Week 6 Blog P. Cultural Impacts of Feminine Beauty

“I do know that we miss the point if we think this is only about flesh exposure. Our words and conduct reveal our hearts (Matt.12). They are, as it were, a public unveiling of the heart. The outside exposes the inside”. (Peacock, 2016). The inner beauty of a woman goes far beyond the flesh of their skin, the beauty it comes from a woman’s heart and her mind, but a woman can become blinded by the social constraints of the world. Women who choose to conduct surgery upon them, should have a choice what to change, right? Women have the choice and power to change their body in any type of form or fashion, but is it really their choice? The society we live within has tarnished the true meaning of beauty and has socially contrasted what the “normal women” should be perceived as or consisted of. “ Women who are the subjects to these practices are not forced to engage in them by any external power but schooled to participate in them by themselves” (Andrade, 2010). Women, who are highly praised in their respective cultures, are glorified for having what the “IT” girls meaning big butts, large breast, or long hair. Women fell as though that by having those things they are being looked upon differently.

Women find the need of cosmetic surgery to fill a void essentially, in their own respect of choice. People seek a means to alter their appearance to conform to societal ideals of attractiveness. Women have surgery to please a certain type of group of people where they feel it is more comfortable at or they will do it to please themselves. “Some women are going under the knife to change the appearance of their genitals, while others are having surgery in the hopes of better orgasms”. (Braun, 2005)

Within the Islamic culture, many practices are treated differently, with specific intentions of each action. The Islamic culture placed in West Java comes from a long lineage of traditions placed down from generation to generation. The marking of women to become circumcised, in many eyes were considered egregious acts upon women (baby girls) or the act was a tradition of the Islamic culture that has been passed down. “Circumcision for boys and girls is a way of marking children as Muslims in preparation for the life of prayers and positioning them in a tightly knit rural religious community” (Newland, 2006). The culture of the Islamic community believes that by practicing this tradition of female circumcision it marks a woman for a life of prayer but also linking proceeding generations that have yet to come. “Each new baby has a position defined at birth which relates it to this structure (genealogical connection to the ancestors) and the succession of generations” (Newland, 2006).

For the female circumcision, it was a tradition that is carried down from generation to generation, but in many instances, other countries tried to eradicate the practice. Traditions that we frown upon because we do not understand it is not a valid reason, each set of cultures feel as though they are living the correct way of life. We as a society are scared of things that we do not understand. The Islamic culture believes in a certain way of life, a tradition that has cultivated their thought process and how they deal with everyday life. “Parents were fulfilling their obligations by circumcising boys and girls to conform to a moral order deeply identified with Islam and to position them appropriately in the Muslim community”. (Newland, 2006) With the zero tolerance campaign going into affect in 2003 it has led to many non-traditional of the practices, which lead to many invasive procedures.

 

Newland, Lynda. “Female Circumcision: Muslim Identities and Zero Tolerance Policies in Rural West Java.” Www.elsevier.com/locate/wsif Female Circumcision: Muslim Identities and Zero Tolerance Policies in Rural West Java (2006): 394-404. Women’s Studies International Forum. ELSEVIER, 11 July 2006. Web. 12 Aug. 2016.

  Braun, Virginia. “In Search of (Better) Sexual Pleasure: Female Genital ‘Cosmetic’ Surgery.” Sexualities 8.4 (2005): 407-24. MSU Library. Sage Publications, 11 Oct. 2005. Web. 12 Aug. 2016.

 Andrade, Daniela Dorneles. “On Norms and Bodies: Findings from Field Research on Cosmetic Surgery in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.” 1st ser. 28.35 (2010): 74-83. Anthropology.msu. Reproductive Health Matters, 11 Aug. 2016. Web. 2010.

  Peacock, A. (2016, March 1). Feminine Beauty: The Outside, The Inside, and God’s Design | Revive Our Hearts. Retrieved August 11, 2016, from https://www.reviveourhearts.com/true-woman/blog/feminine-beauty-outside-inside-and-gods-design/

2 thoughts on “Week 6 Blog P. Cultural Impacts of Feminine Beauty

  1. Hi William,

    I enjoyed reading your blog post very much! I believe you hit the nail on the head when you questioned how much choice women really have when deciding to alter their bodies. Yes, they are the ones consenting to going under the knife, paying for the operations, and dealing with the after pain. If society didn’t put so much emphasis on fitting into it’s exact mold of ideal feminine beauty, would these women really feel such a strong need to surgically alter their bodies? We in America are so judgmental of other cultures, especially those with practices such as female circumcision. Girls undergo these body altering procedures at a young age without much say in the matter, so that they may fit into the society. If they did not go through these rites of passage, they would be ostracized. Our problem with these practices lies in the fact that the girls do not have the option to choose what is done to their own body. But how different is that, really, from girls in America choosing to have surgeries to avoid being ostracized because the cultural pressure for them is so strong?

  2. Hi William,

    I found your post quite insightful. I find the quote you chose from Andrade very thought provoking, we are not taken to a tanning bed with a gun to our heads, but we do still find the overwhelming necessity to go. Bringing up the conflicting reasons women will go under the knife, wither to gain appeal externally or for their own personal benefit or motive, reminds me of a debate I have heard surrounding make-up, although it is not nearly as drastic or permanent, some women view make-up as a necessity and some view it as something for themselves, not for anyone else. Your summary of female circumcision and its position in Islamic culture is very interesting, and once again I found the quote you chose very on point. I feel every society is afraid of the unknown, and that is not just a societal trait, but a human one.

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