“But mostly, and this is the big one, it doesn’t matter if a woman is beautiful or not.”
Actually it very much does.
“Sure, there are the studies that show an attractive man or woman will earn more from their beauty, but I’m talking about something bigger than that.”
Yes you understand that, but it goes much further. A woman who is beautiful is more likely to be hired, all other things being equal. She is also more likely to have all kinds of doors open to her in pretty much every aspect of life. Of course she is going to have the pick of a range of top quality male suitors too.
She is overall likely to have a much easier life if she uses her beauty wisely in the relatively narrow time frame before it slips away.
I hear a lot of talk about “culturally imposed ideals of beauty.” But our ideals of beauty are not “culturally imposed.” Women were using beauty treatments since humans first settled on the banks of the Nile. Of course fashions in beauty standards change over time and from place to place, but they don’t change very much. If something is almost identical all over the world for thousands of years, then it isn’t cultural. It is biological.
What we consider to be beautiful for women are all signs of health, youth and fertility; signs that she would make strong healthy babies. For men we consider signs that he is strong, resourceful and successful; signs that he would make a good protector and provider for those babies. That is why men strive to have big muscles and drive extensive cars and women buy products that promise to make them look younger and prettier.
It is why men lie about how much money they make and women lie about their age.
Mother Nature doesn’t care about political correctness or about how anyone feels about beauty standards. She does laugh heartily into her coffee when she hears someone talking about how beauty is just some kind of societal conspiracy.
Beauty standards were carved in marble in Greece three thousand years ago. If you could bring those statues to life, they would make it on to any modern day cat-walk in Paris or New York. And that goes for the male and female ones alike.