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Oviedo Journalism

The student news site of Oviedo High School in Oviedo, FL

Oviedo Journalism

The student news site of Oviedo High School in Oviedo, FL

Oviedo Journalism

The woman is perfected

A brief rhetoric on Sylvia Path and womanhood, a Senior’s last opinion
The+woman+is+perfected
Lauren King

“The woman is perfected. Her dead body wears the smile of accomplishment,” is a quote by Sylvia Plath in her poem Edge. Plath attempted to take her life numerous times in the ‘60s, and she wrote this poem days before the final attempt and it is believed to be the last piece she ever wrote.

When I was 10, I read The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. Esther Greenwood, the main character, battles with her mental health, the expectations of society set upon her, and her self-identity. Most children of that age would not have understood the nuances she wrote of in this story. The corruption of innocence, the intolerable playing fields between man and woman, the mental turmoil from things happening that were beyond you.

As with many other women that I have spoken to, things happened during my girlhood that forever changed the course of my life. The way I view people and most importantly myself is tainted. Reading the works of Plath as a child gave answers to the way I was feeling.

It showed me that this is what it is to be a woman in this world.

The failures of the men in my life cast a shadow on my upbringing. I haven’t had a proper father figure and my only male protector has ever been my older brother. My mother and grandmother have raised me to be courageous, honest, and strong-willed so that I can survive on my own. Yet I desire to love and to be loved by somebody, and sometimes I have dreams of raising a family. But I am terrified of the thought of raising children in a twisted world that repeatedly fails them.

One of the most grueling scenes in media I have watched is when Nina Sayers pulls back the skin of her finger in Black Swan. My finger twitched, my skin crawling as I cringed back as if I did it to myself. I was so repulsed that I had to stop the movie during that scene. 

I think I was so disgusted because it reminded me of myself.

Every reflective surface I pass, I pick and pull at my skin. I tuck my hair behind my ear and then untuck, figuring I look better with hair covering my cheeks. I wipe the smudging of red lipstick and wonder if it is too contrasted to my skin. What if I look unnatural?

As I do with my appearance, I also seek perfection in my work.

I hang every achievement I’ve ever made on the walls of my room to reassure myself that I hold intelligence, that I did what I sought out to do, that I am worthy of praise.

But I never feel as perfect as I could be. Failure is not an option to me, it denounces who I am as a person. While perfection is a figment that is unreachable, I strive for it.

Reading Sylvia Plath now, at a more mature age, has given me the recognition of how perfection drove her mad. While this is an intangible spout of words, this is how my mind works. I know that many other women feel this way, as I have spoken to many who do. Our minds are so intricate with falsification but I think there is beauty in this complexity.

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