How Beauty Standards Have Changed Women's Identity

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Our understanding of how beauty standards have shaped women 's identity have changed dramatically over the past sixty five years. Once used as a way to pamper ones self, it was later used as a way for society to control the actions of women and the way they portray themselves. I believe that this is a bi-product of the patriarchy. Black agrees that the control of women 's bodies by men is dangerous when she warns “The complicity of the woman in her femininity is inevitable, since she has inescapably grown up in a society based on a gendered hierarchy. She has acquired a gendered habits which guides her speech, her taste, her way of understanding and relating to the world, and her very sense of being” (Black 69). In other words, the actions …show more content…
She speculates "To have a body felt to be 'feminine ' - a body socially constructed through the appropriate practices - is in most cases crucial to a woman 's sense of herself as female and, since persons currently can only be as male and female, to her sense of herself as an existing individual. (Bartky, 1990, p. 105) (50-51) When asked if she t makeup makes a person appear more feminine, Jessica answered that she chooses to wear makeup as a way to feel better about herself, not to emphasize a feminine. Although she wears makeup, she does not identity as feminine. “If you define feminine as spending an hour in the bathroom to fix yourself up and another hour to choose the perfect outfit, no I 'm not.” (V, Jessica). This perspective was shared by Susan who agreed and said “I don 't think makeup makes a person appear more feminine. People can act in a stereotypical feminine manner, but I don 't think we can look feminine or unfeminine.” Margaret disagreed with the other two women and stated “Yes, women use makeup for a feminizing effect.” (S, Margaret). This difference in points of view enables us to see how society has influenced these beauty standards and how the definition of femininity has changed over …show more content…
Dan believes that we should not question why a woman chooses to wear makeup, but rather accept that each women has their own reason. “Makeup can be a self-esteem booster, an expression of femininity, a way to show off skill or a myriad of other things.” (Dan). Each woman 's experience is unique. According to Avelie Stuart and Ngaire Donaghue, women who grew up during the second and third wave of feminism, which includes all three women interviewed, do not feel that they have to abide by these beauty standards. They explain why feminism is important to allow these women to create their own identities and redefine beauty standards when they state “Practices such as wearing lipstick or shaving one’s legs no longer present ideological dilemmas for many feminists. According to some third-wave feminist scholars, our ability to choose to engage in these practices is one of the gifts of feminism.” (Stuart and Donaghue 99). In other words, thanks to feminism, these women feel comfortable to make their own personal choices about makeup. By recognizing the difference feminism has made upon the identities of women, we give them the potential to overcome the adversity that has been attached to beauty standards for generations. It is also important to recognize that these three women each have unique identities and that by choosing only one woman from each generation, we are unable

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