Morrison Deconstructs White Standards of Beauty in The Bluest Eye
In The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison questions the origin and validity of truths imposed by white standards of beauty. The white standard of beauty is defined in terms of not being black, so in turn, blacks equate beauty with being white. Morrison examines this assumption in terms of its origin and validity, its growth and impact on her characters, and the long-term effects of this assumption on her characters.
In addressing the origin and validity of socially accepted truths, Morrison questions whether theses truths are natural. In particular, is it natural to define beauty in terms of the opposition of whites to blacks? Michael Ryan's summary of Michel Foucault's ideology addresses the issue of the origins of truth in society:
The way knowledge is organized in the discourses of western society is allied with the organization of power in society. Power seeps into the pores of society rather than occupying a single-state site; over time power becomes part of the habitual everyday procedures and operations of such social institutions as the school, the hospital, and the workplace. Citizens learn to absorb and perform discipline themselves. Morality, all the various ways in which one is instructed to be "good,"...
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