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"Closed mouth-wise head " - M4hl3r

The Stuff

  • Date Submitted: 04/07/2016 09:45 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 43.3 
  • Words: 392
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Camille Paglia's essay "The Pitfalls of Plastic Surgery" she addresses some of the issues associated with cosmetic surgery. She starts off with a quick blurb about how humans are now their own "work of art," and then goes on to speak of the prevalence of this luxury that was once reserved for the rich and famous. Paglia does not say that she is against cosmetic surgery, however she does point out issues of racism and sexism to be the underlying issues at play. For example, women of color getting surgery to have "whiter" features. Another problem she points to is the role that Hollywood plays in setting unattainable beauty and youth standards for women. Although at one time the older, sexy, sophisticated woman was highly revered, that spot has been taken by young, innocent nubile women. She also compares Hollywood's beauty standards to those of Europe, and states how the idea of the perfect, youthful woman is a recent development in our culture, attributing it to our lack of interest or knowledge of the fine arts, on which the European standard of beauty is based. Paglia closes the essay by asserting that although she is not against cosmetic surgery, she is very concerned about the standardized image of beauty and the homogenization of women, urging that cosmetic surgeons study up on their art and psychology of women.

Paglia has many good observations and arguments in this essay, although the title is a bit misleading. "The Pitfalls of Plastic Surgery" is mostly about the issue of beauty standards in the United States, rather than about plastic surgery itself. She treads on the issue very lightly, never coming across as either for or against cosmetic surgery, rather focusing on how it could be used in a more responsible way. She never sounds demeaning or dogmatic, and knows that it is not her place to tell another woman what to do or what not to do with their own body. Although she does provide plenty of evidence to show how off-kilter our beauty standards are,...

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