Destructive Nature of Racialised Beauty Toni Morrison published her first book, The Bluest Eye, in 1970. In this novel, Toni Morrison shows how societies racist and false beliefs on beauty can be seriously destructive if believed and taken to heart. Toni Morrison displays the destructive nature of racialised beauty through the character in the novel named Pecola Breedlove. Pecola lacks self esteem and believes that she is the blackest and ugliest girl, and she believes that white is the only beautiful race. Morrison challenges Western standards of beauty and demonstrates that the idea of beauty is socially constructed. Toni Morrison shows how when one race is used as the standard of beauty, the value of the other races is diminished. The standard …show more content…
The novel shows black people who are aware of the danger of conforming to Western standards of beauty. In the beginning of the novel, Claudia describes herself as indifferent; She realizes that she does not really hate Maureen but instead hated “the thing that made her beautiful” (Morrison, page 58). Claudia always asked herself “What was the secret? ...Why was it important? And so what?” (Morrison, page 57) It was the ideology of whiteness that made Maureen Paul beautiful. When Claudia and Frieda were younger, they were happy with their blackness. “We felt comfortable in our skins, enjoyed the news that our senses released to us, admired our dirt, cultivated our scars, and could not comprehend this unworthiness” (Morrison, page 57). This may suggest that Claudia resists the pressure to conform to Western standards of beauty. Claudia recognizes that if we conform to the Western standard of beauty, we may gain beauty but only at the expense of others. However, Claudia learns to love Shirley Temple; Claudia “learned much later to worship her” (Morrison, page 16) This suggests that the idea of beauty is something that is learned and not natural or
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She outlines her culture as something that is truly remarkable. During a time where society puts a strain on physical appearance, Silko proves that the meaning of beauty is something that has less to do with physical appearance and more to do with
One of the categories in being the ideal woman is being conventionally beautiful because, according to the media, a significant portion of a woman’s self-worth rests in appearance. This can be seen through women’s magazines in particular, which promote altering one’s appearance leads to the significant improvement of one’s “love life and relationships, and ultimately, life in general” (Bazzini 199). Therefore, the media presents a direct relationship with beauty and success: the more attractive a woman is, the better her life will be. Thus, a woman must the take initiative to look beautiful in order to be successful. Through the repetitive exposure of the same type of image in the media, what society considers beautiful often resembles a definitive checklist.
In 1970 Claudia was given a white baby doll and was continually only given toys that showed white children. Today’s society does the same thing. Little girls in the digital age are only given images of white girls. This paralyzed act to not represent all children has to do with how the mass producing media was created. Lorna Roth describes the industry with “an apparent lack of awareness of the dominance of Whiteness” by the people that create the photography and visual imagery (Roth 126).
We had already acquired the habit of doubting ourselves as well as the place we came from” (pg 96). Although all four sisters were beautiful individuals, America’s perception of “beauty” caused self doubt in the young girls. They were too busy trying to look like something they were not to enjoy their true
In both The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison and Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me a main theme is image. Morrison uses Claudia, an African American child, to show a distinct hatred for the beauty standard. She had such a strong disdain for Shirley Temple and the white doll she was given as a gift. Her detest for these things was because she could never have those things, the beauty was unattainable.
I realized that society determines what it means to be beautiful, through social media, Hollywood, and advertisement. In her essay, McIntosh discuesses her personal experiences and with it she invites the reader to partake in her apprehensions and fears of what it means to have privilege. While reading the essay, It has been brought to my attention about how I am being viewed within a different standard because of the way I look. McIntosh illustrates how she was “as an unfairly advantaged person, or as a participant in a damaged culture” (31). Sometimes, I too have even been put on a pedestal, not because my have made an accomplishment, but because I stand out doing so.
To begin with, Morrison presents with the character of Pecola a feeble, low self-esteem person who is under the spell of the stereotype of white beauty. She considers herself ugly because she does not have the physical attributes of this aesthetic ideal. Moreover, she is influenced by the gaze of the other: how the others see her reinforce the idea that she is not beautiful, lowering even more her self-esteem. As a result, she stands for the tragedy of the self-conscious individual. This is, she is not aware that she does not need to have the white beauty attributes in order to be somebody due to she is an individual by herself.
The narrative “Yellow Woman and a Beauty of the Spirit” written by Leslie Marmon Silko develops the central ideas of beauty and cultural inheritance by using three structural elements: reflection a voice in first person point of view and vivid flashbacks. She accepts her differences as a Laguna Pueblo and being part white through interactions with different individuals in her life. Silko relies heavily on her strong memories with the use of these structural elements as she makes her story about beauty and cultural inheritance clear, convincing and engaging. Silko also uses reflection to bring up an important event from when she was a child.
This creates racist views in Claudia as a child. “ Adults, older girls, shops, magazines, newspapers, window-signs- all the world had agreed that a blue-eyed, yellow-haired, pink-skinned doll was what every girl child treasured. “ Here” they said, “ this is beautiful, and if you are on this day “ worthy” you may have it’” (20-21). The baby dolls that are present in this novel show the racist standard views of beauty. Adults and peers of Claudia find this white doll to be beautiful because this is the standard of what society accepts.
Rhetorical Analysis Essay The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison takes place in Ohio in the 1940s. The novel is written from the perspective of African Americans and how they view themselves. Focusing on identity, Morrison uses rhetorical devices such as imagery, dictation, and symbolism to help stress her point of view on identity. In the novel the author argues that society influences an individual 's perception on beauty, which she supports through characters like Pecola and Mrs. Breedlove.
There are many aspects of how beauty has played an important role within the African American history. Since early time periods, beauty has constantly been implied within various aspects of cultures that has been passed down from generation to generation. Based on today’s society, there has been a lot of influence within the beauty industry that has been shown to have some sort of effect based upon the social, economic, and political context of African American individual throughout the twentieth century. Through the aspect of trying to be the “perfect woman”, there have been large number of debates that are associated with trying to become the ideal woman within the twentieth century. Now a days, everything is based upon how good a woman
Many other characters are affected by the fact that they are not what society has deemed beautiful. The character Geraldine is a clear example of an adult who has become obsessed with chasing the ideals of white beauty. In the book, she has shaped her whole life around being as perfect as possible and in doing so, she abandons her sense of self and gives up her culture. She becomes uncaring for those around her, and focusses only on the “order, precision and constancy” of her life (85). She feels no love towards her husband or her son, and only likes the family’s cat.
Toni Morrison, in numerous interviews, has said that her reason for writing The Bluest Eye was that she realized there was a book she wanted very much to read that had not been written yet. She set out to construct that book – one that she says was about her, or somebody like her. For until then, nobody had taken a little black girl—the most vulnerable kind of person in the world—seriously in literature; black female children have never held centre stage in anything. Thus with the arrival of the character Pecola Breedlove, a little hurt black girl is put to the centre of the story. Pecola’s quest is to acquire “Shirley Temple beauty” and blue eyes – ideals of beauty sponsored by the white world.
Toni Morrison, the first black women Nobel Prize winner, in her first novel, The Bluest Eye depicts the tragic condition of the blacks in racist America. It examines how the ideologies perpetuated by the dominant groups and adopted by the marginal groups influence the identity of the black women. Through the depictions of white beauty icons, Morrison’s black characters lose themselves to self-hatred. They try to obliterate their heritage, and eventually like Pecola Breedlove, the child protagonist, who yearns for blue eyes, has no recourse except madness. This assignment focusses on double consciousness and its devastating effects on Pecola.