What Are The Contradictions Of Female Beauty

Submitted By Elaine-Kaasa
Words: 1779
Pages: 8

What are the contradictions between the ideal of female beauty and the status of women? Why is this so?

Stuart Hall (1997, p.16) claims that there are two systems of representation. The first system of representation is the ‘system’ and the second system of representation is language. Houghton Mifflin Company (2006) states that representation is the act of representing or the state of being represented. Something that represents, as: an image or likeness of something; an account or statement, as of facts, allegations, or arguments; an expostulation; a protest and a presentation or production, as of a play. The contradictions between the ideal of female beauty and the status of women are all to do with how females have been represented in the past and the stereotypes they have in today’s society due to the beginning of time how females were seen.

Women are a major subject to media representation. Everyday they are a focus of media which can be very degrading, public and highly sexual. From advertisements of selling jeans, jewellery, bags to lingerie. There are how many advertisements of tall, thin, half naked women trying to sell something to the population. Then there are some women who wonder why men look at all women the way they do, because all around them through the media, women are using their bodies to attract attention and therefore sell a product through there looks. Media has created a certain impression, whether it be fictional or through the news and current affairs. Representation is not a straightforward replication of the real, representation is a constructive act, based on an act of the imagination Bowles (2002 p. 74-75). Representation towards women is not random, but it’s based on an attempt to communicate to others in meaningful ways Bowles (2002 p. 76). A theory is basically an attempt to answer a question and reconstruct ways in which we can think and talk about what we observe. A good example about theory of representation by Mulvey was how and why women were represented in certain predictable ways. Many feminists questioned the effects of popular sex media and were asking whether there wasn’t a broader and more sinister connection between trends in pornography and in mainstream popular culture and the ways in which real women were treated Bowles (2002 p. 77). A woman in a bikini magazine can be said to be harmful to the model who posed for the shot, harm all women by representing them in a certain way and it may specifically hard the viewer of the image.

Gilman (1997) ‘The deep structure of stereotypes’, people see the world in different ways thanks to the way people have been brought up through their culture and how they were brought up from infants. From the moment we are born due to what culture we are brought up in, that all depends on how we will view the world and without stereotypes there is no meaning. Moore (2001), they defined stereotype as a person or thing seeming to conform to an unjustifiable fixed, standardised, widely accepted mental picture or type. An example could be the common stereotype for a young Australian female as blonde hair, blue eyes, tall, thin and surfie. Gilman (1997) states that stereotypes are a crude set of mental representations of the world. It can be observed in the shifting relationship of antithetical stereotypes that parallel the existence of ‘bad’ and ‘good’ representations of self and other. Stereotyping is a set popular image. Everyone knows say how the ‘cool’ popular girl would look like. Stereotyping is a constant reminder of how that set image is meant to look like. Whoever doesn’t fit the dominant image will fall outside of the range of what it takes to be say cool and popular. This is why stereotype often carries negative suggestions, as it is considered to be another way in which representation fails to do fairness to social complications. Bowles, ‘The Media & communications in Australia’ shows clearly the media in another view. Women degrade