This essay is for women who believe their thighs are too big, their breasts are too small, their hair is boring, their skin is flawed, their body is shaped funny, or their clothes are outdated. This month's column is for women who believe their life would improve if they could lose 15 pounds; if they could afford contact lenses, that new perfume or anti-cellulite concoction; if they got a nose job, a face lift, a tummy tuck, etc. This month's column is for women who feel shame or unhappiness when they ponder some part (or all) of their body. In other words, this month's column is for 99.9% of the women reading it!
Why is it that so many women feel they just don't measure up when it comes to their looks? A new book entitled The Beauty Myth--How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women, provides some answers. If you are a woman who recognized herself in the above paragraph, or if you are a man who wants to understand more about the dynamics of media vs. self-worth, then run, do not walk, to the nearest bookstore or library and read this book.
The author, Naomi Wolf, has provided us with a very thoughtful and well-researched treatise on the feminine experience. It is full of studies and statistics to back up her claims, which makes her message hard to deny. The issue she is bringing to our attention needs to be addressed by both sexes, for women are not the only ones being manipulated by the media into feeling insecure and unhappy with themselves. This book will hopefully spark more discussion and research on how our culture cultivates the stereotypes of women as sex objects and men as success objects, to the detriment of all of us.
Wolf's basic thesis states that there is a relationship between female liberation and female...
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...ware of how prevalent and damaging this kind of media influence is. It is very insidious--so much so that we accept it's pronouncements without a thought. Energy that could be used to further personal and cultural goals is dissipated in feelings of self-doubt and self-hatred. How many people have gotten excited about a new project and then thought, "Who am I to do that? They'll think I'm too old, too fat, too wierd-looking..." We are often turned away from our true soul paths toward worshiping false gods instead: the perfect face, body, or the brass ring at the top of the corporate ladder. Women and men need to wake up to the fact that there are forces in our culture who's only goal is to make you feel bad about yourself--so you'll buy the "new season" of clothing, hair coloring, or membership in the health club, etc., etc., etc. Who's gonna win folks? Us or them???
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