The Beauty “Look” Myth

What do women feel? How does everyone feel about the Fashion and Modeling Industries?

           In “The Beauty Myth Naomi Wolf discusses much of what the Beauty Myth is, how it started, and how it has evolved. The main point that caught my attention was that of how women view themselves. How they treat themselves, how others treat them, and how are they each affected by each other and circumstances around them. There is the pornography industry, the fashion industry, the modeling industry, and the advertising industry all on the backs of woman and how they “look”. Even if a woman loves the way she looks it’s guaranteed that at some point she was affected by one of these industries. Even if it was just a mental thought, or envy, or disgust, everyone is affected in different manners from these industries around us.

In Chapter one “Entry” the author describes what having “The Look” means and the likely hood of one’s career being short and not as glamorous as expected. People in the Fashion and Modeling industry know of the unglamorous side because they create the look of what others believe to be glamorous. People on the outside who have no personal affiliation with the industries see these models and high-end clothing ads as something almost mystical at times. Of course there are those people who also either have no care for these industries or just choose to ignore them.  The author stated, “A look is not the same thing as a quality commonly called “beauty”. This sentence caught my eye because back home I have a few friends who simply view these industries as vain and shallow yet I always hear them criticizing the way models look on ads, commercials, and magazines. They say statements such as “Oh she’s not even pretty! Hmmm she looks like she’s in desperate need of a hamburger. Wow why is she a model? I could do that and without all that heavy makeup.” In my defense, I’m always trying to stand up for that model that they are putting down because she does not have to be pretty, no one has to be pretty, it what is being sold and if she sold it to you. So in many ways yes the industry is vain but that does not mean that people outside it are any less vain or cruel.

Back to “The Beauty Myth” I wanted talk about something else Wolf said. She stated, “Recent research consistently shows that inside the majority of the West’s controlled, attractive, successful working woman, there is a secret “underlife” poisoning our freedom; infused with notions of beauty, it is a dark vein of self-hatred, physical obsessions, terror of aging, and dread of lost control.” These industries have become so powerful that woman loose themselves in the worry of how they look and the impressions they give off. But I’m curious of what is the biggest issue of all that affect most women. Is it the dreadful weight question? It is Envy of others? Is it something physical that can be changed and if they had the chance to change it without danger, would they? Or would they accept themselves and live as they are.




One response to “The Beauty “Look” Myth

  1. If I had to use one word that sums up this idea of a secret “underlife” that is poisoning our freedom (both man and woman) it would have to be VANITY. When you look up the definition of the word vanity you get two very interesting meanings; the first definition states, vanity is having excessive pride in ones appearance, ability, and qualities (excessive as in obsessed over, and solely focused on). The second definition claims vanity is a lack of real value, hollowness, and worthlessness. To be proud is to have high self-worth and self-esteem, how do have high self-worth, yet feel worthless? This is really a very interesting paradox. Both of those definitions represent the constant struggle or secret “underlife” that many people are dealing with. They place so much physical and mental effort into their appearance, their ability to be and attain beauty, and their physical qualities, yet they feel worthless and empty. They are in a constant state of emotional push and pull, that transcends just their mental state, but it influences their behaviors. Industries capitalize on these two warring emotions, by offering products and services that speaks to the need to enhance one emotion, while masking the other. People tend to make purchasing decisions based on these conflicting emotions of “ I’m great I deserve this, or I need this to be great.”

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