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Anwen Su
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The negative consequences of body shaming women, especially public women, Meredith Simons argues, besides it just being extremely hurtful, is that it prevents us from hearing the ideas these women have and what they have to say. This is detrimental to who we are as a society because it causes us to miss out on new perspectives. Also, Simons argues, these put-downs shut the women down because they’re used as a means of distracting society from their ideas by focusing on the supposedly negative aspects of their bodies. Newsweek’s photo of Sarah Palin that zeroes in on her “facial hair” is a prime example of this. Little, if any, focus is put onto the woman’s actual ideas. And because women were once (and maybe still are) encouraged to keep up their appearances for men, this dynamic is one our society has yet to grow out of. Female politicians aren’t the only victims. Female athletes and meteorologists are picked on for their appearances, too. Simons argues that any time a woman publicly speaks her mind, she is criticized for her appearance while what she says remains ignored because society wants to keep women from having more power. My own view on this issue is that although prominent women are critiqued for their appearance a lot and it is sad, it is all part of being a public figure and we shouldn’t draw too much attention to it. As Simons says, these criticisms are a distraction from what the woman is saying or doing that is noteworthy. Maybe Sarah Palin made such a great argument that Newsweek had no choice but to criticize her appearance when they did coverage on her. This is a tactic that could be used against both Democrat and Republican women, and I think it’s very sad because we miss out on a lot of important opinions this way. And it’s not just the new perspectives we’re missing out on: simply having the attitude that it’s okay to flat-out ignore what a woman says and go straight to critiquing her appearance is really detrimental to our society and makes us a little more closed-minded with each snide remark. We critique yet another woman’s appearance, and the belief that it’s okay to have such a shallow attitude grows a little stronger each time. This sort of negative--and frankly, petty-- press coverage is harmful to the public and self image of the woman speaking, and it’s harmful to society because it prevents us from hearing important opinions and gives us the belief that it’s okay to treat people that way.
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Nov 2, 2017