Whitney Cho Professor Constance Richard LIB 111 20 October 2012 “Beauty and the Best” Dave Barry, the author of Beauty and the Beast, examines the declining self esteem of men and women because of appearance while using statistical comparisons, amusing metaphors, and common anecdotes, validating that while men are growing “giant forehead-dwelling tropical caterpillars,” and women think “woof” when they look in the mirror, their self-esteem is dwindling due to the negative thoughts on their appearance.
Men and women have always had differing opinions about appearance and beauty. Barry shows the how men are more laid back about their appearance by comparing their daily preparation time, which only takes about “four-minutes daily. ” Barry is pushing the fact that men are simple and simple means better in man world. On the other hand, women can take the longest time to get ready, yet they will still be unsure or unhappy with their appearance. On top of that, Barry states that “men don’t notice 97% of the beauty efforts” that women make.
With this statistic, the author is trying to say that the self-esteem of women is lowered due to the fact that people don’t notice their efforts. He concludes that women think too much and care too much about their appearance. Barry is saying that women aren’t simple like men because of their state of mind regarding beauty and appearance. Barry explains that men are different than women in the self-esteem grouping. When a man’s self-esteem lowers, he will find someway to bring it up through competitive speech, knowledge, or just plain sarcasm.
For example, Barry writes that if men were thrown into a room with Brad Pitt to learn about appearance, “they would find some way to bolster their self-esteem” and say, “Oh YEAH? Well what do you know about LAWN CARE, pretty boy? ” This is a case of a typical male, showing that if they’re not good in one thing, they sure as hell will be better in something else. Essentially, Barry calls out males to be too competitive whenever they have low self-esteem, because once it declines even a little bit, the males will find some way to bring it up. He describes men as competitive while women just accept the fact that they ren’t “perfect,” confirming that men are affected by appearance however, men are willing to find some way to change the subject. Barry also explains that women often compare themselves to things like Barbies and models like Cindy Crawford. The author believes that the root cause of women’s low self-esteem is “societal reasons;” how society views and judges people’s appearance. Barry writes that girls grew up playing with Barbie dolls, which are completely out of proportion to the average human. Most people can blame the media and society for lowering girls’ and women’s self-esteem everywhere.
Barry’s argument is that women are more easily affected by society and other people while men can accept disagreement and get over it easily. The first several opening paragraphs show how men prepare daily, which Barry uses an intense amount of metaphors. In paragraph four of the essay, the author notes that men are basically unaware of their appearance “even when their faces sag and their noses bloat to the size of eggplants and their eyebrows grow together to form what appears to be a giant forehead-dwelling tropical caterpillars. This example supports Barry argument of the simplicity of men. Men don’t really care nor are they aware of their appearance; they have other things to worry about such as sports. In the last couple of closing paragraphs, Barry talks about Cindy Crawford teaching women about make up on the Oprah Winfrey Show. He explains that Crawford was very particular in the techniques that women need to use to achieve beauty. The author then takes a turn and says no matter what these women do, even if their make up application technique is impeccable, they will never look exactly like Cindy Crawford.
This short incident that Barry provided to support his argument that women will go to great lengths to look perfect gives the audience insight as to how women will jump at the opportunity to look beautiful. It shows how low a woman’s self-esteem can become, to the point where they are robots, mimicking Crawford’s every move. Throughout the article, Barry included several examples to back his argument up. He believes that women and men both suffer from low self-esteem because of society’s views on appearance and the constant need to be beautiful.
While women are more cautious of their looks, men also get uncomfortable with appearances once in a while. This article has the perfect balance of problems with men and problems with women; both have problems. Barry keeps that balance by writing about the problems that males face and then the problems that women face but both are compared throughout. In the end, society would be to blame for this self-esteem issue that everyone faces. It really is impossible to live up to society’s standards.