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Summary Of Dan Edelmans' "The Thin Red Line"

657 words - 3 pages

Many people change their appearances and lives due to the influences of the social powers that our society has created. The definition of what is beautiful can involve standards that may appear impossible to reach for most people. These standards can require people to go to the extreme of risking their lives with cosmetic surgery or developing eating disorders to obtain their goal of being what they perceive as beautiful.

People do many things based off of the influences of society, these can consist of: Circumcision, Eating Disorders, Body Building, Cosmetic Surgery, and Body Art. The major influences of these are The Media, Religions, and what people in societies have determined is socially acceptable.

Abbie J. Chessler (1997) “Conformity is a powerful social force that perpetuates circumcision of both male and females” (Para. 6). For women in certain places being uncircumcised meant that the individual was unmarriageable. The purpose ...view middle of the document...


In some cases Body building can be considered a way of feeling in control. It can be a fight for masculinity, or a way to try and fit the social standard of what is accepted. Many males body build because they are insecure about their bodies, they have doubt in their masculinity which is the result from society’s set image of what is masculine or not. In our Society body building is considered to be male dominant. Ibid (n.d.) “For a male bodybuilder, “monster” is a compliment; for his female counterpart, monster means unfeminine, ugly, deficient, out of control, too much.”(Para. 14)

Cosmetic surgery is another way people risk their lives at an attempt to become more beautiful. Society is at fault for creating an image that is considered flawless. The image that is given from the media creates a state of self-consciousness which leads to surgery that changes your appearance in exchange of temporary self satisfaction and feeling of being in control.

Body art is thought of as a way to express oneself, Greif, Judith, Hewitt, Walter, & Armstrong, Myrna L.(1999) ”Pursuit of empowerment is demonstrated in an empirical study of tattooing and body piercing practices among 766 college students in the US and Australia, which revealed that 296 (53%) who got tattoos and 189 (48%) who got body piercings did so as a means of self-expression.” (Para 26). I can also be a mark of distinction, tribes, clans or gangs often use tattoos or piercings to represent. When one conforms they receive the certain symbol.
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This article has many relations to our class studies so far. The interactionists view on how what is perceived is social reality, which in many of these cases a set image was the reasoning to many of the problems. Another Example of how this article compares to what we are learning in class is The Conflict Perspective. This articles points out many occasions of inequality and shows how power is what is controlling society. I believe that the solution of these problems would be to be more realistic in areas that have the power of influence in society, this will cause less problems with self esteem issues and create more of a healthy base of what is perceived as acceptable to society.

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