The beauty ideal constructs femininities and masculinities because it encourages women and men to act and dress in a specific way if they want to be seen as “real women” or “real men.” Through the obvious reality that not every feminist is an extremist. Our culture encourages girls to compete with each other over looks and this competition causes anxiety that often continues as women age. Each reading reflects different aspects of the true feminism; the journey for equal rights between the sexes. The media and all its forms has been shaping the minds of the public for years, and it’s only grown into more potent and harmful visuals and ideals of what the modern women should be. Young, old, adult or teen everyone is scrutinized in the media.
On magazines and books, on tv’s and movies. Women should be thing, have this amazing easy diet to get that dream body, have no flaws in their attire or in life, dream come true relationships. In the article the “Can Makeup Be Feminist” by Erin Blakemore. She discusses “The stereotypical male gazer,” as freely chosen acts of beautification become an act of pleasure for the woman, not the male gaze. Although many women strive to attain the “beauty” ideal there are many women who are actively resisting this harmful cultural norm. Women who resist the beauty ideal do not participate in the various beauty rituals, nor do they support the industries that produce harmful advertisements of excessive fashion and beauty products. Instead, these women are working to create other definitions of beauty. Women are actively fashioning their own notions of beauty through their use of healthy cosmetics and fashion. When media stories and ads are ready to be sent the public at the last stage it’s too late for an abrupt change because that’s not how a business works. When the seed is planted it’s best to get to it before the roots grow and starts sprouting.
The “beauty” ideal’s unrealistic standards affect the way many women feel about their own bodies and the standard often stimulates anxiety when they measure their bodies against the notion of what it means to be beautiful. Corporate capitalism and U.S. consumerism are able to shape women’s bodies and lives through these destructive advertisements of the “beauty” ideal. For instance, Sephora advertisement depicts models putting on makeup. This advertisement endorses the perception that women must be beautiful and have clear skin in order to be feminine. Likewise, magazine industries target men’s masculinity and work to reinforce male gender norms. A mainstream belief is that in order to attract a desirable woman men must be dominant, active, and wealthy members of society. In K-pop world they have to be tall, strong, attractive man. The men in K-pop have restrictions to have slim body and put on makeup for their performances. This provides clear evidence to my belief that print media constructs femininities and masculinities in our society that reinforces gender stereotypes and socially construct what the female and male bodies stand for. “Can a woman wear makeup and enjoy the adornments associated with femininity and still call themselves a feminist?” Feminist answer this question with a decisive yes, as long as one understand that from a feminist perspective these practices and decisions are made consciously.
Learning to love one’s body is an important technique of resisting the “beauty” ideal. Feminists can be girly, share their opinions with men, and voice their struggles without being categorized for it. The readings helped put into perspective that these stereotypes are not permeant. They can change along with this movement.