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JUL/AUG (2017) - The Beauty Myth > Natural bodies versus operated and unreal bodies.

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message 1: by Winston (new)

Winston | 180 comments I'm with Meelie here. I'm not a fan of the Kardashians but also it shouldn't be a excuse to knock her down for doing what she wants. Her life/body/whatever is a form of expression. It's not an expression I'm going to spend any time thinking about or modeling or whatever. Or even supporting. But I don't think it's nice to put her down. And I wouldn't actively fight against it either, I just ignore it.


message 2: by Lorig (new)

Lorig (lorigm) | 14 comments Yes I feel that shaming other women because they're skinny or because they've had plastic surgery or anything is counter active to what we're working towards. (I do understand that we're tying this back to the beauty myth, but it's still not ok).
Regardless of what society deems beautiful, sexy, etc. today doesn't mean it's ok to bring other women down (and I also don't think it's fair to say one person who is natural is better than someone else who enjoys make up, hair extensions, etc.)


message 3: by Ashley (last edited Aug 01, 2017 09:49AM) (new)

Ashley | 194 comments I think we should do whatever makes ourselves feel beautiful and happy with our own image. If that means altering the body, like Kim Kardashian, it's ok if it makes her happy with herself. I'm trying to lose weight so that I can become more satisfied with myself.

As for "big boobs and small waist" being unnatural, I have to disagree. While Kim Kardashian's "big boobs, small waist" are unnatural, I have a friend who's naturally a 34 DDD, about 5' 9" and weighing 170 lbs. Her shirts are always baggy on her waist and tight around the chest. Her figure is quite different from Kim Kardashian's, it should go without saying. Having more natural larger boobs, they aren't as perky and her curves are less apparent, but my point is that it's not impossible to have a natural small waist and larger breast.


message 4: by Charlene (new)

Charlene Morris | 89 comments Over looking Maricela's frustrations, cultures this set standards of what is beauty and feminine. Those cultural standards do harm women's self esteem.

There is a difference in choosing how you want to look and feeling like you are suppose to look a certain way.


message 5: by Gemma (new)

Gemma | 2 comments I'm about to enter my first year of college, and I've had my fair share of body image experiences. I've gotten to a point in my young adult life where I care about living a healthy and happy lifestyle.

I do believe in natural beauty, but I certainly don’t condemn any type of plastic surgery. If someone has a "flaw" they would like to change about their body, go for it! Everyone has the right to make changes in order to feel more beautiful.

Society is always altering the ideal body for women. Being comfortable in your body is most important. The wonderful thing about humans is our differences. Every single woman on earth is the ideal woman in my eyes.


message 6: by Lorig (new)

Lorig (lorigm) | 14 comments Absolutely. And while I agree that every culture's idea of beauty ultimately will make many women insecure (I would say most women have felt that way at one point or another), to speak negatively about the way other people look (whether they fit the "standards" or not) doesn't help the issue.


message 7: by Ross (new)

Ross | 1444 comments Maricela wrote: "I have always spoken well of Emma Watson. Her body is healthy. Her body is natural and healthy. There are unreal bodies like the body of Kim Kardashian. No one can be like this. Big breasts, small ..."

Your point is being lost insulting people never a good way to go. why not remove the entry and rephrase Maricela


message 8: by MotorCityMomma (new)

MotorCityMomma | 17 comments Maricela wrote: "I have always spoken well of Emma Watson. Her body is healthy. Her body is natural and healthy. There are unreal bodies like the body of Kim Kardashian. No one can be like this. Big breasts, small ..."


Many celebrities have had subtle plastic surgeries (nose jobs/nasal tip refinements, etc) and we cannot honestly say anyone is or is not completely natural. We don't know them.

For what it's worth, there are many curvy women in the world who do have big breasts, small waists, etc. just naturally. Breast reduction surgeries are not as common as breast augmentation surgeries, but they are a regular procedure, for women who are unhappy with breasts that are too large for their frame.

Personally, I don't care what other women do with their outward appearance. It's their choice to make as they wish.


message 9: by Ashley (new)

Ashley | 194 comments MotorCityMomma wrote: "Maricela wrote: "I have always spoken well of Emma Watson. Her body is healthy. Her body is natural and healthy. There are unreal bodies like the body of Kim Kardashian. No one can be like this. Bi..."

In extension to what you've said about surgically altering your body, there are instances where those procedures are medically necessary. A lot of women who undergo breast reduction do it because the weight of their breasts are causing back problems and a lot of pain. My mom did gastric bypass to help her lose weight because at her age and weight and having bone-on-bone arthritis in both knees, even her doctor and nutritionist said it was nearly impossible to naturally lose the weight she wanted. She has naturally large breasts and when she gets to the size she wants to be (or even before) I'm sure she's going to have to undergo breast reduction as well because her body simply won't be able to support the weight anymore once her waist is so much smaller.

A lot of people do plastic surgery to remove scars as well. A friend of mine was considering it to remove a large scar on her face obtained from a 4-wheeler crash. My mom has asked me many times if I would ever want to remove my scars or even my birthmark that is large and very apparent on my neck. Personally, I don't care about my scars or birth marks. I don't think such things take away from my appearance, and when people point them out or ask, I have stories behind them all. They are simply a part of me, but not everyone feels that way and if something like that is making a person insecure with themselves, they should have the choice to remove it.


message 10: by Denise (new)

Denise Chaplin | 10 comments Sadly society values people increasingly by their appearance. There is little debate about the ethics of enhancement cosmetic surgery and the lack of counselling or advice for the patient about their self image and whether or not this will alter after surgery (cf Michael Jackson, Jocelyn Wildenstein). There is also little debate relating the topic to religious teachings and non-religious world views about the value of humans. People today doubt their visual value younger and younger - e.g. very young girls (under 12 years) are asking for labiaplasty at an age where their grandmothers didn't even know what the labia was. What matters really– the inner person or their looks?


message 11: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Dufresne (kdufresne) | 4 comments No man or woman should compare their self to another man or woman. Also, there are so many different looking types of relationships; I've seen partners of all sorts. Own the you now and continue working on the you, you want to become. We live in a large resourceful world, and, I think you have a support group that is willing to help you along the way.


message 12: by Ashley (new)

Ashley | 194 comments Cat wrote: "I believe everyone should look however they want to look like. Everyone has their own version of beauty. People can choose to follow the trends, like in Korea everyone's makeup is supposedly the sa..."

I fully agree with what you said about as long as it's your choice and not a choice made from pressure from others. What the Beauty Myth is trying to do is make us aware of the pressure society is putting on us, and that is a form of outside pressure/pressure form someone else. You said that it is advertised that plastic surgery is something that a boyfriend should get as a gift for his girlfriend. I don't mean to offend, but that sounds like societal pressure to me.


message 13: by Benarji (new)

Benarji Anand | 153 comments Happiness comes from within. We accept our flaws. We accept the things that we cannot change. Nobody gets the best of everything. That's not how the world works. People should have realistic standards for themselves and never compare yourself with others. Beauty standards are different for each individuals. How we perceive beauty is different. Some might argue that having big bosom and buttocks is an ideal beauty but everything is a matter of perception which lies within ourselves. Our preferences. So Kim Kardashian might appeal to some but unappealing to others. People always make the mistake of comparing apples with oranges. Love yourself but live healthy. Make healthy choices and decisions. Live for yourself and not others. We cannot make everyone happy but we can make ourselves to be happy and acceptance would do us great in the long run.


message 14: by Gerd (new)

Gerd | 428 comments Cat wrote: "The country of my nationality once advertised plastic surgery as a gift a boyfriend should give to his girlfriend..."

Any boyfriend who tells you thus that you do not meet his "beauty-standards" should be given the boot, though.


message 15: by Ashley (new)

Ashley | 194 comments Benarji wrote: "Happiness comes from within. We accept our flaws. We accept the things that we cannot change. Nobody gets the best of everything. That's not how the world works. People should have realistic standa..."

Beautifully put.


message 16: by Omar (new)

Omar | 13 comments Many people require operations to correct inherited abnormalities, for example Plastic surgeon Per Hall corrected the cleft palates of children so they could smile like any other child would. Hence, the natural can sometimes have bad affects on the person in question and an operation, if carried out well, can eliminate these imperfections. Therefore, when comparing the two I do not think we can say the operated is better or worse than the natural and vice versa.


message 17: by Ashley (new)

Ashley | 194 comments Omar wrote: "Many people require operations to correct inherited abnormalities, for example Plastic surgeon Per Hall corrected the cleft palates of children so they could smile like any other child would. Hence..."

I agree. My argument is the operation is worse when the person is pressured into doing it. Any operation should be the patient's choice and that patient should be persuaded into it by others in society.


message 18: by Ashley (new)

Ashley | 194 comments Cat wrote: "Ashley wrote: "Cat wrote: "I believe everyone should look however they want to look like. Everyone has their own version of beauty. People can choose to follow the trends, like in Korea everyone's ..."

You make a great point about where do you draw the line, and I think the answer is also within your text. If the girl is already wanting to change how she looks, suggesting plastic surgery would not be social pressure since it's an option for what she already wants. However, when someone suggests surgery to a person who wasn't originally looking to change their appearance, that is social pressure. There is a lot of grey area in there, and I think what it comes down to is we, as individuals, need to be able to recognize if the idea is being planted in our head and we're being convinced we need it or if it's being suggested as an option for what we're already looking for.


message 19: by David (new)

David Larkin | 49 comments Unfortunately despite what most people want to believe, it not our minds that attract others of any gender, but our physical beauty (according to current standards of such). Before WWII, women of beauty were, with very few exceptions, larger, and more filled out than today. The stereotypical 36-24-36, was almost unheard of. My late mother Alice Larkin (nee: Phillips), was considered to be a beautiful woman in the 40's and 50's and she was by no means skinny.
In the mid sixties, this standard began to change due to the work of a few men; most notably; Ives St. Laurent, and Andy Warhol. St Laurent, a fashion designer, used a young woman Lesley Hornby, (later Lawson) who looked more like a prepubescent boy than anything else, to display his work. That she was all of 5' 7" and thin as a rail allowed him to use the minimal amount of material in each of his 'creations', saving money. Artistic fraud Andy Warhol, a friend of St. Laurent's who made her famous as 'Twiggy' and that, unfortunately began the societal slide into stupidity that is now the 'norm'. A most notable result of this stupidity, is Bulimia and Anorexia Nervosa. Ms, Watson's character 'Sam' in 'Perks of being a Wallflower', was wrong. Bulimia is not cool.
I raised a daughter alone, and during her formative years, i had to work very hard to help her develop a self image that didn't include being as skinny as a runway model. I was fortunate. She is now 23 and expecting her second child, Alice. (Her first, my granddaughter Annabelle was kidnapped when she was 6 months old, and we're trying our hardest to recover her.)
The only advice i can give, (And yes, it's unsolicited here) is be yourself. Don't try to make yourself over to look like someone else. If someone wants you for what he or she sees, then maybe that person isn't the one you want. It's a hard choice, but I think, the best one. Dave Larkin


message 20: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Miller (rosethorn7) | 123 comments It is my belief that women should have the decision to dress and aim for the looks that make them feel happy and beautiful. I personally would never try to look like Kim Kardashian. That is not a look I would want to strive to achieve. However, every woman should be able to decide what their style and physical expression is on their own. (Whatever makes us feel happy).


message 21: by Raquel (new)

Raquel De Oliveira | 1 comments I agree that to each their own and everyone should get to do whatever they want with their bodies, but I also find myself thinking that, if we agree that society pressures us to adhere to certain imposed physical standards, and that so many of us live our lives trying to achieve them just to feel loved, included or accepted, then when a woman chooses to have surgery to "fix" a "flaw" she sees in the mirror, or to more adequately fit into those standards, just how "free" is that choice deep down? I don't even mean correcting issues of proportion or symmetry, things that she might really struggle with, but just your average implants and fat removal, etc. Isn't the notion of "as long as it's for herself and no one else" somewhat paradoxical considering the amount of subliminal information we get that generates precisely this self-hatred which keeps us in check? If we're bombarded with images of beauty that don't correspond to our bodies, wouldn't we naturally find something to "fix" when we look in the mirror? How can that choice ever be fully free and independent?


message 22: by Ellen (new)

Ellen | 42 comments This idea of 'natural' versus not 'natural' bodies is interesting but also problematic.

There are many women who have surgery that doesn't necessarily include implants, but reductions, and reconstructions, never mind medically necessary surgery.

Personally I don't think anyone should put their health at risk for an unnecessary operation, whether it is a reduction or enlargement. Equally surgery to the vagina is now becoming more of thing. This horrifies me.

However, to label women who have surgery as 'unnatural', is problematic for women who need surgery. It suggests someone is less of 'real woman' and that is never ok. It also has impact on transgender women who may have surgeries as part of their transition.

I recently read Animal by Sara Pascoe which is an amazing book exploring what are bodies are naturally, biologically intended to do, in order for us to better understand why we have fat, so we can hopefully accept it. However, it still perpetuates a certain type of body as more ideal - namely one primed for childbearing and sexual attraction (ie large breasts, hips, 'curvy'). Pascoe doesn't deliberately alienate other women, but does so by virtue of the subject. Female bodies have a lot of politics going on - it is too complex to try and simplify in one book or statement. Maybe we actually need to take the focus away from bodies, and place less importance on their significance?


message 23: by José (new)

José Saravia (josrobertosaravia) | 6 comments The exchange of opinions here is very enriching. I must say that I agree with Ellen on the artificiality of "natural" or "unnatural" as both are social constructions. Currently, human bodies are blending with different kinds of technology, physically or metaphorically (many individuals use and see their cell phones as extensions of themselves); thus, it is really hard to know what others see as natural. To me, the problem with the female body lies on the imposition, direct or indirect, and on the self-perception.


message 24: by Ashley (new)

Ashley | 194 comments José wrote: "The exchange of opinions here is very enriching. I must say that I agree with Ellen on the artificiality of "natural" or "unnatural" as both are social constructions. Currently, human bodies are bl..."

I agree completely with your statement that the problem lies on the self-perception of the body - it's a problem I struggle with, myself. But I'm a little lost by what you mean that the problem lies on the imposition, could you explain that more?


message 25: by José (last edited Aug 24, 2017 07:15PM) (new)

José Saravia (josrobertosaravia) | 6 comments Emma wrote: "Ashley wrote: "José wrote: "The exchange of opinions here is very enriching. I must say that I agree with Ellen on the artificiality of "natural" or "unnatural" as both are social constructions. Cu..."

I apologize for my poor wording; I had little time to comment. Yes, I meant socially constructed images that are either imposed by others or assimilated and propagated by women themselves. For example, since young ages, many women are taught by their own mothers to criticize and reject their bodies, not to celebrate them. Thus, the self-perception that many young women have of their body is distorted. That happens, in some cases, even before the female body matures physically and these distorted, negative views are passed along from one generation to the other. To be honest, I cannot draw a line between what's natural or unnatural myself. Make-up is not natural, neither are high-heeled shoes. Still, many have assimilated them as natural. Instead of criticizing a woman who decides to wear them (or who undergoes plastic surgery), I think we should respect her choice. Freedom is about choices.


message 26: by Ross (new)

Ross | 1444 comments There is a drive for perfection in appearance for women that is not applied to men. This has many factors, better covered in "The Beauty Myth" our read for this bi-month, that I could describe in a few words here.

But there are signs this imposed approach is changing people in prominent positions women of influence are moving to a more natural look for them; I don't mean they are abandoning makeup and styling but it is now as much about their personality as appealing to others.

Now, this has to be tempered with the idealized images we still see every day aimed at women in most media. I would suggest dealing with that with education it's an image that children should know they can copy or not.

We are never going to completed escape judging a book by its cover, it's what covers are for after all but we can move to where the cover reflects who we are more than what we are expected to be.


message 27: by Benarji (new)

Benarji Anand | 153 comments @José to a certain standard, we are influenced by the society. If not, our general appearances would be similar to that of a cavemen and cavewomen. We are well groomed and we take care of our basic hygiene. It is not wrong for people to have a mental standard on how they should look but that should not be the primary concern of a person's life. There are plenty more important aspects of life. Also, make up and high heels is natural. I see women with make up as Picasso. They express their work of art on their face. Plastic surgery is unnatural. Liposuction is unnatural. Though we should respect others decision on their body, we should also recognize the damage that they are doing to themselves. "Improving" oneself through the unnatural means are dangerous to their health.


message 28: by José (last edited Aug 25, 2017 07:34AM) (new)

José Saravia (josrobertosaravia) | 6 comments Benarji wrote: "@José to a certain standard, we are influenced by the society. If not, our general appearances would be similar to that of a cavemen and cavewomen. We are well groomed and we take care of our basic..."

I disagree with you in part. If "natural" means "which occurs in nature," make up and high-heels are by no means natural. If they were, men would also wear them. Why are women required to wear them and not men if high-heels and make up are natural? Also, remember that high-heels damage the human body and that they test make up on animals to make sure it doesn't do the same.

Still, I agree with you about the influence of societies. High heels were initially worn by men, for example. That means that social standards are dynamic and should not be taken as a given. I also think of societies that are more open to plastic surgery, like that of South Korea. For them, that practice might become "natural" in the future if it is not now. I think that feet mutilation in ancient China was also viewed as "natural" in those times.

The binary operation of natural/unnatural is another social construct and should not be taken as a parameter of truth. Taking it as such will turn it into another instrument of oppression, for it will serve the hegemonic positions in societies (the ones dictating what "natural" is.)


message 29: by D.J. (new)

D.J. Lindsay | 15 comments In the context of natural versus modified bodies, I wondered if people would agree with my observation? Being a native of Britain and having traveled a fair bit in the USA, I get the impression that European society is kinder to women as they get older. It accepts women as they are, rather than the US expectation - one might almost say demand - that they conform to a stereotype of youthful beauty long after nature has started to let them sag gently. Has this been other members' observation?


message 30: by Benarji (new)

Benarji Anand | 153 comments @Jose I should have phrased myself better. Makeup and high heels are more natural than nip and tucks. There is nothing natural with the daily products, e.g. deodorants, hair gel, lip balm, lipstick, eyeliner, etc. Everything is man made.

Plastic surgery is always an unnatural choice, whether you are coming from a society that practices it as norm. The aspects that we cannot change about ourselves are our features. We should accept our 'flaws' and learn to live with it. Back then, feet mutilation was considered norm in China. If you don't have mutilated feet, your chances of getting married is extremely slim. This scared women into shaping their feet. In fact, some other places, women enhances the length of their neck for the same reasons. Men these days aren't simpletons. A woman's personality is very sexy and highly arousing. You don't need to fit to a certain standard to get married.

My general concern about the beauty standards is the health aspects. An obese person losing weight through unnatural means have a greater risk of heart attack and cholesterol problems. In fact, we would be inviting many health conditions just because we took a shortcut. If an overweighted person through their own sheer will decides to take charge of their life and work out, that is commendable. Making a decision to eat right is a big commitment. Being size 2 isn't beauty requirement but being healthy is a beauty standard.


message 31: by Ross (new)

Ross | 1444 comments lot of men commenting on this thread maybe some indication of where the problem lies. Men having holding more opinions on how women look than women themselves


message 32: by MeerderWörter (last edited Aug 26, 2017 03:20PM) (new)

MeerderWörter | 2388 comments Meelie wrote: "I sort of agree with Ross on the perspective,
HOWEVER
, a question I pose to anyone identifying as male:

What about the 'beauty myth' and how it applies to males / male standards of men? If the..."


An interesting question. I'd love to hear answers to that one!
I wonder if they overlap with mine a bit or not at all.


message 33: by Ashley (new)

Ashley | 194 comments MeerderWörter wrote: "Meelie wrote: "I sort of agree with Ross on the perspective,
HOWEVER
, a question I pose to anyone identifying as male:

What about the 'beauty myth' and how it applies to males / male standards of men? If the..."

An interesting question. I'd love to hear answers to that one! "


Me too!


Erica B (ricci.reads) | 14 comments I'm personally not a fan of bodies modified by plastic surgery, however I have tattoos and have had piercings in the past so it's really no different!
It is cruel and counterproductive to single out a woman for her appearance and conclude that because she fits the westernised mainstream idea of beauty, she must be brainless! The two are not exclusively linked.


message 35: by Gerd (new)

Gerd | 428 comments Emma wrote: "I used to think of plastic surgery as something that would only be done to please a man and piercings as something a woman would do only to please herself,
..."


And now I need to get my mind back out of the gutter... :D


message 36: by Robert (new)

Robert Smart | 354 comments This is a difficult topic.

On the one hand you have The Beauty Myth and it's affects on people.
On the other hand you have a persons right to choose what they would do with their own bodies.

Does one aide and abed the other in a way?
Where does The Beauty Myth stop?
Does it stop with the choice for surgery or what have you?
Was the choice an affect of the Myth?

I am in no way saying I am against a right to choose. I am saying
this makes for an interesting almost endless loop.


message 37: by I (new)

I comment (Icomment) | 34 comments According to the bible, Jehovah God created woman. And the beauty of the woman that God created is natural. Not operated.

Genesis 1: 27
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

The bible tells us that in the creation of women there is no defect:
Song of Solomon 4: 7
1 Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.

The bible also says that the beauty of woman is interior:
Proverbs 31:30
30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.


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