The Beauty Myth

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The Beauty Myth

Modern times have revealed a more tolerant attitude expressed by society towards those who in the past have been seen as lower class. This included people of other races, of mental disability, those in poverty, diseased, the elderly, children, and women. However, underneath this false sense of tolerance and the “standard belief” that women and men are created equal is the beauty myth. The Beauty Myth is everywhere in media and the social order. Women’s rights and equality is controlled through false standards of beauty by society. “It is a violent backlash against feminism that uses images of female beauty as a political weapon against women’s advancement: the beauty myth”.

The book written by Naomi Wolf entitled the Beauty Myth is divided into chapters. These chapters are centered on how the Beauty Myth is a factor is several aspects of women’s lives. The Beauty Myth affects women through work, culture, religion, sex, hunger, and violence. It changes a female’s perspective on how we are seen and how we see ourselves, easily contorting beauty to contort our thought.

To closely examine modern women in the working world, we look at their importance to men. Beauty is evaluated as wealth, and women’s “beauty” has become a form of currency in circulation among men. A woman looks like a millions dollars, she’s a first-class beauty, her face is her fortune. Once the women’s movement had made progression into the labor market, the work force swelled. The percentage of women with jobs in the United States rose from 31.8% after WWII to 53.4% in 1984. Women entering the work force allowed their “qualifications” to be assigned financial value. Women work twice as hard as men. The beauty backlash developed because of fear. For the power structure that has always been in place insofar to continue as such, women must be restrained. This is true, centuries back and all over the world. In modern tribal societies working unceasingly during the daylight hours women regularly produce as much as eighty percent of the tribe’s total food intake, on a daily basis… male members were and are doing only one-fifth of the work necessary for the group to survive, while the other four-fifths is carried out entirely by women.” In seventeenth-century England the Duchess of Newcastle wrote that women “labour like beasts” During nineteenth-century exploitation of the factory system, “women were universally worked harder and paid less than men”. Women never stop trying through adversity. As beauty and work reward and punish women, women do not expect consistency but will continue to keep trying.

Women’s culture has become defined in modern times through the beauty myth. “Ideal” image is a popular concept because it becomes obsessive, therefore relinquishing power to something other than conscious thought. Women lose their identity to who they are attempting (or struggling) to be. This is intended to have women distracted and confused, which leaves their original possession of power unthreatened. Women are easy to manipulate in this state, and become mere “beauties” in men’s culture so that the culture is kept male. Women are allowed a mind or a body but not both. To be deprived of both, and to be trained that it is right and normal to be deprived, is the kind of the thinking that evolved from this state. Women existed to become arm candy, to be the most beautiful, to fulfill their goal. The magazines that women read subject them to blatant definition of who they should be. It answers any possible questions they may have, easy to read instructions and diagrams, “real-life examples” and the easiest and best way to get through life on earth as a female.

Again, the magazines transmit the beauty myth as the gospel of a new religion. It is the Bible in every form, in every conscious and unconscious need we think we have and what instead we are told to have. The Rites of Beauty become the Sacraments, and a top model becomes...
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