Susan Sonntag’s writing is correct but also wrong in A Woman’s Beauty: Put-Down or Power Source? She is right yet her perspective is dated, having written this article in 1975 for and audience of all women in vogue magazine. Sontag fails to recognize the current day reality of what level of responsibility men hold for women’s beauty and on what level women hold responsibility for one another’s beauty. She focuses on the perception of beauty in the classical Greek culture and in early Christian times. Sontag is correct in her writing when discussing society’s view on beauty. It is not wrong for a woman to want to be beautiful but it is when it comes down to cultures expectations to be, as explained in the following quote; “It is not, of course, the desire to be beautiful that is wrong but the obligation to be- or to try” (238). Instead, Sontag shows that the desire for women is to simply be confident. A woman is not considered beautiful as a whole but instead, they are taught to find minor flaws that detract from their beauty, and by extension, chip away at self-confidence. We in society do not consider a woman beautiful by the sum of her parts. Instead, we focus on the make up of a woman by looking at individual parts (breasts, buttocks, eyes, etc.). This leads us to view a woman not as a whole but as a combination of parts. Therefore, we point to certain flaws, she may have a pretty face and well-fit body yet if she has a large scar on her face is takes away from her beauty. Sontag claims this in women but not necessarily in men. She states “In men, good looks is a whole, something
taken in at a glance” (239). This is not correct. Men may have a nice face but does there body fulfill to impress, does their personality match up. In men the personality needs to over power the looks. She also believes a woman’s life can be controlled by the need to be beautiful. This is correct. A woman who is more attractive in life is...
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