Subject Mid-term Paper
Posted by Irene Hsu
Posted on Sat Jun 17 00:00:03 2000
From IP  

Irene Hsu
Literature Criticism
Mid-term Report
Ms.Kate Liu
6/12 2000
Ideology of Female Value on "Thinner, More beautiful"
Ideology is an important concept in Marxism criticism, and it refers to a culture's collective or social consciousness. Undoubtedly, men's life is governed consciously or unconsciously by some ideologies. Recently, I research the information about commercials of weight losing, and I find out that female value seems to be controlled unconsciously by male material need and by the economic activities. Related it to what I learn from this course, Therefore, I would like to discuss how female value is affected.
"I want to lose weight", is the sentence often heard in women's conversations. In Taiwan, you can also find that no matter what age of females are trying to lose weight to have "perfect" figure. Even, you can not believe that a thin woman still wants to lose weight because she thinks that she is not thin enough. At present, women in Taiwan are fascinated in losing weight. The specific culture phenomenon of weight losing conveys the concept of "more thiner,more beautiful." Therefore, a lot of women or girls would fast or take medicine for losing wiehgt. For instance, a lot of female singer or stars are thin enough, but still try to lose weight. "Thiner, more beautiful" is the very ideology that makes each woman sacrifice her health and money even torture herself only for owing a slender figure in present society. It seems that women's target of life is to pursue or to maintain the perfect body. Why this kind of ideology of perfect figure will be valued like this? It may be influenced by advertisement, one of economic activities and the value of patriarchy.
In the capital society governed by males in Taiwan, everything can be used in the economic activities. Inevitably, the prevalence of weight losing is taken good use by the capitalists. Besides, the advertisement or commercial itself is a kind of economic activities used to promote the products. Therefore, they may be the best way to formulate the audiences' consuming activities, because they are around us in the life. Sometimes, the commercials or advertisement will control consumer's behavior. Recent years, there is a series of the commercial of weight losing in Taiwan, we can find that the female models are presented with sexy clothes and their parts of figure, such as hips or waists, are emphasized on camera. Obviously, the female bodies are commercialized as product for promotion of the Body Sculpture Companies in order to increase the sales. The commercials in every kind of media, such as TV, newspaper, magazine and so on, instill the concept of "thinner, more beautiful" into not only women but also men. No one, even women themselves, has the chance to question if the idea is right or wrong, because the concept is widely accepted in the our value on the definition of beauty. Hence, the femals are willing to spend a lot of money to shape their figure or to lose weight. Thus, it just satisfies the purpose of the capitalists. The females unconsciously become the group of being oppresed in the capital society, because the value of thiner figure which conveys by the commercial has deeply rooted in their minds.
With the influence of commericals in each media, which presents the female "standare figure" and encourage females to pursue the beauty (being slender), we can find that keeping slender figure is the value that every womn can not resist. According to Althusser's statement of interpellation, the ideology interpellates the individual through the groups of the media, the school, the family and so on. Invisibly, individual life is affected by those groups around us.
From past to now, women always look after the perfect body so that they will sacrifice everything to reach the social standard of being beauty. Therefore, losing weight is not only for the heathy, but is for the concept of mental need of being more beautiful. But why women have to keep slender figure so hardly? In fact, female's figure always restricted male perspectives in the society. Actually, the concept of " more slender, more beautiful" is the stereotype in the patriarchy. If female owns "perfect body, (a slender body)," their life can be more perfect. It may refer that a slender female can have more self-confidence exsiting in the society and can gain the sense of social identification. Actually, under the value of the patriarchy, a female' perfect life is to marry a good husband and to have a nice family. Generally speaking, males like beauties, and will scorn those female who are under the standard of beauty. For example, fat women are always being laughed at so that they can not get the sense of identification. Thus, women's self-confidence in the society is somewhat impinged on the definition of beauty. Additionally, females may be the objects of being watced by males. For exmaple, in the commercials, a half-naked female body is gazed from male perspectives. At this point, the role of female is used to serve males and to fullfil male desire. Therefore, with the ideology of " thinner, more beautiful" controlling the social value on females, men always hope that their wives or girlfriedns can be as more beautiful as the commericail models. In order to satisfy males, at the same time, female may lose selfness and only emphasized on how to please males and how to draw their attention. As a result, women have to reach the standard figure to find their confidence. Undeniably, the male power or value is appeared to control female life, and suggests that what female life is governed consciously or unconsciously by the male or the whole social value.
In this way, women are created, as targets to satisfy male material and spiritual need. It also means that in the class society, the position between males and females is very different and unfair. Through the consumption of body sculpture to gain the "perfect body", female selfness is totally built up under male views. Based on Althusser's definition, ideology is "a representation of the imaginary relationship of individuals to their real conditions of existence." It is just like the ideology of "being slender is beautiful," to mold females to satisfy the need of their real existence. Through the consumption, each individual can recognize her relationship with the social environment. Therefore, males in the patriarchy, in order to maintain their power in the whole social value and to keep the original value, will take females as the secondary class to oppress them as the products. Therefore, the ideology of "thinner, more beautiful" which is set up for cater male desire, is just the mean for male to deprive female confidence of pursuing their career and success in the patriarchy.
What I mention before may indicate that how the female position or role is viewed in the economical society and how they are controlled by male desire in the value of the patriarchy. The ideology of "thinner, more beautiful" is just controlling females' value and their life in present society. In Marxism, one sentence is that " the ideology of ruling class is the ideology in the contemporary society. For females, the ruling class is the patriarchy in the society. Under male value, female position or role is oppressed. Moreover, the ideology of "thinner, more beautiful" is the social value which is conveyed through the media, school, family and so on really govern women very much in Taiwan society. Would you like to lose weight? Please think for a while if you are influenced by the ideology.

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