Women’s Struggle for Identity through Appearance
How does the writer explore their thoughts and feelings through identity? Germaine Greer talks about ‘demands’ that are made upon women to change their bodies in order to look pleasing to the eyes of others. This idea that women should look a certain way and that there is only one right way. She explores the women of both the working class and the middle class and the way they struggle for identity through appearance. Greer explores her thoughts and feelings though identity by the use of language. She uses words such as ‘grossness’ and ‘curvaceous’ to describe women’s thoughts about their bodies.
It almost seems like Greer is Just talking about the pressure for women to conform. She doesn’t describe in a way that shows she disagrees with women’s thoughts about their bodies and the pressure to counter their bodies in order to fit in to the two categories curvy or thin.
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She talks about how the curvy girl who ought to be thin and the thin girl who ought to be curvy. Greer is trying to get across the message that women’s struggling with appearance in order to have the perfect body is a never ending cycle. You can be ‘curvy or thin’ but the pressure to change your body never fades.
She mentions how ‘a woman is tailoring herself to appeal to buyers’ market. Greer suggests that women are all going through this in order to catch the attention of males. She uses the terms tailoring and ‘buyers’. This idea that women are pressured to change their bodies in order to look pleasing to men. She goes on to say that this ‘buyer’ is likely to be the husband, whose accepts her for her image. She describes women as passive objects of males. I think Greer is trying show the sad reality of women; women are the ones who keep succumbing to this pressure to change their image.
They are insecure and are constantly trying to change themselves. She states that women’s bodies are treated as ‘aesthetic objects without function’; this causes damage to their bodies and the owners. Greer talks about this idea of the body meeting the soul and a ‘stereotype being born’. I think she’s trying to get a cross this idea that women have this fantasy about beauty, she continues on to mention to her belongs all that is beautiful even the word beauty itself. She writes about how nature exists only to make a women appear more beautiful.
For example she says “flowers die gladly so that her skin may uxuriate in their essence”. I think she’s trying to get across the idea that this fantasy that women have is also what is making them succumb to the pressure. This idea of a woman’s weakness being her beauty is also explored in the play Street car named desire’ by William Tennessee. He introduces the character of Blanche who’s similar to the women mentioned by Greer. Blanche doesn’t want to accept the fact that her beauty is fading. At one point her sister Stella asks her husband to compliment her on her appearance. She mentions ‘it’s her weaknesses.
In the same way as these omen described by Greer, Blanche is using her beauty and sexuality to capture male attention. She understands and seems to accept that she has to keep her beautiful image in order to find a male suitor. reer’s idea ot nature existing to make women beautitul links well wit n the novel ‘Beloved’ by Toni Morrison. In the book the character of beloved is described with having skin as smooth’s as babies. Beloved is naturally beautiful in the same way that Greer described nature making women beautiful. The fantasy of beauty the Greer described beloved seems to possess.