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Analysis Of "A Woman’s Beauty: Put Down Or Power Source?" By Susan Sontag

975 words - 4 pages

In her essay “A Woman’s Beauty: Put Down or Power Source?” Susan Sontag masterfully with just few strokes undoes the signification of the mythology of the feminine. She ponders the opposite pair of concepts of beautifulness and handsomest in a deconstructionist fashion. She describes the violent coexistent in which both concepts concur. However, after effectively have exposed the way these oppositions function and understanding the distortion of the myth of the feminine, Sontag fails in giving a “real” solution. Erroneously, she concludes that the only way to destroy this myth is by women getting a critical distance from the concept of beauty. Ignoring that the universe of women is not ...view middle of the document...

” (Barthes 232). She forgets that not a whole population knows how to decipher myths; that the majority of people “consumes [myths] according to the very ends built into its structure: [people live] the myth as a story at once true and unreal.” (Barthes 238). It is not “everybody” that is equipped with the necessary intellectual tools to decipher myths. That what she calls whole society does not speak about things; instead, they speak the thing: I am hungry, they may say.
Sontag shatters the paradox about what beauty is in women. Unquestionably, for her, beauty is not a power source; it is a way to put down the position of women in society because this power is just supposed in connection to men. She asserts that if this is a kind of power, “it is a power that negates itself… it is not one that can be chosen freely.” (118-19). Here, with deconstructionist sense, Sontag reveals the violent coexistent between the concepts of women and men. And this opposition is directly addressed in the last paragraph where she signalize a ghostly masculine power source and shout that this “is a crude trap, and it has worked for too long.” (118-19). At that point, Sontag concludes that the only way women can get out of this entrapment is getting a critical distance from the concept of beauty; recognizing how power relations have deformed the meaning of beauty to create the myth of the feminine.
But this is not an historical answer to this paradox. Still the myth has not been decided. Susan Sontag stagnated inhabit in the midst of a paradox creating another paradox. The only solution that she can peers in the horizon of a mythology is producing another myth. The only way out of this social construct can just be solved taking a critical distance from a concept? Sontag loosely proposes a revolutionary action staying inside the walls of her bourgeois ideology:
True, there are revolts against bourgeois ideology. This is what one ...

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