“The Beauty Myth” and “The Look”


What is it?

How do you define it?

Is it truly definable?

When most people define beauty, they are rarely specific. When asked any of the above questions, I usually give or hear the response “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” After reading excerpts from “the Beauty Myth,” the term beholder really stands out to me. Who is this beholder? Who and what influence this beholder? If I were to examine this statement from the context of the Beauty Myth, and the idea that the term beauty is a political weapon of social control over women, I would have to place the male dominated system in which we all as human beings operate in as the beholder. The beholder in “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” sets the standard of what beauty is, and in our current society it has been transformed from a preference into a currency. Women have been programmed to believe that their worth is subject to whether or not they embody the characteristics of what society (the beholder) views as beautiful. Most women are forever in pursuit of an unattainable ideal, constantly playing into the role designed by the master creators of our cultural systems.


If I tie in beauty vs. the look in fashion, what are women trying to attain? If in the fashion world “the look” is not necessarily beautiful, and it is developed and cultivated from the hard work and collaboration of many individuals, how can anyone successfully emulate that ideal on their own. These images of beauty and “the look” that are repeatedly introduced to women and girls everywhere are grouped and presented under this idea of glamour. I personally use this term to define the characteristics of a person, as well as inanimate objects such as clothing.  I’ve never thought much about using the term glamour, or glamorous, but it’s fascinating that a term rooted in medieval alchemy, used to describe a spell, or illusion created to make something appear different and/or better than it’s true natural form, is used to describe a true state of being. All the images shown in the media are described, as glamorous and subliminal messages are sent out to women pounding at them everyday saying, “you need to be glamorous, glamorous is beautiful, if you attain this beauty you’ll be happy.” But how can you attain something that is an illusion? Many women are constantly trying to transform the illusion they’ve been presented with into reality, and this is where problems arise such as low self esteem, eating disorders, body perception disorders, and so on and so forth.


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