creates paranoia and OCD. "Why didn't he make contact? I must be putting on weight again.."


  5. "Don't forget, that those who are socially isolated are more likely to be scammed as well."

    Silent Gen Jew shares her story of falling in love with "Westernized" member of the Afghan elite in the late 1950s, only to be confined to a harem hell-hole upon arrival in Kabul:

  6. In my comment above,I was thinking of both her relative attraction versus others (her age plus or minus a couple years) and absolute.
    Absolute attraction? If a girl or woman is pretty at all and meets a minimum weight threshold, just one day's errands about town will inform her. In other words, it's impossible for her not to know.
    Every one of these non-ugly girls who severely accentuated her chest, that I've ever known, did already get attention, they just wanted more.
    One girl I knew had guys checking her out all the time. One day she goes to a water park and puts on some miracle bra type bikini top on her already massive chest. My cousin said some guy walked by, stopped, looked straight at her breasts, and yelled out, "Da**!"
    You see, that was what she had been missing out of life, LOLOLOL!

  7. "Also notice high-profile celebrities who got really bad plastic surgery during past 20 years"

    Yeah, I should've framed it as cosmetic surgery generally.

    Speaking of boob jobs, I wonder if the dirty magazines of the '60s, '70s, or '80s had lots of ads about a Weird New Trick to Grow 4 Inches Bigger In Just 4 Weeks.

    I don't think guys in porn were required to have tree-trunk junk or steroid bodies back then either. Some probably did, but most were just some normal-looking dude. The ones today are stand-ins for guys whose lack of experience leads them to expect that if only they could grow their dick 4 more inches, they'd be bedding whoever they wanted.

    Like, when guys were having more sex, and with more partners, they didn't have to speculate about how important a giant schlong was for getting a girl into bed -- evidently not very, if everybody was getting some.

    My sense is that girls back then did use to talk more openly about a guy's dick size among themselves. But somewhat like how guys would discuss a girl's breast size, if it were hard to tell from the clothing she wore. More one of those surprise / icing on the cake things.

    "Tell me everything, she goes. I want details. Length, width, position and duration."

    Story of My Life (1988)

    Nowadays, not only is the typical young dude not getting much / any himself, neither are most of the other guys in his social network, whose experiences could still teach him about what girls wanted.

    Guys today are so insecure that they'd probably wear a 12-inch strap-on to a first date, afraid that nothing less would do it for a girl.

  8. "I always felt that middle school is when and where we begin to learn who is attractive or what the opposite sex likes. It's only a small percentage who are homeschooled with the vast majority going to public schools."

    Well, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. Kids don't interact at all in school these days -- not even at college, where there's no parental supervision, no hall monitors, no detention, etc.

    When they do congregate, they're all closed off in their separate worlds. Drop by any campus dining hall, campus library, or student union (assuming anyone's there at all these days -- only during meal hours). It's so painful to watch.

    So the little feedback that they do receive is all at-a-distance, like how many sets of eyeballs turn your way when you strut around the cafeteria or the hallways. Or how many guys are periodically checking you out in the classroom.

    But that's not a very powerful signal about your overall desirability. You need to be smiled at, approached, talked to, asked out, taken out, danced with, and so on, in order to feel like those boys really have a thing for you.

    Also, stares and gazes are generally not very public. Only the starer and the stared-at are aware, unless the guy is being *real* obvious. So the girl has no way to compare herself to the other girls. She has no idea how many stares they're getting.

    Seeing boys walk up to the other girl, talk to her, smile at her, ask her out, go steady, etc. -- that's hard to miss. It gives her a clearer sense of where she stands.

    And on the flip-side, it gives her greater validation when she's the one who's approached, talked to, taken out, etc. -- all the other girls and guys will notice her being the focus of the guy's attention. Whereas, who else is gonna know how many bored boys checked her out in math class?

    The really good-looking people these days probably have a clear sense of their attractiveness, but they're still insecure about their looks, suggesting they're not *that* certain. And then there's all the other traits that they're totally clueless about, that go toward her overall desirability.

    Like do boys generally think she's fun to be around, a wet blanket, warm, sassy, etc.? They really show insecurities about their personality.

  9. You know more about how a girl can feel about herself relative to others her age, so I take your word and it makes sense.

  10. Hey agnostic,

    You've written about things like "Why some cultures have more touching, gesturing, eye contact, and closer space."

    So, why do some cultures have so much more curiosity than others?

    Does being curious keep you from being shallow, glib, dismissive?

  11. You know, it's also impossible to have a real conversation with some people. It's hard to get into an easy back and forth groove. They just drone on and on or make glib dismissive statements which bring the conversation to a stop. So that you go into spectator mode.

  12. Re: collegiate gothic. I lived in an ugly expensive Bauhaus style dorm built in the 1950s.

  13. An NSFW warning would have been nice.

  14. There's also Christina Hendricks of Mad Men.


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