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Vintage Feminism: c lassic feminist texts in short form
WITH A NEW INTRODUCTION BY THE AUTHOR
Every day, women around the world are confronted with a dilemma – how to look. In a society embroiled in a cult of female beauty and youthfulness, pressure on women to conform physically is constant and all-pervading. In this shortened edition you will find the essence of Wolf’s groundbreaking book. It is a radical, gripping and frank exposé of the tyranny of the beauty myth, its oppressive function and the destructive obsession it engenders.
128 pages, Kindle Edition
First published January 1, 1990
"Whenever we dismiss or do not hear a woman on televisison or in print because our attention has been drawn to her size or makeup or clothing or hairstyle, the beauty myth is working with optimum efficiency."
"If a single standard were applied equally to men as to women in TV journalism, most of the men would be unemployed."
"The myth urges women to believe that it's every woman for herself."
"...to tell a woman she is ugly can make her feel ugly, act ugly, and, as far as her experience is concerned, be ugly, in the place where feeling beautiful keeps her whole."
"If the public woman is stigmatized as too 'pretty', she's a threat, a rival - or simply not serious; if derided as too 'ugly', one risks tarring oneself with the same brush by identifying oneself with her agenda."
"Few women have a strong sense of bodily identity, and the beauty myth urges us to see a 'beautiful' mask as preferable to our own faces and bodies."
"Women's bodies are portrayed as attractive packaging around an empty box...each woman has to learn for herself, from nowhere, how to feel sexual (though she learns constantly how to look sexual)."
"What women look like is considered important because what we say is not."
Young women now are being bombarded with a kind of radiation sickness brought on by overexposure to images of beauty pornography, the only source offered then of ways to imagine female sexuality."
"Men are visually aroused by women's bodies...because they are trained early into that response, while women are less visually aroused and more emotionally aroused because that is their training."
they represent something very important: women’s mass culture. A woman’s magazine is not just a magazine. The relationship between the woman reader and her magazine is so different from that between a man and his that they aren’t in the same category: A Man reading Popular Mechanics or Newsweek is browsing through just one perspective among countless others of general male-oriented culture, which is everywhere. A woman reading Glamour is holding women-oriented mass culture between her two hands.
'In the wake of rape allegations against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, feminist Naomi Wolf publicly denied that if a man holds down and tries to sexually penetrate a woman who previously agreed to sex but changed her mind after he refused to wear a condom, he is a rapist. She also denied that penetrating a sleeping woman is rape. Wolf later went further, alleging that it is wrong to keep confidential the names of people who report that they've been raped. She reasoned it encourages false rape claims and that women should grow up and be treated as "moral adults" who stand by their allegations. When the two Assange accusers' names were released, they received death threats and experienced other forms of humiliation, the very reason names are publicly withheld now.'
'...much AIDS education has been utterly naive. If a quarter of young women have at some point had control denied them in a sexual encounter, they stand little chance of protecting themselves from the deadly disease. In a speakout on sexual violence at Yale University, the most common theme was a new crime that has been largely ignored: when a woman stipulates a safe, or nonpenetrative, sexual encounter, but the man ejaculates into her against her will.' (pg168) [emphasis mine]
"'Beauty' is a currency system like the gold standard."
"The beauty myth is not about women at all. It is about men's institutions and institutional power."
"It would be pathetic if young women had to go back to the beginning because we were taken in by an unoriginal twenty-year campaign to portray the women's movement as 'not sexy'"
To live in fear of one's own body and one's life is not to live at all. The resulting life-fearing neuroses are everywhere. They are in the woman who will take a lover, go to Nepal, learn to skydive, swim naked, demand a raise, "when she loses this weight" - but in the eternal meantime maintains her wow of chastity or self-denial. They are in the woman who can never enjoy a meal, who never feels thin enough, or that the occasion is special enough, to drop her guard and become one with the moment."
"For every feminist action there is an equal and opposite beauty myth reaction."This is the central thesis of The Beauty Myth, which challenges the notion of 'beauty' as a metric for women's valuation and identifies its usage, especially in modern times, as a deliberate and debilitating counter to the emancipation gained by western women under first and second wave feminism.