It is time for a lovely book review. I do admit I had taken a pretty long time to finish this lovely book by Naomi Wolf - The Beauty Myth. Considering it was first published back in 1991 which is almost last century, Naomi's viewpoints still applies to today women! I do recommend for every woman to read this book as it maps out all the message behind beauty campaigns which is highly relevant to the economy and how man literal wan woman to play in the world. Given it is a very much sensitve issue, I would adopt a mere perspective in reading the different perspective in the world that exists for woman all over the globe!
Beauty - what is beauty exactly? I really luv this topic to a point back in design school I choose to write about "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and I got some good grades. The "beauty" I use to focus about is more on form, function, how particular ration would prouce beauty and of course involving a lot of reading into old history books on how people define beauty? Naomi's book does disclose something out of my sphere but it was kinda obvious to all of us who are mere followers in beauty products, diets and to more extreme makeovers and surgical implants etc.
Over the course of history, woman are only encourage to work from the beginning of World War I, as much labour wen to fought wars. Men expect woman to go back to household duties when the war ended, but that did not happened. The "Beauty Myth" involves "strong men battle for beautiful women, beautiful women are more reproductively successful" - it is almost true when you watch documentaries about animal mating. So how did they define beauty exactly? The qualities of beauty are a mere symbols of female behaviour that the period consider desirable. The norms that still exists today includes, virgins are considered beautiful as they are innocent. Ageing are considered non-beauty.
Naomi does intepret her ideas across different sections in the book, from work, culture, religion, sex, hunger and violence. In work, females are still very much paid less than males even thought females does work twice as hard - considering they also are responsible for household duties like traditional women do. I would like to share a little story on my latest encounter for job hunting. I went to an agent and I felt like I got a psychological analysis before this professional told me that I do not fit the client's criteria!!! During the 45mins, which I would say is too long for an agency interview, plus any professional could tell within 5 mins reding the CV if the candidate is relevant. So this particular session is not how it ended and I feel I got played like a data gathering session. Supposedly, age, ethnic and sex should not be critical to the review but this somehow is ingested in the normal interview interrogation. Well I mean is not too hard to calculate base on your CV or a look on your identity card. These kind of discrimination does exists in today's world - and to be honest it took me a few days to get over the rejection and dispointment. There were some self doubt involve, am I not beautiful enough, am I not young enough and am I not qualify enough - but all these really does not have anything to do with the individual! If you share the same experience, feel free to let me know!
Cultural sterotypes - feminity with beauty does not involve any intelligence! Smart and beauty cannot coexist. Religion - cults in fear of age, fear of fat and fear of sun. Fear of sun, well as supported by scientist the sun is harmful so we are more dedicated to wear sunscreen. Ageing - should we really be afraid of aging? I do see something I did not see yesterday appearing on my face and I did reacted in a flattered way and try to research what are the remedies. On the otherhand, ageing does imply we are are growing smarter by age, we are more matured and we are no longer the innocent fair person on day one. With today's environmental damage, I am sure our generation ages more quickly then the last generation. I still recall my grandmother had absolutely great skin at her 90's.
Sex sells with the hunger for pornography this also contributes to the "beauty" this society's definition. Hunger, a lot of females abandon eating because they feel they are fat. They do this to keep their jobs, status, love etc. Society does reward beauty on the outside and not on the inside. It is like "foot-binding" in traditional China, not that is affecting daily movements, it seems to have an effect on the sex as well. If you do not follow, you will be an outcast.
So what does all this have to do with us today? After the insights from this book, we should be more alert whenever we are at the beauty counter and the sales is looking at you directly in the eye, telling you - your skin are suffering at your age - and you should buy the whole skincare line - we should really tell ourselves to step back and see what really we need. We may just need a moisturiser to calm the dryness and not the ageing skincare. This is also why I prefer to buy online sometimes. By the time, I spend the time to a beauty counter, I am sure I know which product I want to buy and I do get into traps of buying the whole product line just because the sales said a few things about my skin.......sorry but I guess I felt the emptiness.
The book does further dwells into how women inflict pain and violence in order to maintain or attain beauty - ie surgical procedures etc etc. I guess it would be an entire personal choice what we would do to attain perfection. At this point in time I am happy to afford money to maintain and slowdown aging - er but not pain - unless wearing braces back in high school would also be one of them!!!!
I here share with you how this book boosted my Feminine Quotient and let us not be shun down by those norms set by our society. As I always try to stress, I am an outlier and like to be free - well as much as I try to be. Just be happy and healthy, beauty would come with a pure balanced mind and diet!