Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women, The

Naomi Wolf
The bestselling classic that redefined our view od the relationship between beauty and female identity. In today's world, women have more power, legal recognition, and professional success than ever before. Alongside the evident progress of the women's movement, however, writer and journalist Naomi Wolf is troubled by a different kind of social control, which, she argues, may prove just as restrictive as the traditional image of homemaker and wife. It's the beauty myth, an obsession with physical perfection that traps the modern woman in an endless spiral of hope, self-consciousness, and self-hatred as she tries to fulfill society's impossible definition of "the flawless beauty."


Reviewed: 2019-12-27
Overall I like this book and found it thought provoking. The standard of beauty promoted in the west is invariably young, dangerously thin and pretty much unattainable by all but a very few. The images of what is judged to be beautiful are pervasive and these can be damaging. These images also tend to create adversarial roles for women and put a wall between the generations. Calling women ugly or mannish is used in pretty much any instance where women are trying to get equal treatment outside the domestic sphere. The concept of beauty or lack of it is used frequently as a weapon against women's progress. The author did a very good job of laying out those ideas.

Where the author loses me is the conspiratorial tone she takes for the beauty myth. Cosmetics companies aren't just reacting to market pressures to sell by using more and more sexualized images, they're part of a plan to keep women oppressed.
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