Phenomenal Woman Maya Angelou Analysis

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Beauty Standards
In her poem “Phenomenal Woman,” Maya Angelou is stating that the world’s view on beautiful women, or how they should look like, is ridiculous. She is not saying that directly, however, it is undeniable that her irony is present in this poem regarding beauty standards. Angelou speaks as a self-confident woman. She wants the world to know that what makes her unique and beautiful is her self-confidence, challenging stereotypes stating that as a woman, she is capable of surpassing preconceived expectations of beauty formed because of racism and sexism. Many of the beauty standards in the world may seem unattainable, they can be quite overwhelming for women who do not fit in the specific mold society has shaped for them for beauty, and women are constantly told what beauty is. Moreover, it is known that beauty standards have changed throughout history, and nowadays, beauty standards across the world prove beauty is what people make it. So how did these standards change throughout history?
By looking at the portraits of what is considered some of the most beautiful women throughout history, and by reading about how impressed men were by these women’s beauty, one can hardly understand why. This was the case for the questioning pretty ladies in Angelou’s poem, “Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. / I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size / But when I start to tell them, / they think I’m telling lies.” Angelou. These women are wondering what is

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