December 26, 2010, 3:49 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Another bah-humbug thought that won’t ever win me any popularity contests is that the existence and continued production/popularity of “jewelry”, which just offends my intelligence. Imagine: vast amounts of capital is utterly wasted digging up/honing little rocks, and shaping melted metals, to put on women’s, like, fingers and ears. These things by definition and construction serve no actual purpose whatsoever, and cost vast amounts of money at least when compared to their size and usefulness. Yet women – in what, as far as I’m concerned is the most challenging and serious paradox for anyone who believes in the equality of the sexes – actually demand these completely-useless things. All the time, and throughout their lives.

The standard explanation is that they believe (or at least act as if they believe) that “jewelry” – i.e., shiny rocks – can make them more beautiful. Which is to say, I guess, that an ugly woman with jewelry on can be no longer ugly, or that a beautiful woman with jewelry on somehow gets beautifuler. Now, as far as I can tell this is not a conclusion that has been drawn by actually asking men what they thought. It seems to have been decided amongst women themselves. But men do pretend to believe it too (indeed some may do so in the comments) – usually because they have to, or think they have to, in order to get women.

No one has an interest in admitting the truth (which is that jewelry is essentially a signalling/superiority strategy directed at other women – “look at what I got this dumb-ass man to waste his money on, just by me being me; it’s shiny so you can’t avoid looking at it; now I am superior to you”). Women of course will never admit that this is why they want to have jewelry even though there is no other rational reason for it (and even they can’t be so dumb as to believe that the difference between them being beautiful and not, them getting a man and not, is having some shiny rocks on their bodies). Meanwhile, men have no interest in admitting they are so dumb (and desperate to get into her pants) that they fall for the whole thing – so they fall right into line and play-act the way the de Beers commercials teach them to. So you end up with a stable, neverending arms race of jewelry buying. The result is, of course, by definition a complete deadweight loss to society.

Women are supposed to be the kinder, more caring and sensitive sex. They support social programs up the wazoo. They care! Yet at the same time, in reality they demand that vast, vast expenditures be spent in Third World countries on gathering and making shiny objects. Without this STUPID preference on this USELESS expenditure, society would be significantly wealthier. Literally: less people would go cold, or hungry, or starve. Maybe that’s why I always appreciated this Sarah Silverman sketch so much – it basically says it all:

4 Comments so far
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Men wear jewelry too. What does that mean?

I don’t much care for the stuff myself. I hardly ever wear the few pieces of costume jewelry I own. And I never know what to do when friends give me jewelry. They don’t have my admittedly odd tastes (for example, I don’t care for gold or diamonds or anything made with hearts or saying “best friends” or any of that nauseating stuff), and I can’t tell them “this is ugly to me, I’ll never wear it.” But over the years my friends have figured out that I don’t like them to give me jewelry. I’d rather just have the money, which I will most likely spend on photography stuff or books.

Comment by Andrea Harris

I was also thinking men now have jewelery. I’ve seen some basketball players sporting it.
What I’m not clear about is whether you’re at war with anything which has a “merely” symbolic value (as opposed to “real” value, such as physical comfort, better health) or if it’s only the symbolic value of diamonds you’re at odds with. Please clarify.

“Without this STUPID preference on this USELESS expenditure, society would be significantly wealthier”

And I’m thinking somebody could make the same argument about/against Sports of all kinds. A “USELESS” expenditure, he’ll say. A “STUPID” preference, an IDIOTIC desire to watch athletic people do things with balls, all for {introduce theory for why they want to watch some team win}. I’d say it’s not about the winning per-se and he’d say it is after all a critical part of sports.. the point is that whatever I’d find wonderful about sports, he could ultimately claim it’s a “useless expenditure”. Like a million other things, it’s value is symbolic and maybe it symbolises things he doesn’t care for. There’s quite the market for seeing beautiful women on film. Another useless expenditure? Countless hundreds of million a year go towards paying for films starring beautiful women or charismatic men. How society would be enriched were that money to go elsewhere. To Ethiopia maybe.

Comment by dimensionsintaste

Guys who wear jewelry occurred to me too, but their silliness seemed so self-evident it didn’t seem to merit elaboration. (Does it?)

Something like sports – actually, literally sports – also occurred to me as a wasteful expenditure that would come up in ‘rebuttals’ to me. I briefly considered addressing this objection, then decided against it because it would get too boring.


Comment by Sonic Charmer

Think in terms of signalling models. Uselessness is a feature not a bug.

Comment by aretae

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