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WOMEN 'S PERSONAL STRUGGLES:

A REFLECTION PAPER OF
THE BEAUTY MYTH
By Naomi Wolf

John Kenneth Salvador


Literature
Mr. Elvin Valerio

INTRODUCTION
In the Beauty Myth the author mentioned about how she has heard a lot of womens
personal struggles. Their personal struggle consists of different kinds of struggles such as
struggles in work, aging, and other stuff women who have encountered the beauty
problem and has had sad lives about it.

In response to many women who have had a hard time dealing with their personal
struggles Naomi Wolf has replied through her book by giving her insights and opinions
about the so called beauty problem. With regards to the different kinds of problems
women face today Naomi Wolf compiles all the problems she has heard from and come
of a collection of struggles women face in work, religion, sex and culture.

Because of this, The Beauty Myth was published the book has helped woman to become
freer with themselves and to make their decisions according to their preferences rather
than having men influence them.

Although the Beauty Myth book has gained many feminists supporters it also made a few
enemies. Because the Beauty Myth talks about how womens lives are influenced so
much by their beauty and how women should decide for themselves. Many women who
have met the standards of the Beauty set by men have negative reactions to what the book
implies. Like how one personality said that the book says it is wrong for women to apply
make-up and use lipstick. Or how women with eating disorders say that there is nothing
wrong vomiting to look thinner. Basically women have shared different thoughts on the

book on the positive side women used as a tool of empowerment and has made to be
more true to themselves others say that the book mocks the whole idea of becoming a
woman that of which the idea of beauty is constructed by the men in the society.

Naomi Wolf hopes that the readers of the book whether male or female would use it in
ways only unique to them. A lot of women have shared the positive effect of the book by
becoming more expressive of their thoughts and opinions about life and womens roles in
society.

Women also have said that the book has allowed them to accept themselves much more
regardless of their flaws, which was deemed ugly by other people. Like how one woman
said that she stopped hating her crows foot because of the book or how one woman
stopped worrying about her weight so much.

Each reader has their own unique experience with the book since it covers a lot of how
women are affected in their lives in different fields such as work, religion, sex and etc.
These fields or areas that are discussed in the book are where women face the most
hardships and struggles in life Naomi Wolf has decided to focus on these fields because
she knows from the readers themselves that these areas are where the idea of beauty plays
a big role in influencing their roles in society.

The book also discusses the effects of the beauty myth to women and how men react to
what women are experiencing for example in terms of work or career because of the

beauty myth that women face at work men in return become more dominant over females
in terms of their professional careers.

It has led women to have low self esteem when it comes to their jobs. Basically this book
also talks about how the relation of men and women are affected with the beauty myth.
After reading this book I realized how women are affected so much by their beauty that
it has led me to think much more about how I respond the idea of beauty that was set by
others. In short, the issue of the beauty myth can affect everyone from male to female and
from young and old everyone is part of the beauty myth. Having said that the beauty
issue affects everyone regardless of age or gender. I have decided to focus more on the
work aspect of the beauty issue.

WOMEN AT WORK
A career is ones passion in life it is the undermining factor whether you are successful in
life. In a mans point of view a career is what determines your place in the hierarchy of
people in society. Having a nice job means you are a successful person. In Conclusion,
A persons career can affect people in many ways as much as beauty can affect women in
different ways as well. I a male dominated world we want to answer the questions how
do women perform in their careers? As suppose to men? How does beauty affect a
females performance at work? The Beauty Myth covers all these questions and has come
up with different conclusions by supporting them with factual results. In the work
chapter Naomi opens up the chapter by discussing how women work harder than men in
society.

Id like to cite one of the paragraphs form the book that support the idea that women
work harder than men. The work week ofAmerican women is twenty-one hours longer
than that of men; economistHeidi Hartmann demonstrates that men actually demand
eighthours more service per week than they contribute. In Italy, 85 percent
of mothers with children and full-time paid jobs are married to menwho share no work in
the home at all. The average European womanwith a paid job has 33 percent less leisure
than her husband. From the statement we can say that most of the women at home do
majority of the work if not all. We can say that just from the household the amount of
work being done is not equally divided but has more emphasis on the woman.

Another argument that can be drawn from this statement is the reward women they get in
return after working for hours at home. Is it the same as the rewards men get? Another
part of the book mentions that if women were paid to do household work they would be
responsible for a 60% increase in the familys income. In terms of workload it is well
supported that women do more than men and not just in terms of hours. And lastly it has
also brought up arguments that women can outperform men in the work place because
they work for more hours and do more work in a single day. When this argument was
brought up men reacted negatively they said that more women in the workplace results to
more competition and means a more tougher work environment. From the information
that the book provided we know that women can compete fairly with men and can even
outdo men in terms of work but the question whether women can compete in the
workplace psychologically is still open. Psychologically women in the work place are

affected so much by their beauty. This is what Naomi talks about later on in the chapter.
She tries to incorporate how beauty can affect a womans performance in the workplace
whether negatively or positively. It is in terms of psychology where women suffer the
most in the workplace where they worry about how they look so much at work since they
know that beauty means a lot in the workplace. It could mean whether you become
successful in your job or you lose it. It is repeatedly mentioned in the chapter that a
womans beauty is one of the biggest factors in determining whether she will become
successful or not.

In the latter parts of the chapter the idea of PBQ is discussed. PBQ stands for
Professional Beauty Qualification this idea is very eminent on jobs that require women to
be beautiful in their professions. These jobs include dancers, models, waitresses and sex
workers. These are jobs where a womans beauty is a huge factor to their success in their
careers. In this job the more beautiful you are the more successful you are but for those
who are not so blessed with a beautiful face or a sexy body they probably wont get too
far in their careers. These PBQ based jobs are places also where women face a lot of
struggles. And one of the main problems women face in these careers or profession is
sex discrimination. Sex Discrimination is the act of judging a woman regarding her
appearance and how it can affect her at work. Most of the cases of sex discrimination are
related to unjust dismissal of employees because of their appearance. Sex discrimination
is greatly supported by the PBQ ideology. This PBQ ideology is of double-edged

properties. The PBQ can benefit a woman greatly and result in success in her career.
Because of the huge role beauty plays in a womans success it could also become their
downfall. It becomes a vantage point for men to control woman accordingly. Men have
the power now to control a womans mind set with her appearance. If a woman is not as
attractive she can be mocked and therefore lower her self-esteem because she has less
confidence in herself she becomes less of a strong person and lose her strong traits as a
woman. Because she loses strong traits she becomes more passive and more a follower,
willing to perform tasks without question becoming more of a servant than being able to
think for themselves and become a potential leader in the future.

Once a womans self esteem is lowered, men in the workplace become more dominant
and more confident as for the woman they lose their edge and start settling for lower level
job and tasks. But if a woman was beautiful she does not experience losing her selfconfidence instead she is constantly praised for her beauty and is more powerful than
women who are not as beautiful as her.

We can say that a womans survivability in the workplace is very much dependent on her
looks or so called beauty. On the side of the males however, appearance does not affect
them greatly in their professions but is only a compliment for them than that of being
requirement unlike women. Because of the power of man to control a womans mindset
in their workplace it is easy for them to create a workforce that is designed to follow their
every command.

And that workforce would be the females. We can see how much the females suffer in the
work environment even to the extent that they can be molded in to what the business
requires of them and have no say for it. They basically become slaves of the company and
of men. Id like to bring up a statement form the book that shows how a news anchor
was dismissed form her position because she was not beautiful enough. The thirtysixyear-old Craft filed suit against her ex-employers, Metromedia Inc.,at Kansas City on the
charge of sex discrimination. She had been dismissedon the grounds that, as Christine
Craft quotes her employer,she was too old, too unattractive, and not deferential to men.
In this statement the ground for her dismissal is solely dependent on her looks and
nothing concerning skill or performance at work. This is a concrete example of the
double edged property of the PBQ ideology, so if a woman was beautiful and applied for
a news anchor positions she would be automatically qualified for the job as suppose to
someone who is unattractive they could even be unqualified for it.

Because of the rising number of women being unjustly dismissed form their jobs, the law
also took action for this issue although it also can lead to a womans downfall. For
example a woman is required to look beautiful in PBQ based jobs. If she is for instance
sexually harassed and she is deemed too attractive or her looks have lead to her
consequences it will be ruled that the action was just or the act of raping was just because
of the womans appearance.

From this example we can also say that the law made by men is also biased to women
since they base the decision according to the appearance of the woman. So we can
almost conclude that raping a woman is legal if the woman is wearing clothes too
seductive or too tempting since the action is reasonable because of the womans clothes.
We can say that the law as well is very biased to women as well.

BEYOND THE BEAUTY MYTH


After reading the beauty myth book I have become aware of a womans struggles in life. I
have also realized how hard it is for women who are not so attractive to compete in a
world where beauty can mean failure or success. In world where men have constructed
their own idea of beauty constantly as time passes by the issue of beauty for women will
be a lasting problem for them. Since the Idea of beauty changes through time women will
keep on trying to meet what men deem as beautiful to be able to reach success in their
lives.

After the publishing of the beauty myth, women became much more freer in their
decisions in life and have become stronger as individuals. They now are confident
enough to express their own opinions in life and are able to attain goals they had not
reached before.

In the Introduction of the book, Naomi says that readers should use the book in ways
unique to them. From my experience reading the book I felt more respect for women
today. And that they should be celebrated instead of maltreated, that they should be
praised instead of brought down and forced to do what men asks them to do. Women are
individuals capable of achieving more than what they are achieving today. Although the
women have become more stronger the past decade they still remain trying to conform
with the standard of beauty set by men. They still struggle to set themselves apart from
the enslavement of the idea of beauty that was imposed on them.