The Burka and the Bikini Analysis
The two authors of this essay are Joan Jacobs and Jacquelyn Jackson, who have written many essays together. Joan Jacobs Brumberg graduated with her doctoral degree at The University of Virginia. She is now a professor at Cornell University, where she is currently teaching in the Women’s Studies Program. An accomplished and talented writer, she focuses mainly on adolescent women in her writing, and has won many awards for her books and essays. Jacquelyn Jackson is a women’s health advocate, who also studies women and their rights.
Many people can relate to this particular article because in our society, we have all been exposed to the exploitation of women in the media. However, I believe young women who are being subjected to these types of sexual, superficial expectations can relate very closely to what the authors are trying to express. Because of the war America is currently facing, the Taliban has been all over the news in recent years. Americans have been exposed to their lifestyle and culture, including the lifestyle of the women in the Taliban. In this essay, the authors touch on the subject of women in the Taliban who are not allowed to show their face or hair in public, are not allowed to go to school, and are not allowed to walk down a street by themselves. They compare these women, who are ordered to cover themselves completely in burkas, to the American women who are shown all over the media wearing nothing but bikinis, or in some cases, less than bikinis. Both extremes are degrading to women, even though they are completely opposite.
The claim that the authors argue in the article is that by exploiting women in such a superficial and sexual way, we are negatively affecting the lives of young women everywhere. We have all seen pictures of thin, beautiful women in magazines and on television. The media makes it out to be that women have to be skinny, tan, and perfect to be considered a beautiful person. Not only does the media portray women as thin and perfect, it also makes potentially dangerous activities and habits seem popular or attractive, such as smoking and drinking. The essay uses inductive logic by
using examples. The authors believe that the reason that young women are having so many problems with eating disorders, self-esteem and destructive behaviors is because of the media and the images it puts out into the homes of adolescents. Young women are influenced by what they see everywhere. The essay states, “The American Medical Association last year acknowledged a link between violent images on the screen and violent behavior among children,” showing that the media can negatively influence children’s behavior.
This essay appeals to emotion in many different ways. The authors bring up the Victorian America, where good deeds built up the female character and determined the goodness of the person. Now, it seems like good looks are more important than the good deeds people perform to others. This example makes the audience think about their values, and what is really important when it comes to judging someone’s character. The authors also use charged language and vivid examples to arouse the emotion of the reader by saying, “Whether it’s the dark, sad eyes of a woman in purdah or the anxious darkly circled eyes of a girl with anorexia nervosa, the woman trapped inside needs to be liberated from cultural confines in whatever form they take.” This is the most captivating and heartbreaking part of the essay, in my opinion.
The audience will most likely agree with the authors. We have all seen this first-hand in America, every time we flip on the television or open up a magazine. The authors explain that the media is only hurting our young women and children by putting out such a bad example of what a “woman” should be. The authors who wrote the essay have done plenty of research on women and the social aspects women face. They are both knowledgeable about the subject, and have strong credibility for their argument.
I completely agree with everything the authors wrote in the essay. We put so much pressure on our women in this country, and it’s putting the idea into young people’s heads that they have to look a certain way to be accepted into our society. This essay gives a good argument with the
examples of women in the media, and the comparison between the women in the Taliban and the American women of today is a compelling comparison, and it shows how women are being portrayed. Although both cultures are completely different in the way they cover or uncover women, it shows a degradation towards women that is not acceptable anywhere. I believe in reading this essay, people can grasp a better understanding of what we’re doing in our society. We need to be more focused on being good people. It really is about what’s on the inside of a person, not the outside, whether it’s covered or not.