Just the other day somebody brought me a book of pictures taken by one famous photographer and on the front page was Sophia Loren. In the East she cannot be conceived of as very beautiful: she must be dieting – and dieting is nothing but the rich man’s idea of starvation.
The poor people starve by themselves. The rich people starve in a costly way under professional guidance. The fear that you will not be attractive, that you will no longer be looked at by people…You will pass through the street and nobody will look at you; who is going…?
It is a great need of man, and particularly women, to have attention – attention is nourishment. A woman suffers immensely when nobody pays attention to her. She has nothing else to attract people by; she has only her body. Man has not allowed her to have other dimensions where she can become a famous painter, a dancer or a singer, a learned professor. Man has cut all other dimensions from the woman’s life where she can be attractive and people will pay respect even while she becomes old.
I have to remind you of the meaning of “respect”: it means looking back. When somebody passes by: re-spect. It has nothing to do with honor; it has something to do with your being suddenly aware that a beautiful thing has passed.
Woman is left only the body by man, so she is so much concerned with the body that it creates clinging, possessiveness, fear that the person who loves her, if he leaves, perhaps will find another person. And without attention she starts feeling almost dead: What is the use of life if nobody is paying attention to you? She does not have an intrinsic life of her own.
Man has taught woman that her life depends on others’ opinions about her. You can see all over the world that beauty competitions are arranged only for women, and the woman does not even revolt against these ideas. Why not for men? Just as you choose a Mrs. or Miss Universe, choose a Mr. Universe. No, nobody bothers about the man’s body. He can grow fat; he can become a Winston Churchill. Still he attracts attention because he has power.
In the same book just beside Sophia Loren is Winston Churchill – ugly, as fat as you can conceive, the whole face sagging. He needs a face-lift – not Sophia Loren – but he will not bother; there is no need. He can have power, he can be the prime minister. He can be this and he can be that…
Man has managed over the centuries to have all the other dimensions of attracting people, and he has left to woman only one dimension: her body. He has made woman just a vegetable. And naturally, the vegetable starts being worried if there are no customers.
It is not a coincidence that in the most sexually perverted country, France, while being in love with a woman, you say, “I want to eat you.” Are these people cannibals? Is the woman a vegetable or what? “I want to eat you” shows a great respect for the woman! When nobody says to her, “I want to eat you,” she thinks, “I am now finished. Life has come to an end!”