The Beauty Myth

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Allie Lamberson W131 Stephanie Horvath September 21, 2012 Comparative Essay Both "The Beauty Myth" by Naomi Wolf and "There Is No Unmarked Woman" by Deborah Tannen share the theme of trapped women, with trapped meaning to be held back within themselves. But, the theme is represented in different ways by both authors. In "The Beauty Myth" women face a power struggle, constantly having to fight to prove that they are good enough in very many parts of their lives. Tannen expresses her beliefs in "There Is No Unmarked Woman" by identifying all women as "marked", thus trapping them in a label they can never escape. Tannen explains that every choice a woman makes will just make an addition to what she is marked as. Tannen’s main argument is that all women are permanently marked. This tag is not necessarily unchanging. It can be altered with every decision a woman makes. The term marked is a device used to put women into categories based on an initial overview, or judgment, of her. The process is basically stereotyping. Women are picked apart on every aspect of their lives. To begin, women can spark their mark at the very start of their day. Choosing what to wear and how to wear it is just the beginning. Every outcome sends a message. Deciding on clothing is followed by thousands of beauty products (or not a single one). Tannen goes on to explain that by simply stating their title women give away stories about themselves. As few as two letters and a point of punctuation lets observers uncover your past or present. “Ms.” leaves the mystery of a woman’s marital status. Whereas the surnames “Mrs.” or “Miss” state whether said woman has been married before and can provide a brief summary on her values based on how she chooses to be addressed. The surname “Dr.” lets one know a woman’s occupation, thus leading to an expectation of her personality. Tannen
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