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Tuesday, April 27, 2010


For my English essay writing class, we're looking at what mechanisms construct gender in our society. I've been thinking a lot about gender, femininity, feminism, and the female because of that..

We see them everywhere. Their smiles fake, exaggerated with plastic happiness over a new product. A perfect smile, composed of full lips stretched over straight, flawlessly white teeth (no gaps allowed), sells anything. Shining hair falling in waves over a perfect pair of shoulders, strands gleaming in mock sunlight, a perfect figure, symmetrical in each proportion, eyes that have never laughed, eyelashes so long they sweep the smooth cheeks, hands that touch nothing but moisturising creams.

Her clothes are immaculate, no stains, stray hairs, wrinkles or rips. Nothing is too short or too long on this being: clothes sit perfectly on her figure, accentuating each curve.
This creature has never lived.

Her brand name is 'woman', and she is plastered in advertisements, billboards, magazines, TV, and movies.

'She' is the ideal that will never be realised, as she has never breathed.

What do you think about the way women are portrayed in our society? Do you think we have created a dangerous specimen that looks like a woman, but is also an unattainable stereotype that many women strive for, and men fall for?


Blogger Siminy said...

Hmmm, you know the one, nay two words that screamed at me on reading this?

America Actress!

We (Some of my family and I) were talking about this, just before. About how on America TV and Movies, the girls always seem to be picture perfect. Recently, we have been watching a lot of British stuff and the girls? Well, they look normal. Not ugly, no, pretty, but normal pretty. Just not over the top glamour freaks. OK, freaks, may be putting it too strongly, but I couldn't think of anything else. I'm sure I will later, but for now I've got nothing else.

OK, I don't think I really did answer any of the question you had at the bottom of your post... whoops.

9:47 pm  
Blogger The Editrix said...

Excellent post.

What do you think about the way women are portrayed in our society? Do you think we have created a dangerous specimen that looks like a woman, but is also an unattainable stereotype that many women strive for, and men fall for?

If we're talking about the physical, then absolutely, yes. We have indeed created an "unattainable stereotype".

When it comes to the ideal woman's character and personality, then things get more complicated.

But I don't think that's what you're trying to get at, though, so: getting back on topic. . .

I think every society has created for itself an imaginary picture of ideal female beauty. The only difference is: today, we have modern media. The internet, TV, films. And photography, and photoshop. Rather than being compared with the most beautiful girl in the village, women are now being compared (and are comparing themselves) with the most beautiful women in the world - further than that, digitally edited images of the most beautiful women in the world. And we're being bombarded with these images almost all the time. This is where at least some of the problem lies, I think.

I'd better stop soon, or blogger will enforce its character limit for comments on me. :P

But here's one more question to ponder: what are some possible solutions (or at least partial solutions) to the problem discussed above - that is, a totally unrealistic picture of what women should look like? What needs to change in our society, and in people's minds?

Oh, and yay for 100 posts in 100 days! Keep it up! :-D


10:39 pm  
Blogger Lydz said...

Siminy - yes, good observation! I just had a thought: if the 'ideal' female is portrayed as the perfection of beauty, an unattainable being, then marketers will sell more of whatever product they're promoting. It seems like the media and big businesses have to make people fall in love with an impossible ideal/dream in order to get rid of their products.
It's interesting how the Brits are more realistic in their ideal woman.. I wonder why.
The difference between watching a British movie and an American movie is huge!

Elise - I just googled the 'word' Editrix - the Urban Dictionary says that this is a "female who demands you to finesse your lingo" - is that what you were after?
Anyway, I digress..
hmm, I agree, stereotypes of women's personalities are harder to track, but I'd say, probably haven't changed much.
Interesting point about women suddenly comparing themselves to the most beautiful digitally-edited women in the world. I hadn't thought about it that way before - that these women are exceptions anyway.

I guess the big problem is that women look at these images and start thinking that they aren't good enough. Because that's what the pictures are all about - they reek of "you don't look like me, but you should, and you can.."
Whereas women need to accept the way they're made.
As to seeing big changes in society - I don't think that would happen on a large scale. Non-christian women will always be this way: measuring their worth by the world's standards. But christians can be exactly the same.. it would be good if more books were written for christian, and non-christian girls on this issue.

5:01 pm  

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