The Beauty Myth

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By: Kelly Winch

The Beauty Myth, published by Doubleday in New York City, hit the shelves in 1992. Naomi Wolf wrote this 348-page book. Wolf attended Yale University and New College, Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. Her essays have been printed in many well-known magazines and newspapers, including Esquire and the New York Times. The Beauty Myth was Wolf's first book. She has also written two other books, Fire With Fire and Promiscuities. Wolf is a recognized feminist. She has done a lot of writing and has spoken to many audiences about issues involving feminism. In The Beauty Myth, Wolf's basic thesis states that there is a connection between female liberation and female beauty. She writes: The more legal and material hindrances women have broken through, the more strictly and heavily and cruelly images of female beauty have come to weigh upon us….During the past decade, women breached the power structure; meanwhile, eating disorders rose exponentially and cosmetic surgery became the fastest-growing medical specialty….Recent research consistently shows that inside the majority of the…attractive, successful working women, there is a …dark vein of self-hatred, physical obsessions, terror of aging, and dread of lost control. (Wolf 10) Wolf's research shows that there is an attack against feminism that uses images of female beauty to keep women "in their place". Women today are more powerful than ever before, yet they are more self-conscience as well. The media has created a standard of beauty that is impossible to attain and women are developing obsessive behaviors trying to measure up to that standard. We are constantly surrounded by images of the "perfect" woman. She is tall, thin and beautiful. She rarely looks older than 25, has a flawless body, and her hair and clothes are always perfect. She is not human. She is often shown in pieces – a stomach, a pair of legs, a beautifully made up eye or mouth. Our culture judges women, and women...
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