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Men & Women & Gender Oppression: - Essay Example

Deborah Tannen in her book, You Just Don’t Understand, agrees with Naomi that women are abused and oppressed. Deborah explains that women were previously physically punished for talking too much in the pre colonial America. Margaret Mead, another writer, discusses the role of the society in the development of the society’s behavior and personality in her work Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies. Here, she points out that biology and inheritance have little to do with the personality of both men and women. It is, therefore, true to imply that the society’s perception of the female gender and the resultant oppression of the same are mainly controlled by the cultural conditions of the society, based on the works of the three writers. The beauty myth is discriminative as it tends to be centered only on women. It illustrates how men appear dominant over women and use their influence to suppress women. However, in the Mediterranean a long time ago, men also had a share of the beauty myth. Goddesses possessed many lovers, who adorned themselves in colorful clothes and made to look attractive. Many a times, an older woman, was displayed with many youthful and attractive men. This is in contrast to the image in today’s world where older men like hanging out with many young and beautiful women. Another example is the Nigerian Wodaabes where men participate in feminine acts like wearing make ups and beauty contests (Wolf 493). Despite the progress of the female gender in attaining equality with their male counterparts, majority of women are still trapped in this beauty myth, and daily strive to attain flawless beauty demanded by the society. Naomi uses the term myth to bring out the fact that this supposed beauty is only coined by the society for certain purposes. It is not a fact, but rather a speculation with no basis. It is a myth because, however, hard women try to meet this perfection, the society and the women themselves do not seem to be content with the results and always try out even the most dangerous options like use of chemicals. Women today compete against themselves in an attempt to appear more beautiful. This only drive women further apart leaving no room for any developmental unity. The society portrays the ideal beauty of a woman as being free of wrinkles, extremely skinny women on advertisements and plus size women in pornographic films. These expectations pressurize women to indulge in behaviors that pose a danger to their health like eating disorders and cosmetic and plastic surgeries. Women who are not content with their looks prefer to modify them through implants and surgeries like breast implants. This, they desperately prefer despite the numerous publications about the dangers of such procedures like exposure to substances like silicon that may be cancerous. The society also prefers younger women, as opposed to the older faces. In advertisements, majority of faces used are those of younger models. In cases where faces of older models are used, then they are modified or photo shopped to appear younger and flawless. Women also struggle to attain the correct body size, shape and weight so that they identify with most models on advertisements and televisions. They have proven that they can go to all lengths to gain be socially acceptable as beautiful women. This aspect mostly affects teenagers and middle aged women, who have developed low self esteem and eating disorders like bulimia. They starve ...Show more
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Summary

Naomi Wolf is a renowned writer and journalist who is famous for her post feminism book, The Beauty Myth. In this book, Naomi criticizes the way women are psychologically and physically abused based on the cultural myth of beauty…
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