You know what is hard? Finding a GOOD article on Beauty, that doesn’t tell us how to lose weight, fight early signs of aging, or how to pick up guys. While reading about the latest anti-aging wrinkle fighting creams is very tempting for my newly “late -twenties” self, that is not what I wanted to talk about – because beauty is more than just our outward appearance, right? While searching and searching for something that I thought would be beneficial to discuss, I remembered a course I took in college (many many years ago…) about gender and I remembered a book we had to read, called “The Beauty Myth” By Naomi Wolf. I highly suggest reading this exceptionally informative book.
This book explains in detail and with amazing examples, how images of Beauty are used against women. I would write a brief review, but this states it to a T…
“In a country where the average woman is 5-foot-4 and weighs 140 pounds, movies, advertisements, and MTV saturate our lives with unrealistic images of beauty. The tall, nearly emaciated mannequins that push the latest miracle cosmetic make even the most confident woman question her appearance. Feminist Naomi Wolf argues that women’s insecurities are heightened by these images, then exploited by the diet, cosmetic, and plastic surgery industries. Every day new products are introduced to “correct” inherently female “flaws,” drawing women into an obsessive and hopeless cycle built around the attempt to reach an impossible standard of beauty. Wolf rejects the standard and embraces the naturally distinct beauty of all women”
Now, while I am in no way a feminist, as Naomi is, I feel that her book does bring up some troubling issues that women deal with – similar to in “The Beauty Equation”, it gives women the confidence that you do not HAVE to be 5 million feet tall and 80 pounds to be beautiful! The author shows that beauty is a sort of a weapon used to make women feel inadequate and feel as though they can not live up to the ideal that has been created. However, she also agrees that beauty plays a huge role in Women’s lives BUT she defines the problem as when beauty is defined as thinness, youthfulness etc taken to extremes that are unattainable.
This book goes into detail about how her “Beauty Myth” affects different aspects of life, which reminded me of this video that was circulating around facebook a few months ago, It is called “How to trick people in to thinking you are good looking” WHAT! Doesn’t that sound crazy??! Anyway, this video is of a girl getting ready for work- This video, while it is actually this girl getting ready to go work as a dancer, is also a satire on what society thinks is attractive…to me, I think shes totally cute, because she has HUMOR and spontinaity (OHHH Beauty equation chapters! Look at that!) Anyway, she starts the video with no makeup and and mocks herself for bleaching her hair, tanning, putting on excessive amounts of makeup etc, but she says she has to do all of this so people will be tricked in to thinking she is good looking. I think this is a great example of what “The Beauty Myth” was saying. Women try so hard to achieve these standards that they feel are set for them, I am a victim of this too – the “no makeup challenge” in the Beauty Equation was SO hard for me! As I was sitting there taking my pictures fresh faced, I was like – am I SERIOUSLY going to post this for the entire world. Then I remembered the day of the photo shoot for “The Beauty Equation” – we were told to come in with nothing on our faces…i get there, I feel so ugly, and within minutes, Nigel Barker is sitting next to me talking to me, and all that is running through my mind is “OH MY GOSH I have no makeup on, I am going to be sent home from this shoot because I look like a hideous beast!” Now, of course that didn’t happen and I’m sure I wasn’t as bad as I thought, but it is so funny how uncomfortable we get without our “faces on”.
I encourage everyone to do the no makeup challenges – post your photos – and spend a day makeup free! It is liberating! I find myself more and more comfortable going out without makeup and not worrying about my looks!