Friday, 27 March 2009

Friday Feminist - Naomi Wolf

Cross posted

Feminism gave us laws against job discrimination based on gender; immediately case law evolved in Britain and the United States that institutionalized job discrimination based on women's appearances. Patriarchal religion declined; new religious dogma, using some of the mind-altering techniques of older cults and sects, arose around age and weight to functionally supplant traditional ritual. Feminists, inspired by Friedan, broke the stranglehold on the women's popular press of advertisers for household products, who were promoting the feminine mystique; at once, the diet and skin care industries became the new cultural censors of women's intellectual space, and because of their pressure, the gaunt, youthful model supplanted the happy housewife as the model of successful womanhood. The sexual revolution promoted the discovery of female sexuality; "beauty pornography" - which for the first time in women's history artificially links a commodified "beauty" directly and explicitly to sexuality - invaded the mainstream to undermine women's new and vulnerable sense of sexual self-worth. Reproductive rights game Western women control over our own bodies; the weight of fashion models plummeted to 23 percent below that of ordinary women, eating disorders rose exponentially, and a mass neurosis was promoted that used food and weight to strip women of that sense of control. Women insisted on politicizing health; new technologies of invasive, potentially dangerous "cosmetic" surgeries developed apace to re-exert old forms of medical control of women.

Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth, 1990

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