“Phenomenal Woman” by Maya Angelou is an inspiring poem that relates to women of all ages and races. It’s powerful message of loving one’s body and self is much needed in today’s society. Women today are being bombarded with the ideas that they should be perfect. The media plays a major role on how women perceive themselves, and these unrealistic views on beauty and thinness are causing self-destructing behaviors that are harmful to all women. The only way to fix this epidemic is to teach women how to have a positive body image and learn to love the body they have.
Phenomenal Woman” is a poem that all women need to read over and over again because it embraces such a strong message of Maya Angelou being proud of who she is. The media has an effect on how society views reality. A disturbing effect of this “reality” is that media images of female beauty are unattainable for all but a very small group of women. This causes major self esteem issues for women who cannot attain the idea of perfect female beauty. Another disturbing effect is that television and movies constantly reinforce the importance of a thin body as a measure of a women’s worth.
The barrage of messages about thinness and beauty tell women that they are always in need of adjustment and that the female body is an object to perfected. The overwhelming presence of media images of painfully thin women mean that real women’s bodies have become invisible in the mass media. The real tragedy is that many women internalize these stereotypes and judge themselves by the beauty industry’s standards. Women learn to compare themselves to other women, and to compete with them for make attention. Women need to realize that these images are not “real” women.
This focus on beauty and desirability effectively makes real women self-destruct. In Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Women”, she is proud of herself and the way she is. “Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. / I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model size. / But when I start to tell them,/ They think I’m telling lies. / I say,/ It’s the reach of my arms, /The span of my hips, /The stride of my step. /The curl of my lips. / I’m a woman. / Phenomenally. / Phenomenal woman. / That’s me” (Angelou 780-781. 1-13). If women could learn to have this much self-confidence, then maybe the effect that mass media plays would be less significant.
Women in today’s society need to embrace a more positive body image. There are many ways to work on improving one’s body image. The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) has many resources available to teach women how to find ways to turn a negative body image into a positive one and to be happy with the body they are given. One example on their list is: “Become a critical viewer of social and media messages. Pay attention to images, slogans, or attitudes that make you feel bad about yourself or your body. Protest these messages: write a letter to the advertiser or talk back to the image or message”(“Positive Body Image“).
Another example from NEDA is, “Walk with your head held high, supported by pride and confidence in yourself as a person” (Maine, num. 5). This advise can very powerful is repeated enough times. Maya Angelou states something very similar in “Phenomenal Woman”. She says: Now you understand. / Just why my head’s not bowed. / I don’t shout or jump about/ Or have to talk real loud. / When you see my passing / It ought to make you proud. / I say, / It’s the click of my heels, / Then bend of my hair, / The palm of my hand, / The need for my care. / ‘Cause I’m a woman / Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, / That’s me (781-782. 46-60). Maya Angelou is very proud of herself and very accepting of her body and beauty. She has a very positive self body image. Women need to learn from this, and realize that they too, can feel this way about themselves. This poem is very inspirational and women can learn from it. She is content with who she is and does not need to compete with other women for men. “I walk into a room / Just as cool as you please, / And to a man, / The fellers stand or / Fall down on their knees. / Then they swarm around me, / A hive of honey bees” (781. 14-20).
She has no self-confidence issues and men flock to her because she is confident in who she is. Women need to learn to be proud of themselves and who they are. Women need to stop listening to the media and what they claim is perfect, sexy, ideal, beautiful or thin. If women would only put down the fashion magazines and turn off the television to read this powerful poem, and digest what it really mean, then they would have a chance to look inside themselves and be happy with what they are and have. “I’m a woman.
woman men and society
woman men and society.
. Write a five-page (double-spaced) paper on a critical analysis of your socialization within the first ten years of your life. You will do this by reconstructing your childhood within the existing social structure, its conditions and demands that influenced your opportunities and experiences – class, race, ethnicity, education, occupation, support networks, family income etc. Search for artifacts from your childhood – toys (texture and colour of material used), clothing (specify style and colour scheme), hair styles, photographs, your behavior, relationships as well as the activities relating to the social interactions and networks that you had during this period. Imagine how your typical day will be like, and how these artifacts have shaped your life and the nature of your current views, experiences and relations.
2. Marks will be deducted if students go over five (5) pages.
3. Cite at least five (5) academic bibliographical sources, which focus on the themes and theoretical perspectives of the course. Three (3) of the sources should be from your assigned readings. Your bibliographical sources should be on a separate sheet (page 6). Textbook – Kimmel, Michael S. and Holler, Jacqueline. 2017; two from the reader – Kimmel, Michael S., Aronson, Amy and Kaler, Amy. 2015 and two additional sources.
4. Use APA format for your referencing and bibliographies. A copy of the APA format will posted on virtual campus for easy reference.
5. Use one inch margins, and 12 pt Times New Roman font. Do not change the font size or margins.
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