The Beauty Myth

How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women

Naomi Wolf

“It’s the beauty myth, an obsession with physical perfection that traps the modern woman in an endless spiral of hope, self-consciousness, and self-hatred as she tries to fulfill society’s impossible definition of “the flawless beauty.”


  • “Sex researcher Alfred Kinsey found, in the words of political analyst Debbie Taylor, that “re- ligious beliefs had little or no effect on a man’s sexual pleasure, but could slice as powerfully as the circumcision knife into a woman’s en- joyment, undermining with guilt and shame any pleasure she might otherwise experience.”
  • “The external cues of beauty pornography and sadomasochism reshape female sexuality into a more manageable form than it would take if truly released.” –women conform to the sexuality presented to them by men, &what men can give them – suggested that women are capable of far more sexuality and pleasure when not limited by men’s abilities or laziness

    “Until the mid-1960s, pornography was primarily a male experience; women’s contact with it was confined to the covers of men’s magazines on newsstands.”



“Women are mere “beauties” in men’s culture so that culture can be kept male.”

“Culture stereotypes women to fit the myth by flattening the feminine into beauty-without-intelligence or intelligence-without-beauty; women are allowed a mind or a body but not both.” –subjects of social prejudice/ignorance

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