Gender In The Mirror Analysis

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Feminist theorist Diana Meyers studied the agency of women in “Gender in the Mirror: Cultural Imagery and Women’s Agency.” Meyers theorizes that women gain their agency in two primary ways: beauty and narcissism. Meyers applies this theory to the twenty-first century and correlates the rise of cosmetic surgery and the beauty industry to women’s desperation for agency through appearing beautiful. Under this theory, women intermingle their existence with their agency and “unlike Narcissus, who believes he is in love with a beautiful, submerged Other, women are positioned to believe that they will perish if the image in the glass disappears” (Meyers 123). Then, through self-serving actions devoted to achieving beauty ideals, women unintentionally…show more content…
Since beauty is the source of Lady Audley’s agency, Alicia attempts to corrupt that beauty and, therefore, strip Lady Audley of some of her agency. After showing Robert and George Lady Audley’s portrait, Alicia believes that even though they have never seen Lady Audley look so sinister “that sometimes a painter is in a manner inspired, and is able to see, through normal expression of the face, another expression that is equally part of it, though not to be perceived by common eyes” (Braddon 66). The decision to show George and Robert the portrait was intentional and done so that Alicia could change any perception they had already or would develop about Lady Audley. It is in these moments where Lady Audley’s beauty falters that Robert is able to see through her façade. These falters in beauty result in Lady Audley being stripped of her agency and institutionalized. Had it not been for Lady Audley’s failure to maintain a constant state of beauty through self-serving behaviors, Alicia would not have been able to regain her position as head of her father’s estate. In an adverse way, Lady Audley sought to eliminate Alicia as competition for Sir Michael’s affection by turning him against Alicia to the point that he “had grown to look upon his daughter as a somewhat wilful and capricious young person who had behaved with determined unkindness to the wife he loved” (Braddon 249). Lady Audley alters Sir Michael’s perception of his daughter; however, Alicia is more successful in her endeavors with manipulating Robert’s perception of Lady Audley resulting in her removal from court. Once Lady Audley is removed from court, Alicia immediately “resumed her old empire as a spoiled child, and reminded her father of a promise he had made of taking her through Germany. With considerable difficulty
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