Narcissism as Liberation

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The article Narcissism as Liberation by Susan Douglas addresses the societal pressure on women to conform to unrealistic beauty standards. Douglas empathizes with women who feel frustrated and self-conscious due to the unattainable expectations placed upon them. She uses sarcasm and clever language to criticize the advertisers and narcissists who perpetuate these standards. By adopting a similar mindset to her readers, Douglas is able to persuade them to reconsider the importance they place on physical appearance. The article highlights the importance of focusing on internal qualities, such as Godliness, wisdom, and character, rather than superficial beauty.

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One aspiration that many women share is a desire to be beautiful inside and out. Often it is believed that with beauty come feelings of acceptance, confidence and even some forms of happiness. Unfortunately for the majority “a desirable woman doesn”t look lie a real woman looks; thus, one of the basic physical markers of femaleness is cast as hideous”. Consequently, what the world views as beauty is almost impossible to abstain.

Susan Douglas recognizes this common-ground that many women walk on and uses it in “Narcissism as Liberation” to empathize as a fellow frustrated sister. She ecumenically declares “I”m tired of the endless self-flagellation we women subject ourselves to because of the way this latest, unattainable physical ideal has been combined with the yuppie work ethic” . Displaying the same type of emotions and sediments immediately works to draw her into the confidence of women who feel the same way, while at the same time giving validity to her words.

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In effect this also gives Douglas a much wider door-way into the thoughts and opinions of females who normally wouldn”t be as open to her ideas and thoughts. All future arguments against the advertisers who work to promote narcissism among women are much more persuasive because Douglas is on the same wavelength as her readers.

The Russian writer Marina Tsvetaeva once said “sarcasm is the best way to attract attention so you can then make your point more efficiently” . It seems Douglas took that into consideration when deciding how to present her views in “Narcissism as Liberation”. Using clever language and intonation she creates a sharp weapon with which to take covert jabs at the armor of advertisers and narcissists.

In order to point out many people”s gullibility to cosmetic ads she comments, “It wasn”t enough to put some Lubriderm on your face – my God, that was like consigning your skin to the soup kitchen of moisturizers”. By approaching the subject in a sarcastic light, it cause the reader to reconsider their position in an effort to not appear naive.

All those women who buy the most expensive products have to ask themselves; honestly, what difference does a $40 lotion make as opposed to a $20 lotion? Had Douglas chosen to phrase an analysis like “Mixing products was akin to putting a Chevy carburetor inside a Porsche engine and expecting your car to run” rather something resembling “Mixing products is generally thought to be ill-advised” it simply would not have the same effect. Her use of sarcasm draws wither an annoyed response or humorous rise which ultimately helps in persuading women that they shouldn”t place such magnitude on their appearance. Throughout the chapter Susan Douglas does a very good job of warning against the narcissitic mentality that has become so prevalent in women today.

Proverbs 31:30 says, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised”5. From the Biblical standpoint, beauty in appearance has no real importance. It lasts for only a short time for those who have it and then it”s gone. Things like Godliness, wisdom, and character are what”s really worth while in the end. All Christians in this materialistic day and age have to be careful to keep their eye fixed above instead of on the fleeting pleasures of this world.

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Narcissism as Liberation. (2017, Jul 22). Retrieved from

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