The Struggle Between Character and Personality
Thomas Paine once stated, “Character is much easier kept than recovered.” Even today, the statement rings true. It is better to have character than to not have any ethics at all. Yet, in twenty-first century society, the dividing line between character and personality is unfortunately all too present. It is now more important to possess a strong and loud personality than it is to possess strong character. Especially in men, this lack of character results in a lack of wholeness. The goal of men is not to attain wisdom and a clear conscience; rather, it is to “look good” and act accordingly. Traditionally, the beauty aisle in a store has been strictly limited to the women’s market; however, in the latter half of the 20th century through today, an increasing emphasis on men’s “beauty” has developed. How a man ought to look and what he ought to use are becoming exceedingly important to both men and women, so much so that character is thrown out the door.
Personality and character are supposed to mesh together and coincide. Lynne Luciano, author of the essay, “Male Body Image in America,” writes: “Character implies self-discipline and a sense of inner direction, whereas personality revolves around the ability to please others---not necessarily through real accomplishment but by winning friends and influencing people” (Luciano 310). Men should have a beautiful blend of the two; however, with the cultural shift, men strive after achieving the perfect personality. In order to attain this personality, men go to drastic measures. Beauty products, cosmetic surgery, and bodybuilding are just a handful of ways in which men reinforce this “personality.” Luciano states, “American men spent $3 billion on grooming aids and fragrances in 1997…Sales of exercise equipment and health-club memberships raked in $4 billion…In 1996, the bill for male cosmetic surgery was $500 million” (306). It is both amazing and...
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