La ventana. Revista de estudios de género
Print version ISSN 1405-9436
In this article we attempt a new reading of Naomi Wolf's central thesis in The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women, taking into account the stories told by women we interviewed as part of an ongoing investigation. Naomi Wolf argues that the "inflexible and cruel images of beauty" that define the "myth of beauty" represent a counterattack against feminism and the women's movement. Naomi Wolf's central arguments are, on one hand, the operation of a "repressive" power which censors and devalues real women, imprisoning them in the domain of private interests and, on the other hand, the resistance or submission as options to address this "sexual repression". We argue for a more complex approach to these issues, relying on Michel Foucault's theses on biopolitics and Judith Butler's developments on the "psychological mechanisms of power", and conclude that women's agency, as part of the decision to have cosmetic surgery, has a paradoxical character, which involves a submission to power and an engagement of agency under a "complicity" with the devices of power and knowledge.
Keywords : Beauty; cosmetic surgery; bio; subject; resistance.