Under the Black Blanket

12/25/11

The Perils of Beauty

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"Taught from infancy that beauty is woman's sceptre, the mind shapes itself to the body, and roaming round its gilt cage, only seeks to adorn its prison." --- Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Women, 1792

"A century ago, normal female activity, especially the kind that would lead women into power, was classified as ugly and sick. If a woman read too much, her uterus would 'atrophy.' If she kept on reading, her reproductive system would collapse and, according to the medical commentary of the day, 'we should have before us a repulsive and useless hybrid'...Participation in modernity, education and employment was portrayed as making Victorian women ill...Victorians protested women's higher education by fervidly imagining the damage it would do to their reproductive organs...and it was taken for granted that 'the education of women would sterilize them' and make them sexually unattractive: 'When a women displays scientific interest, then there is something out of order in her sexuality.'" --- Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth, 1991

Saudi officials say they are considering a law that will force women with attractive eyes to cover their faces completely in public places. Sheikh Motlab al Nabet, a spokesperson for Saudi Arabia's Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, said the proposal for the law has already been undergoing formal discussions. The committee says the law will authorize the government to prevent women from revealing "tempting" eyes in public. -- -- Various news accounts, November, 2011.

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