The Beauty Myth



“Men are exposed to male fashion models but do not see them as role models. Why do women react so strongly to nothing, really—images, scraps of paper? Is their identity so weak? Why do they feel they must treat “models”—mannequins—as if they were “models”—paradigms?”
The Beauty Myth (Naomi Wolf)

Rereading this again after 11 years (when I first read parts of it for a dissertation) and feeling renewed and strong and completely unapologetic about the fact that my eyebrows have all grown out of shape, I’m decidedly too-many-pounds overweight and I own makeup only because I like to look at shiny packaging.

So why do we (women) place so, SO much emphasis, time, effort, resources, energy, thought on beauty? Heck, I’ve even got a whole blog about this. There are some people who say that talking about this puts the power back into women’s hands, especially now that we have such unfettered, free spaces to talk about beauty on our terms, how we wish to define it. But there are also others who say that the fact we’re still talking about beauty and bodies is itself a problem: it is still an issue, when really, we’d all like to just not be one.

What do you think?

PS read the book if you haven’t already. Naomi Wolf’s voice is one that needs to be read, just for its sheer will and strength and force.

#90daysofmindfulness Day 8

2 thoughts on “The Beauty Myth

  1. I think the need to stand out by “being beautifuful” is primal – a way to attract the strongest mate. It’s what birds do. They present themselves in the best way possible to attract a sexual partner. Our problem is who determines beauty? Normally this is cultural but with media intervention we are given an advertising agency’s version. I wear makeup from a sense of pride as I like to put my best foot forward and my best face to the world as I still tidy my home before visitors. But I don’t angst that my face or home don’t match expectations of others. And that’s the point really. It’s ok to use make up, to wear a pretty dress, to slim down, but do it for yourself and accept yourself as ok whatever the results. Self criticsm and judgement cause the real problems in life and are the enemies of happiness.

  2. Sadly, most Editors-in-Chief of the top fashion mags are also women. As much as we like to blame the men, we as a community of females, need to be accountable for what we “spew” at each other, and at ourselves.
    I have not read the book. I can only share from personal experience.
    Women, are “trained” from young to compete with one another in terms of physical attractiveness. Like Anne Jones shared above, it is how we “market” ourselves in order to “ensnare” a mate. We always commend a woman on how she looks or dresses first before we even notice that she has a brain or skills.
    Until women themselves take responsibility in shifting their mind set, we will continue to be manipulated by media into thinking we are never going to be beautiful enough. We will continue to believe that we are not enough as we are.

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