Clifton “Hips” as a Symbol of Beauty and Ideal Self-Image

For many women, body image is one of the most important elements of modern culture and social identity. Modern women of all ages borrow their identities from glossy magazines and copy body images popularized by TV. Ideal body image plays a crucial role in contemporary society determining certain standards of beauty. Ideal body image is one of the main determinants of contemporary society. The poem “Homage to my hips” by Lucille Clifton depicts that trying to keep abreast of time and social dynamics of modern consumer cultures, ideal body image became a core identity for modern women. In the poem, hips symbolizes female beauty and liberations from men.

Unsung a symbol of “hips” Clifton depicts that self-views arise from different levels which reflect social processes and cultural heritage. Self-views arising from the individual level emphasize dimensions or attributes that are personally important and differentiate oneself from others. She states tat a personal identity is based on personal experience and preferences, tastes and cultural values. I suppose that the question “Who am I?” is one of the most difficult and interesting question for every person who tries to analyze his self-identity and personal values. “They don’t fit into little petty places. these hips / are free hips” (Clifton). All these things usually happen because of the group membership. Along with that, there are many women who show the tendency to be a part of one’s heritage. If women are resistant to coming to terms with themselves, men are even more so.

“Hips” reflect unique self-image of a women and her personal value. Many women try to adopt individual-level identities based on self-views and life preferences. These factors and views help the author to create a unique identity, distinguish what is good and what is bad, what is moral or immoral for our society today. This feeling is usually associated with the extent to which people can be identified with this or that group. The sense of belonging is usually typical for all members of the group. Many of these people show the tendency to represent the same thinking perceptions, feelings, and behavior. Clifton writes: “they go where they want to go / they do what they want to do. / these hips are mighty hips./ these hips are magic hips”. Self-image and ideals of beauty help every woman to create a unique identity according to personal expectations and desires.

Clifton seems ro tell readers that the notion and understanding is beauty is one of the most complex and disputable questions today. Philosophers and designers, ordinary citizens and musicians try to establish certain standards and principles of beauty derived from social and cultural values. It is possible to disagree with this statement because at the beginning of the 21st century, beauty myth is appearance prescribed by fashion designers and cultural trends rather than a certain behavior. The beauty standard for the well-bred teen girl is set by music culture and fashionable magazines.

In sum, for Clifton “hips” is a symbol of beauty and ideal self-image every women possesses. The question of ideal beauty is one of the most controversial one for philosophers and social critics. The poem discusses the issues applied to ideal beauty and depicts the urge to classify all the world’s many things as an impulse which has received encouragement from science. A special attention is given to the beauty of bodies and soul. The soul, being what it is and belonging to the world of true reality.

Works Cited

Clifton, L. Homage to my Hips. N.d. Web.

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