Posted by: meredithalawrence | October 22, 2012

Is Beauty Pain?

Is Beauty Pain?

Over the course of my childhood and education I have heard again and again that beauty is pain and I have been presented with ample examples and images re-enforcing this theory, for example corsets and the fact that Chinese women used to be expected to bind their feet, not to mention the beauty rituals women are expected to go through in modern society. But, until I read Chapter 21 I never considered the possibility that the mantra might extend to men.

In their discussion of masculinity O’Shaughnessy and Stadler comment on an ad for a men’s shaving product. They state that this ad “implies that men suffer self-inflicted pain and discomfort every das as part of the price they pay to embody an acceptable (clean-shaven) image of masculinity” (p. 379).

While it is undeniable that shaving has a good deal of possibility for pain for men, I think it pales in comparison to the number of potentially painful things women in our society are expected to do to make themselves beautiful or are told make them feminine, such as waxing or wearing increasingly high-heeled shoes. O”Shaughnessey and Stadler pay this trend little mind and do not compare it to the apparent male trend, which would have added some depth to the argument. I came out of the reading wondering if perhaps I missed something? Are men expected to inflict more pain on themselves than woman for the sake of appearance? Which group does the media expect more self-inflicted pain from?




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