Ginger or Mary Ann?

“Ginger or Mary Ann?” 

Mary Ann, Gilligan, and Ginbger © Warner Bros. Television Distribution

Any man in the USofA who is in his 40’s or 50’s has heard that question many times in his life. We do not need an explanation; we understand we are being asked which of the ladies from Gilligan’s Island we would rather be with. Ginger was “the movie star” – a red headed Marilyn Monroe knock off, while Mary Ann was a “girl next door” farm girl from Kansas. 

Would you be surprised to know Mary Ann wins in every poll I can find? The best showing I can find for Ginger is a third, with 20% and lower being more common. If men are all about beauty, why do they choose the farm girl over the glamorous sex symbol? Psychologists both professional and amateur have given all manner of answers to that. I think the primary reason was expressed by every man in a group of half a dozen of my friends when this question came up recently: Ginger is high maintenance

I am going to let you in on a secret. Most men want a peaceful life far more than they want a smoking hot sexy woman. Not all men, but the vast majority – and the number who choose a peaceful life goes up as men get older (and wiser). Beyond that, most of us have learned that women who are “smoking hot” are usually high maintenance. There are exceptions, but it does seem to be the norm. In part, this is because being smoking hot is more than just natural beauty – it requires a huge amount of effort and caring a great deal about appearance. Being “smoking hot” is a high maintenance choice for a woman, and she usually passes that on.

All of this is to show that once men get past the testosterone poisoning of puberty they tend to see more than just a woman’s body. We notice “smoking hot women” because they catch our attention, but that does not mean we want those women. Once we figure out that women are package deals, we look at thing very differently. Things like personality, sense of humour, and intelligence become far more important than looks. 

~ Paul – I’m XY and I say Mary Ann.

By The Way: My son got married this past weekend. I wrote about it in Two Became One over on the Generous Husband.

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16 Comments on “Ginger or Mary Ann?

  1. I’m sorry, but the way you phrased this blog post, does not make me feel better. So, maybe I would be categorized into the “Mary-Ann” position. You made it sound as if “Mary-Anns” aren’t beautiful at all. I mean, we can be hot too. I think it’s absolutely shameful that you should be referring to all of the “hot” women out there that are high maintenance and then implying that “Mary-Anns” aren’t “hot” at all. I’m not a fan of this post. Maybe you should re-write it or re-phrase it.

    “Mary-Ann” (and my husband thinks I’m hot)

    • Tam – My wife warned me I was in danger of not being understood on this.
      I used male thoughts and ideas without explaining them. I makes sense in my (male) head!

      Mary Ann was not lacking in beauty. Personally, I find her beauty greater than that of Ginger. However, Mary Ann was a whole, well rounded person, while Ginger was a caricature of beauty stretched over an otherwise shallow person. She spent an inordinate about of time and energy on her looks. She was not happy with her natural beauty; she wanted more. She wanted to be desired by all men based on how she looked.

      I have edited the post to say “smoking hot” rather than just hot (originally I had smoking in front of some, but not all.) “Smoking hot” is artificial; it takes a huge amount of effort and modification. Smoking hot is a twisted standard. No woman looks that way naturally. It is like the men who work out hours a day, every day – it is not natural.

      All of that aside, the point I was trying to make is that most men are interested in far more than a woman’s body. What makes my wife beautiful to me is that she is my wife and I love her. I like her body a great deal, but it is her integrity and intelligence that make her hot. I do not want my wife to look like the plastic women found on the covers of women’s magazines and the centre folds of men’s magazines, and I find that most men agree with me.

      From a very young age, girls are told how they are supposed to look, and that standard is narrow and unhealthy. Far too many young women think they have to look that way to have a chance with men, and that is not true.

      Am I helping, or just digging myself deeper?

      • Hello Paul,
        One, I apologize for not responding sooner. I’m a new mother of a seventh month old and yesterday was kind of hectic.
        Two, I should not have responded in such anger. I should have gone away, let off steam, then come back with a wise and loving response. So I apologize for that as well.

        I appreciate your response, however, I believe that you probably should have listened to your wife the first time. I understand where you are getting at, but even as I think about this, not all “Gingers” are shallow and air-brushed “hotness.” Some of those “Gingers” are spending “inordinate about(s) of time and energy on her looks” because they tried being “Mary Ann” and someone, likely a male, made them feel less than beautiful.
        Too many people out there, including every day males try to tell women they are or aren’t beautiful. How is this helpful?
        I’m currently doing a Bible study with girls ages 8-12+ to show them what God thinks of them and how He made them. I want them to grow up with that engrained in their hearts and minds, so that when a male, magazine, movie, etc tells them that they “aren’t beautiful” they will know better.
        I’m sorry, Paul. This isn’t something that guys should be doing. How do you judge the beauty of a woman? Look for the beauty that God created. Judging by outside appearances or even personality can be shallow.
        Perhaps you should spend a bit more time researching this topic.

        On another note, I’d like to leave a link for you to read.

        • Tam,

          No need to apologise on either count. Hang in there with the little one; you will get your life back… gradually.

          I did listen to my wife – she is a wise woman and ignoring her is a bad plan! I removed one sentence and changed a couple others. Apparently, I did not do enough.

          I remain unable to find words to explain something most men would have understood from my post. I find that frustrating, but this is the task I have taken on so I will continue to wrestle with it.

          I agree men do a lot of harm to women’s self-image, but women are far from innocent in this. The women’s magazines (such as those shown in the excellent article you linked to) are a big part of the problem as well. The media is happy to exploit women to make money, but they have willing accomplices in the women who earn a living promoting an impossible standard. There are sites on-line that show before and after pictures of the women shown in magazines (both those for men and those for women) – the Photoshopping is unreal.

          I applaud you for what you are doing with young girls – we need far more of that. It is especially important for fathers to tell their daughters these same things. There will always be boys and men who promote wrong standards. I am all for doing what we can to deal with that, but we will never be rid of it. The key to helping girls then is to teach them the standard is wrong so they will be able to ignore it. Not an easy task given the world we live in.

          We can also help by praising companies like Dove who have gone against the grain and refused to manufacture “perfect’ women for their ads. There are also a few clothing companies using “real women” for their ads. We need to promote and buy from such companies.

          The ultimate power is in what we buy. When we buy from companies using photoshopped women we tell them we approve of their campaign of lies. If we stop buying from them, they will either change their approach or go out of business.

          • Hey Paul,
            Thanks for your second response. I agree that there are women out there that promote that type of “woman” and we need to be the bigger people and teach them about the world’s standards versus God’s. Anyway, I appreciate what you are doing here. Keep up the good work! Blessings!

    • Actually Dawn, played by Mary Ann is hands down more beautiful than Tina/Ginger. If men are all about physical beauty, it makes sense that they prefer Dawn/Mary Ann. But beauty is certainly more than just physical appearance, Mary Ann has a great personality and is modest about her beauty which is actually more stunning than Ginger’s, who tries!! Dawn is GORGEOUS, go look at some of her pictures… she is a natural beauty. And her character, Mary Ann, is the full package. Ginger is one dimensional and boring. Also, when Mary Ann lost her memory and played the movie star role, she was actually about a hundred times more striking than Ginger and played the roll better!! Lol, Mary Ann just wins in all aspects, hands down.

    • Pay him no mind, because he knows not what he speaks; the truth of the matter is that Mary Ann was a lot hotter than Ginger, and that is why Mary Ann wins all the polls! :)

  2. I have always thought it was because the Gingers of the world are so obviously fake and the Mary Anns are real. Either type can be beautiful and sexy. The real difference is plastic versus natural ingredients.
    Rosemary recently posted…Start, Stop, ContinueMy Profile

    • Absolutely. I have always preferred the real – even in high school. I can see/feel why men are attracted to the plastic versions, but I never gave in to that. It would be interesting to have a deep talk with some men who have gone from wanting the plastic to wanting real.

  3. Well, I’m too young to even recognize the names, so I’ll skip the vote.

    And what’s that about testosterone poisoning? Come on. I’m pretty sure that stuff is fairly important. I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to say that God’s plan for growing a human includes poisoning him…
    Jay Dee – recently posted…Going to bed naked survey resultsMy Profile

    • I would say it is the sin nature perverting what God did. That, and the failure of parents – especially fathers, to properly educate their sons. The sudden flood of testosterone at puberty is both body and mind altering, and it takes time for a boy to adjust to those changes. Good input from a loving father can go a long way towards helping a teen make a faster and better adjustment. Leaving it to the medial and peers is a sure way to get a mess.

  4. I get what you did here. I see how Tam took it and I get that too. Personally, I think Mary Ann is pretty smoking hot but the point is that as women, we do not need to be intimidated by beautiful, seemingly “perfect” (albeit photoshopped) celebrities. Men want real, intelligent and passionate women who can be “smoking hot” when they want to be (especially in the bedroom!) but who are down to earth and, as you mentioned, “well-rounded”. It’s not really about the literal physical beauty but the unobtainable beauty that is valued by Hollywood that makes women high-maintenance.

    Correct me if I am wrong. :)

  5. Thanks for this article, and good points from the commenters.

    I think the main point is that inward beauty is so much more important than outward beauty. Not that women shouldn’t put effort into caring for themselves, but that care shouldn’t all be focused on appearances.

    It’s like how God sees us. Our actions can look good and moral on the outside, but God sees past all that looks right into the heart.
    Daniel Robertson recently posted…Can You Build A More Intimate Marriage With This One Simple Hack?My Profile

    • The Bible puts it this way:

      Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. [Pr 31:30 ESV]

      What does it mean if someone puts an inordinate amount of time into something which is vain? And why would any sane individual be attracted to such a person?

  6. Paul,

    As a man I totally got what you were trying to get at here. I think the point here is that Mary Anne was a representation of someone with beauty of character and Ginger was a a representation of physical beauty only, at least as best as the sitcom could convey.

    Real Men fall in love with a woman of character and integrity, they want substance not just beauty. Beauty is only partially physical.

    Sorry you got beat up so much for it, I don’t think this is something you can say without taking heat. Much like answering the “do you think I am pretty?” question. You cannot answer correctly, you are either saying it because you love her only, or you are just protecting her feelings….

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