Body Modification for Cultural Adaptation?

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How should I look like to have the ideal body? An increasing number of women ask themselves this question many times in their lives. Deborah Sullivan’s essay, “Social Bodies: Tightening the Bonds of Beauty”, discloses the different cultural traditions that require various methods of body modifications. Women should undergo such modifications to obtain social acceptance. Similarly, “Pressures to Conform” by Celia Milne discusses the effects of media and society on women, and how women view their physical appearance. The media gives women a plethora of choices for the perfect body and even provides ways on how to achieve them. There is no escaping. There is no excuse of not getting the ideal body that ranges from that of a stick-thin ramp model’s to the buff and chiseled outline of a body builder’s. Still, the struggle doesn’t end here. Women also desire smooth, wrinkle-free skin, hairless faces, and ample busts. “Stencil” women are celebrities, models, actresses - women whose coveted looks are seen through discriminating TV screens, posters, and magazines. The steady demand for these forms of media is mainly due to women who are looking for body images to pattern from. These women are on the constant lookout in updating their appearance and considering the bulk of information that the media presents to them, the media is a source of considerable amount of physical and psychological stress. In their fight for their roles in society, women undergo various body modifications to suit the taste of the present-day culture. I agree with Sullivan’s notion that women’s identities as “desirable women depend on the submission of their physical bodies to the dictates of social norms” (542). At different stages in time in the Western world,... ... middle of paper ... ...m, while others get hooked once they get something “done”. Both cases present physical and psychological diseases that are brought by culture to women. The various and changing body images presented by media perplexes women. As the changes happen, women should keep up or risk missing out. This obsession gives a negative effect to both ends of the spectrum. Women who could not cope get depressed while those who could cope fear of not being able to cope enough. The race to social norms’ acceptance follows a feedback loop that reinforces its inputs and thus gives an even worse output. This is the dilemma faced by women since the beginning of time. As long as people submit to media’s demands and trust social norms’ stipulations, this cycle of cultural dominion will never end. Works Cited Reinking, et al. Strategies for Successful Writing. Pearson:Toronto. 2007.

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