Power does not just go to the strongest one. In fact, it is much more complicated than that. This can best be seen in the way women are made to believe that there is an ideal woman to follow. Where once this ideal had to be followed for the sake of men, the world now dictates that women have to follow this ideal for their own sake. However, the very notion of an ideal and the fact that there are some standards, and the framework of the ideal to follow give unlimited power over women by the beauty industry. After all, by and large, women are insecure and have a number of complexes, including an inferiority complex.
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Those who are insecure are very easy to manipulate and convince that it’s with the next product, you’re at least a little but close to the ideal. The ideal is not achievable, and so that a woman is not doing, it can only approach the ideal, spending a lot of effort and money, however ideal it will not be. This is very well reflected in the power of Wall Street, which dictates its conditions to almost the whole world. After all, it was enough to convince the whole world that the U.S. economic system as a whole is perfect and close to the ideal, if not the ideal itself, which means that other economic systems can only come close to this ideal, but will not become ideal. That said, it is the ideal, the perfection, even if it is only exemplary in general, that gives rise to the conditions for the subjugation of the rest. All that is needed is for politics, the media, and big corporations to work together, since, in essence, they have the same goals, to make everyone think that the ideal exists. In order to make everybody think that power is in their hands, it is enough to make everybody think that there is some sort of ideal to follow and if we even try to be close to that ideal, then power will be in the hands of those who dictate what the perfection is.
Dictating your terms is like dictating your fashion. Many people make the mistake of thinking that this only works in the fashion industry. Karen Ho as an anthropologist has seen that Wall Street narrows the scope of what an employee and society as a whole should look like, “As KAREN Ho’s writing demonstrates, finance and education now intersect in a way few outsiders know much about some of America’s most powerful and prestigious universities have close ties with Wall Street firms” (Ho, 160). Yes, Wall Street’s system is perfect, but it is unlikely that anything can really reach the ideal. Nevertheless, they are the ones who dictate the terms and their ideas of what an employee should look like. It is the stockbroker who is essentially the ideal employee who makes money out of thin air. If one imagined that Wall Street did not exist in the world, there would be someone else who would also dictate conditions and standards for each person, and thus for society as a whole. While it is unfair enough for anyone alone to decide what is best, in essence, some kind of standard allows us to not exist in chaos. After all, if there is no standard of the best, there will be nothing to strive for, and thus to get better at. Not surprisingly, it is these concepts that are at the heart of the American Dream. We must constantly improve ourselves to succeed, without progress there is no way to grow and become better. On the one hand, this is helpful, but on the other hand, any power corrupts and forces discretion, and this in turn creates many unnecessary standards that are based more on the discretion of those who wield that power. For example, Karen Ho gives the example of how people are hired in banking. She believes that people are very smart in this regard and look primarily at education. However, it is not enough just to have a regular university, even if a person was trained in the right specialty. A person has to study at a particular university, of which there are only 20 in the whole country (Ho, 162). That is, it gives rise to a special prestige of a profession, which can only be reached by entering a prestigious university. It is almost impossible for an ordinary person to create a career unless he or she has chosen the very university which has connections with the very bank. This is what prestige is all about, and even though there is no elite as such, in fact, the elite continues to exist as long as people maintain these connections. A trivial example is when hotels only allow guests to sell drinks. This is not profitable, because if any hotel guest could buy drinks, it would bring in more money. However, the hotel owners believe that they have to make the guests feel important and important, and then the customers will come back and it will make money every year. What is available to everyone is of little value either as a product or as a person. They are usually looking for the best employees, and language skills and work experience will be an advantage. After all, the resumes of those who did not get into the right university will not even be considered, which means that the choice will be made on other grounds, for example by grades. Not accepting employees with degrees from other universities is also power, and in fact, any power is based on the fact that those who have it convince others that they have this power, the rest just believe in it and so give them power. Even though this is a vicious circle, the world worked this way all the time, only before that there were slave masters and before that, there were Roman dictators. Their power more often than not was not held by being better, more often than not they did not even reach the right ideal, yet virtually everyone thought they were perfect and entitled to that power.
Even though power is closely tied to the ideal, and the ideal is unrealistic to achieve, things work differently for women. Women constantly strive for the ideal, because they are persuaded that this ideal exists somewhere. Nevertheless, even perfect women are likely to think they are not perfect. However, like Wall Street, women are dictated how they must be for society to admire them. According to Tolentino, “Self-exposure and self-policing meet in a feedback loop,” Weigel wrote. ”Because these pants only ‘work’ on a certain kind of body, wearing them reminds you to go out and get that body. They encourage you to produce yourself as the body that they ideally display”(Tolentino, 84). The same principle works for women. Women are not forced to be what fashion dictates, because as time has shown it is destructive. However, at the same time, marketing hasn’t stopped demanding that women look the way the beauty industry wants them to look in the first place. Clothes continue to be created primarily for those whose bodies look more acceptable, which means that in order to feel beautiful, women only need to bring their body standards up to those that the beauty and fashion industry has come up with. That is again only those women who spend money in fitness centers, take special expensive protein, and use expensive cosmetics will definitely have power among others. However, this power is still in the hands of those who benefit from the fact that women consider themselves special because of their products. The problem is just to convince women that beauty is necessary and important for them in society. Even though many have long condemned the fashion industry for imposing certain body standards and making half of the women on earth feel inferior, the standards have not gone anywhere. Actresses and models still maintain certain standards, even though many have to transcend themselves to do so. According to Tolentino, “Photoshop use in ads and on magazine covers, which on the one hand instantly exposed the artificiality and dishonesty of the contemporary beauty standard, and on the other showed enough of a powerful, lingering desire for “real” beauty that it cleared space for ever-heightened expectations”(Tolentino, 79). Society continues to convince us that certain products (or universities) will make us special. In essence, the one who came up with such a principle and has the power or the one who dictates fashion. For this, it is worth remembering Miranda Priestly, who did not create anything, but had enormous power not only in what fashion would be considered acceptable, but which employees deserved to be promoted and do what they wanted to do. Although the holder of power himself or herself may feel insecure, and afraid of failure, he or she will never show it, for to admit that he or she has lost power is like losing power.
The construction of power is primarily based on creating the appearance of uniqueness and closeness to the ideal. After all, we are all eager to buy a commodity that has a limited quantity written on it. Nevertheless, this commodity must have something special, and to do this we only need to convince others that this commodity is special. Then both the product itself and the person who sells it will have power. Even though many people think that there is absolutely no power, this power continues to dictate the conditions by which a person must live to achieve at least a little success. To this end, we are daily persuaded that we are not perfect enough, that we lack something, some zest to finally become perfect. However, perfection is first and foremost a standard of elitism and exclusivity created by someone, which existed before we were born and will continue to exist. We are given the choice not to conform, but in fact, we do not even realize that we have no choice. They choose for us not only the goods we buy, but also what we should be, what we should look like, and where we should go to get a prestigious job. In fact, this way they can have unlimited power because if they tell a person that one needs to buy a certain phone to get access to a private club, the person is likely to do it. We are willing to do anything to be let into a place where access is denied, especially if it has such a big name as Wall Street. Of course, those who have hegemonic power have probably spent a lot of energy and money to wield this power and keep convincing everyone that they are in charge. Nevertheless, practically no one challenges this power, and only special people with special education continue to be hired. Women are constantly persuaded either that they are not beautiful enough or that they don’t care enough about themselves and don’t like themselves enough to look their best. Only by having confidence can one resist this power even a little and continue to love oneself, yet such confidence is possessed by a few. Perhaps they are the ones who have power, albeit power of a completely different kind. The rest just try to convince us that they have power by creating elitism, and prestige and of course by playing on people’s complexes and insecurities, because there is an ideal that can never be achieved, but to which one should always strive.
Ho, Karen. “Biographies of Hegemony.”The New Humanities Reader, edited by Richard Miller & Kurt Spellmeyer, Cengage Publishing, 2019, 1-23.
Tolentino, Jia. “Always Be Optimizing,” Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion, Random House, 2019, 63-94.