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Response to Naomi Wolf

Essay by   •  August 24, 2010  •  Essay  •  1,392 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,977 Views

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What modern society dictates women should look like has had a great impact on commonplace women and how they feel they should look and act. I have no doubt a huge problem exists in society as a result of this. I think it has resulted in women being put to the side in terms of advancement. It also evokes a sense of low self-esteem. Little girls everywhere are brought up in front of an image they can never achieve. A truly ideal woman is one who has the confidence in herself to know that she is beyond that image. The key word there is confidence. Unfortunately, the magazine cover industry breaks confidence with its portrayals of thin, tall women. The ideal magazine cover woman is an unattainable fallacy. However, there is no guilty party to be blamed for this fact. Faulting the companies putting that image to use is unjust.

The idea that women are subjected to an unfair amount of pressure as a result of the fashion world and other media outlets is hardly new, but Naomi Wolf takes this claim to a new and absurd level. Her essay is as unorganized as it is impractical. Her ideas are presented in a smorgasbord of flawed logic. Particularly disturbing is what she calls the "beauty myth." What I disagree with is the word myth. According to Wolf, women in magazines and advertisements have approximately 20% less body mass than that of the average woman, creating an unattainable standard. This fact in no way supports her claim of a "beauty myth." The existence of a myth suggests something to be untrue in nature. Magazine companies and advertisement agencies are not in the business of showing an average woman. They are in the business of selling a product. Of course they are going to use beautiful people. These companies completely regard the fact that most women do not in fact look like this, but they know that their product would be less appealing if they displayed average or unattractive women. Therefore, they do not deserve scrutiny over the fact that they do not present a typical woman. They in fact do the same for men. Wolf says, "The beauty myth is not about women at all. It is about men's institutions and institutional power" (page 485, first new paragraph). How does one begin to say how warped this impression is? Advertising companies also use beautiful and built men. If men were indeed in a position of power to put forth a standard for an attractive woman, then they would undoubtedly put forth a disturbing and unattractive male image on their advertisements. I cannot recall an advertisement containing beautiful women and laying claim that all women look as gorgeous as the ones in their pictures. Therefore, how does the word "myth" come into play? Naomi Wolf doesn't sell this, and by a writer's standards she has failed her task of presenting a convincing argument.

Naomi Wolf has an undying affection to play the blame game. She concentrates on a great deal of negative aspects put to women, but never offers a constructive and clear solution. Therefore, only a small amount of esteem can be attributed to her. I can imagine how easy it is to display a problem in society, especially one so many people will easily agree with. The problem is Wolf's lack of a solution to which she can claim credit for, thereby rising above the so-called unmerited situation. People who can do so are truly the ones who deserve admiration, but she does no such thing and therefore deserves no such admiration. I sympathize with her frustration, but I condemn her argument. Similarly disturbing is her fervor for coming off as intelligent. No matter how many large vocabulary words she uses from her seemingly gargantuan thesaurus, she never sounds credible. She uses this vocabulary scheme to mask her faulty hypothesis. Her passion for her cause is commendable. What disturbs me the most is that women will read this essay and become enraged, but for the wrong reasons and directed at the wrong source. Wolf claims that there is a beauty myth. If there is, then who is beautiful? Who defines the standards by which beauty is measured? Wolf surely does not. Beauty exists. Wolf must come to terms with that idea. She claims the industry defines these standards, but if that is in fact true, where did they get the idea to portray it in such a manner? Apparently, someone in the business must have stumbled upon an epiphany one day to make the standard for beauty. The fact of the matter is that certain women have always been considered



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