Happy Friday Y’all!
Last week I introduced Naomi Wolfe’s novel, The Beauty Myth, and focused on her chapter “ Sexuality”. There were two main points in this chapter, which I found both enlightening, and a little frightening. Her first point, which I discussed last week, focused on advertisement’s detrimental impact on women’s sexuality. Images of thin beautiful models in sexual poses with euphoric facial expressions implicitly state that sexuality and beauty are interlocked. So if you don’t look like that woman in the advertisement, which none of us do, you’re not getting it tonight. This obviously negatively affects a woman’s ability to enjoy sex because she will always possess this creeping suspicion that she doesn’t deserve to.
Clearly this is a problem, and Wolfe argues that this intrinsic suspicion affects the development of romantic relationships. I want to include the following two passages from the chapter “Sexuality” because they truly encapsulate the detrimental effects behind mass media advertising:
“Men who read it [beauty pornography] don’t do so because they want women who look like that. The attraction of what they are holding is that it is not a woman, but a two-dimensional woman-shaped blank. The appeal of the material is not the fantasy that the model will come to life; it is precisely that she will not, ever. Her coming to life would ruin the vision. It is not about life.
“Ideal beauty is ideal because it does not exist; The action lies in the gap between desire and gratification. Women are not perfect beauties without distance. That space, in a consumer culture, is a lucrative one. The beauty myth moves for men as a mirage, its power lies in its ever-receding nature. When the gap is closed, the lover embraces only his own disillusion.”
Unfortunately, Miss Wolfe only employs heterosexual relationships as an example, which leaves out the possible effects advertising may possess on relationships between the same-sex.”. Ideal beauty doesn’t exist, yet men and women are forced to believe that it does because these types of images pervade literally every facet of main media. Furthermore, the prevalence of sexual violence in ads create a false sexual fantasy that keeps women subordinated and normalizes acts of violence.
Wolfe states that men will constantly be searching for a two-dimensional object that does not exist. Therefore, heterosexual relationships greatly suffer from the sexual violence and unrealistic images in advertisements. Both sexes are estranged from each other, thus impeding their capability to experience sexual fulfillment, joy, and acceptance with one another.
I just found this fascinating clip of the amount of airbrushing that goes into creating the “ideal” woman. It completely exemplifies the fact that ideal beauty DOES NOT EXIST. Anyway, I would really love to your hear your thoughts on Miss Wolfe’s discovery, have you ever experienced this type of disconnect or do you completely disagree? Let me know what you’re thinking and hope y’all have a great weekend!