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I'm working on a paper and I'm hoping you can help me. I'm using Maya Angelou's "Phenomenal Woman" and Marge Piercy's "barbie doll". Here are my key words: "pressure" put on women from society to become barbie dolls, how to deal with it, fake beauty, self esteem, real beauty, women becoming feminists because of all this. I would really appreciate it if you can help me :) Haya

Thanks for your note to FEMINIST.COM. I'm not sure exactly what you are looking for--but using the keywords that you sent and the overall topic of pressure on women to look a certain way, here's my free-write:

Fake Beauty--is the result of women wanting to look a certain way because they believe that is how they are supposed to look rather than how they naturally look. For instance, skinny legs, when they naturally have larger legs. Blonde hair when they naturally have brown hair.

Fake beauty doesn't mean necessarily "high maintenance" beauty, but it is a matter of how you use the products and why. Are you using them because you honestly want to or because you feel like you have to in order to fit a certain role.

Real Beauty--is using what we have. This may mean adorning ourselves, but it's all about choice. It could mean enhancing what we have, but it doesn't mean manipulating what we have. And the real mark of distinction is being happy with who we are rather than what we don't have.

Self-esteem is often how we influence this. For instance, people say that if one has high self-esteem they won't be consumed with their looks and vice versa being obsessed with your looks is the result of low self-esteem. In general that is certainly true, how we feel about ourselves is reflected in how we treat ourselves. However, its also a matter of how we think others view us. For instance, we could be happy with who we are, but are getting so many mixed messages that over time we don't know what to believe. So it's important that other people reinforce what we believe to be true about ourselves or we ignore people, but the latter doesn't seem to be an option.

I hope that helps with your project - good luck - Amy

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