We live in a body obsessed culture. God and Nature has made everyone a bit special, but appearance in today’s world is the only thing that matters. Men and women both feel pressured to have the faultless bodies and we believe so many lies about what a perfect body is and what defines beauty. A woman in today’s society faces too many challenges due to many reasons, in which the most eminent is the ‘Beauty’. Women are not just for doing house-hold work, or to raise children or for sex. Women are an integral part of today’s society. They have a lively social life.
They take part in various social and cultural functions. A woman today no longer lags behind the man in the most occupations. The women can no more be kept behind the curtains doing only domestic work. Not only this but woman are also faced problems if they want to start any work or enter into any industry like for example acting. We often have seen and heard the news about how an actress is being asked for a night with Director/Producer for being casted in the movie. It is all because of the importance people give to outer beauty than the inner one.
Maya Angelou an African-American poet, writing ‘Phenomenal Woman’ emphasizes on the theme that, ‘Beauty is more than skin deep’. She disagrees that, beautiful woman have a good physique. Beauty has nothing to do with looks, popularity, hair, length or color. She tells that she may not be cute or good looking. Nor she has good figure, but still she is beautiful in her own right.
She trusts that society judge woman’s beauty by her outer appearance regardless of her inner worth. A woman, who has pride in being a woman, is self-confident, follows her heart and has faith in herself. Woman should not suppress the artificial canons of beauty but should feel proud about what God has made them.
In explaining her own story, Angelou, in the poem, persuades her audience to listen to her “secret” in understanding her own “inner mystery.” A woman’s unique qualities are what define her and this poem is designed to give confidence to any woman. Every woman is convinced that she is, in fact, that “Phenomenal woman”. The poem starts in a conversational fashion where a group of women, fascinated by poet’s popularity amidst male suitors, want to know from her the secret of her success. Despite her strong refusal to fit into beauty paradigm, the poet gets maximum male attention.
By her own admission, she is neither cute, nor she has a bottleneck figure. Her physical absurdity makes the questioning women more curious and they have a strong feeling that the poet conceals the secret of her success. Today women across the globe feel the need of being altered and they change into an unrecognizable form, by doing surgeries. In the poem, she also tells that, she remains a mystery to men. She indicates to them that her mystery is not obscure but clearly expressed in her body language. Her influence lies in her grace, in her femininity.
Throughout the poem, we find the spirit of womanhood is emphasized. This poem has the theme that ‘Beauty is not just outer appearance’. Here, Maya counters the theory that beautiful women should have well-proportioned physique. She disapproves the distorted view of beauty, which emphasizes more on outer beauty than inner beauty. She argues that true beauty lies within and body language is the medium through which it is expressed. Here in this poem it is greatly shown about the word ‘Phenomenal’. It has two meanings which are huge size, and second a great personality.