Hugo Schwyzer has been writing a lot about perfectionism of late, because as someone who teaches college-aged women, it’s a problem he comes across quite frequently. In his most recent post on perfectionism, he writes about the belief that he finds among some of his students that unless a woman is approaching physical “perfection,” she has no right to expect very much from the men she’s involved with:
Working with high school and college-aged young women, I’ve heard the same thing more and more often in recent years. These smart and amazing young women have somehow gotten the idea that in order to be treated with respect and love, they have to be damn near perfect. One student said to me last year, “If I were fifteen pounds thinner, I think my boyfriend would stop looking at other girls.” She didn’t feel like she had the right to ask her guy to stop checking out other women in public. “You have to be gorgeous for a man to want to be with you and only you. I’m not, so I can’t expect that.”
A mentee of mine has a boyfriend who uses porn regularly and plays video games for hours. “Sometimes he’ll just forget to call or text because he’s gaming”, she says. “I’m lucky to get a few minutes alone with him a week when we’re not doing something sexual. But this is the way boys are — unless you’re like freakin’ Megan Fox, you can’t expect a guy’s complete attention.”
Another girl told me that she doesn’t feel like she can have a boyfriend – because she’s not pretty enough. She has a lot of hook-ups instead. “I’m the girl you get with for a blowjob”, she said; “I’m not the hot girl you hold hands with in public.”
Schwyzer goes on to discuss how this self-imposed perfectionism affects intimate relationships, and how it poisons our ideas about masculinity, too. It’s not to be missed. Go read the whole thing here.