Author: Naomi Wolf
Publisher: Vintage books
Price: Rs 405
Rating: 4 out of 5
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Summary:(from the back cover)
In the struggle for women's equality, there is one subject still shrouded in silence - women's compulsive pursuit of beauty. The myth of female beauty challenges every woman, every day of her life. The author exposes the tyranny of the beauty myth through the ages and its oppressive function today, in the home and at work, in literature and the media, in relationships between men and women, between women and women. With examples, she confronts the beauty industry and its advertising and uncovers the reasons why women are consumed by this destructive obsession
This book falls into the third wave of feminism..The female Eunuch reminded me of this one by Wolf and its been there in my folder for sometime now..The book is about beauty myth that women fall prey to, the false believes and impression that is been around the world all over the century... Wolf explores the extend of women running fast, inviting pain to attain the flawless face and imprint the airbrush touched images of the celebrities....Seriously there would be very few women who wouldn't bear pain at least for the sake of wonderful eyebrow or to get rid of those white black heads..Though there were certain instincts that pricked me for the facts she has put forth openly I would only wish if the book to sustain the tempo throughout...The chapters "culture" and "sex" appealed to me the most...According to her it all starts with the pre-conceived notion on beauty that goes with the fair skin tone , perfect waistline, fuller lips, longer legs and so on and failing to achieve leads to depression in many..Though it is important to be healthy, what happens as a result of diet plans are often unhealthy too much of wrong type of exercises without considering a person's physique, capacity leads to extortion mounting on mental agony...
This book is a result of years of research and countless interviews by Wolf..Though she is onto feminist mode, certain figures can slap you on face...In spite of all this, to me the reading went slow still it was all worth it...Woman want to change everything that nature has bestowed upon her, right from her hair color to texture to size of breast and bust, color of eye, even to the extend to go under the knife in the name of cosmetic surgery to get those perfect size of nose,chin, lips, jaw ,etc etc..Though some do end up looking better but many others end up looking just a shadow of their older selves for which we have names of celebrities to add to the list..I have always felt that people are bit harsh towards the to so called perfect image of a celebrity in a show bizz where they are always expected to look in shape no matter of their physical state be it pregnancy or any other ailment failing which, media creates a hype going far on creating a collage of their photos that has their older self with that of current state, based on which they are thrashed severely for not looking in shape while lucky men are not treated in the same light, but why is that so??.
I have many wonderful women around me who are battling their way with their self image and the image, the beauty industry is trying to commercialize...To be honest I too have my moments though off late I have learnt my to clearly distinct between beauty, health, and self image..For me beauty is not just the thing that one can see in mirror but something that carries more shades and meaning on how one feels about oneself...
Wolf covers violence , sex, culture parallel to beauty and how the problems are often interconnected to women..She accuses the advertising companies, the corporate world and media who cast a kind of image that often creates insecurity in the mind of women who don't fit into the terms the industry is trying to project... Selling their product at the expense of stakeholders who do things in vain...She explains how the concept of beauty is often misinterpreted giving a whole new wrong dimension to it...
The problem is that these images of celebrity images are unattainable for many as those image are a collective effort a group of people who are working towards the looks of this particular person, while this does not hold good for a normal girl who tries hard to to attain her so called size zero image failing which leads to a lower self esteem..
Only problem I had with this book was the opinions which were quite generalized..Not every woman feels the same way towards beauty and looks so it would have been great had she given the benefit of doubt to that creamy layer...Wolf takes are bit harsh upon certain religious projections which could spoil the mood of reading..
In spite all these problems the book does paints a clear picture on the perception of beauty and the danger it poses on women who push themselves to much to look beautiful...In spite of being a social critic she has exaggerated and generalized many beauty myth but then it could have been the case back in 20 years..But the funniest part is many women want to look like an image of a celebrity who don't look anything like the image that the magazine carry.. That being said, when and how can we really break free from all these and begin to be proud of looks, nature has blessed with!!! Well that is another topic of discussion entirely...