17 September 2018
Dave Barry is known to be an American author who is known for his books that are satirical. Barry’s focal point in his writing is not only factual, but also from his personal experiences; he exemplifies this through his writing of “The Ugly Truth About Beauty.” He emphasizes use of tone, figurative language and imagery to inform his audience how women try to look attractive, while men are apathetic of how they look.
The author’s tone and claim in “The Ugly Truth About Beauty” may come across as ignorant, even factual in his view. In the text, Barry delves into what women think about themselves and why that may be, and how efforts to look beautiful are completely irrelevant to the male population. Both the male and female genders have different perceptions of what physical beauty is. He argues how much time women spend on their beauty and how men do not seem to care. Though every individual has a different perspective, society is affected by media such as magazines that showcase what they believe an attractive individual is. The author states, “Their primary form of beauty is to shave themselves, which is essentially the same form of beauty care they give to their lawns. (Barry, 342).” He uses not only the tone of humor and over dramatization to satirize the behavior of both genders, but also a metaphorical statement to clarify how the beauty industry perceives men and women. Barry also states, “If you’re a man, at some point a women will ask you how she looks… (Barry, 342).”A woman never believes her appearance is considered to be good enough, reason being they have their own views of beauty; women always want a man to tell them that they look beautiful, they want reassurance and to feel good.
Dave Barry uses the imagery of a model named Cindy Crawford, who women believe to be the female standard, and for men, actor Brad Pitt. Cindy Crawford showed women how to apply cosmetic makeup with their fingers, the text states, “…no matter how carefully they applied these products, they would never look remotely like Cindy Crawford, who is some kind of genetic mutation” (Barry, 343). He uses Brad Pitt to show how men should not be; he is insinuating that Pitt is considered to be a pretty boy, the negation of a real man, “Oh yeah? Well what do you know about lawn care, pretty boy” (Barry 343)? Barry also uses Barbie dolls and action figures in order to exemplify what men and women should aspire to be. For women, Barbie is what they think they should look similar to, “Girls grow up playing with a doll proportioned such that, if it were human, it would be seven feet tall and weigh 81 pounds, of which 54 pounds would be bosoms” (Barry, 343). Logically, looking just like a Barbie doll is very damaging to the human body, with being extremely underweight and having completely unrealistic anatomic expectations. With action figures, men should act and carry their life how an action figure would. Barry delved into societal norms that women are indeed guilty of, such as them asking “How do I look? (Barry, 342)”, he felt he was putting women up on a pedestal, trying to tell them that men know women do those things, but they have no care for it. In addition, Barry states, “Of course many women will argue that the reason they become obsessed with trying to look like Cindy Crawford is that men, being shallow as a drop of spit, want women to look that way” (Barry, 343). This statement is also a simile, in the reason to indicate that men have no care as to how they look, however them having an ideal woman, how she looks, what she wears, and so on. They do not care about some beauty efforts women make, such as fingernails, “The average woman spends 5,000 hours per year worrying about her fingernails…(Barry, 343). Here, Dave Barry is incorporating one of Aristotle’s appeals, in this case, it would be Ethos, the appeal of credibility, meaning “the distinguishing character, sentiment, moral nature, or guiding beliefs of a person, group, or institution” (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ethos). He is incorporating the statistic of the annual amount of time that women spend being concerned about their fingernails, when men do not even acknowledge them. As Barry says, “…I have never once, in more than 40 years of listening to men talk about women, heard a man say, ‘She has a nice set of fingernails'” (Barry, 343). This, in turn, indicates that the author’s intended audience would be males, young adults.
According to “The Ugly Truth About Beauty,” Barry states, “Most men, I believe, think of themselves as average-looking. Men will think this even if their faces cause heart failure…” (Barry, 342). This article in particular is not entirely factual, although he uses real life scenarios in addition to how women think to back up what he addresses.