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女性之美:权力还是枷锁?

女性之美:权力还是枷锁?

我们翻译这篇文章的理由

桑塔格1975年的话,对今日的你我他来说,依然中肯。

——唐萧

👇

女性之美:权力还是枷锁?

作者:Susan Sontag

译者:唐萧

校对:宋一

策划:崔颖& 刘蕊

For the Greeks, beauty was a virtue: a kind of excellence. Persons then were assumed to be what we now have to call—lamely, enviously—whole persons. If it did occur to the Greeks to distinguish between a person’s “inside” and “outside,” they still expected that inner beauty would be matched by beauty of the other kind. The well-born young Athenians who gathered around Socrates found it quite paradoxical that their hero was so intelligent, so brave, so honorable, so seductive—and so ugly. One of Socrates’ main pedagogical acts was to be ugly—and teach those innocent, no doubt splendid- looking disciples of his how full of paradoxes life really was.

对希腊人来说,美即美德,是一种卓越。那时,希腊人成长的理想状态是成为我们今天所称的完人——我们不情愿这个说法,但又必须如此表达。如果他们真的曾想过区分一个人的“内在”和“外在”,也仍然希望外在美能够匹配内在美。那些出身良好的雅典年轻人围坐在苏格拉底身边,发现他们的英雄是如此的智慧、勇敢、可敬、有吸引力,但同时又是如此的丑陋。苏格拉底一个主要的教育行为就是要保持丑陋,教育那些天真而十分俊俏的学生——生活本身是充满了如此多的悖论。

They may have resisted Socrates’ lesson. We do not. Several thousand years later, we are more wary of the enchantments of beauty. We not only split off—with the greatest facility—the “inside” (character, intellect) from the “outside” (looks); but we are actually surprised when someone who is beautiful is also intelligent, talented, good.

他们也许抵制过苏格拉底的这个理念,但我们没有。几千年后,我们对“美”的魅力更加警惕。我们不仅穷尽其力将“内在”(性格、才智)同“外在”(外表)分开来看,而且在知晓一个人既美又聪明、有天赋人又好的时候,感到惊讶。

Facility[U, sing]: ability to learn or do things easily
Facilities [pl]: circumstances, equipment, etc that make it possible, or easier, to do sth; aids

It was principally the influence of Christianity that deprived beauty of the central place it had in classical ideals of human excellence. By limiting excellence (virtues in Latin) to moral virtue only, Christianity set beauty adrift—as an alienated, arbitrary, superficial enchantment. And beauty has continued to lose prestige. For close to two centuries it has become a convention to attribute beauty to only one of the two sexes: the sex which, however Fair, is always Second. Associating beauty with women had put beauty even further on the defensive, morally.

“美”失去在人类美德古典主义理想中的中心地位主要是受到了基督教的影响。基督教将美德仅仅等同于道德,认为美只是一种疏离的、主观的、肤浅的魅力。然后,“美”持续地失去威名。在近两个世纪的时间里,人们习惯于将“美”和两性之中的一种性别联系起来:女性——无论享有多少美名,“她”总是处于弱势的地位。将“美”和女性联系起来,更加把“美”推向道德的对立面。

推荐阅读:

https://www.quora.com/Why-are-women-called-the-fairer-sex#

A beautiful woman, we say in English. But a handsome man. “Handsome” is the masculine equivalent of—and refusal of—a compliment which has accumulated certain demeaning overtones, by being reserved for women only. That one can call a man “beautiful” in French and in Italian suggests that Catholic countries—unlike those countries shaped by the Protestant version of Christianity—still retain some vestiges of the pagan admiration for beauty. But the difference, if one exists, is of degree only. In every modern country that is Christian or post-Christian, women are the beautiful sex— to the detriment of the notion of beauty as well as of women.

在英语里,我们会用“美丽”来形容女性,但形容男性,就会说“帅气”。“美”是一种已逐渐获得了贬损之意的赞美,而“帅”是这一概念的男性版,同时也是对这种“赞美”的拒绝。法语和意大利语可以用“美丽”形容男性,这表明,跟那些被基督教新教徒观念塑造的国家不同,天主教国家依然遗留着异教徒对于美的崇拜色彩。但其中区别仅仅在于程度。在每个现代国家,无论是基督教还是后基督教,女性都是那个“美”的性别。而这对于美这个概念本身和女性群体来说,都十分有害。

vestige[count]: vestige of a very small sign of something that has almost disappeared or stopped existing

To be called beautiful is thought to name something essential to women’s character and concerns (In contrast to men—whose essence is to be strong, or effective, or competent.) It does not take someone in the throes of advanced feminist awareness to perceive that the way women are taught to be involved with beauty encourages narcissism, reinforces dependence and immaturity. Everybody (women and men) knows that. For it is “everybody,” a whole society, that has identified being feminine with caring about how one looks. (In contrast to being masculine—which is identified with caring about what one is and does and only secondarily, if at all, about how one looks.) Given these stereotypes, it is no wonder that beauty enjoys, at best, a rather mixed reputation.

称女性美丽为,实际上道出了女性品格和她们所关心事物的本质。男性与之不同,他们的本质是变得强壮,或是高效、能力强。但这无需饱受先进的平权主义思维之苦就能意识到,把女性和美丽捆绑起来的教育方式会成为滋生自恋、依赖和不成熟的土壤。无论男女,人人都对这点心知肚明。因为整个社会是由每个具体的人组成的,而正是他们将女性和关注外表混为一谈。男子气概则首先要关注这个人怎么样、他做了什么,其次才可能会考虑他的长相。有了这些刻板印象,也难怪“美”至多享有毁誉参半的名声。

It is not, of course, the desire to be beautiful that is wrong but the obligation to be—or to try. What is accepted by most women as a flattering idealization of their sex is a way of making women feel inferior to what they actually are—or normally grow to be. For the ideal of beauty is administered as a form of self-oppression Women are taught to see their bodies in parts, and to evaluate each part separately. Breasts, feet, hips, waistline, neck, eyes, nose, complexion, hair, and so on—each in turn is submitted to an anxious, fretful, often despairing scrutiny. Even if some pass muster, some will always be found wanting. Nothing less than perfection will do.

当然,渴望变美并没有错,觉得有责任尝试变美或保持美才是错的。被大多数女性作为一种关于性别的理想化谄媚而接受的方式,是让女性觉得比实际的自己,或正常成长的她要略逊一筹。美的理想化形式是一种自我压抑,在这样的框架下,女性被教育要把自己的身体分开来看,分开来评估。胸部、双脚、臀部、腰围、脖子、眼睛、鼻子、肤色、头发,等等。这些部位轮番接受着一种焦虑的、烦躁的、也常常是绝望的审视。就算某个部分通过了考察,另一部分也总会跳出来说,我需要改造。不达完美不罢休。

In men, good looks is a whole, something taken in at a glance. It does not need to be confirmed by giving measurements of different regions of the body; nobody encourages a man to dissect his appearance, feature by feature. As for perfection, that is considered trivial—almost unmanly. Indeed, in the ideally good-looking man a small imperfection or blemish is considered positively desirable. According to one movie critic (a woman) who is a declared Robert Redford fan, it is having that cluster of skin-colored moles on one cheek that saves Redford from being merely a “pretty face.” Think of the depreciation of women—as well as of beauty—that is implied in that judgment.

但对于男性来说,好看是一个整体的概念,是一眼看过去就可以得出的判断,男性身体各个部分的衡量无需经过,也没有人鼓励男性把自己的外表拆开来分析。完美被认为是无关紧要的,几乎意味着不够阳刚。一位声称是罗伯特•雷德福粉丝的女性影评人指出,正是由于他脸颊上的一团肤色斑点,才让罗伯特免于那种无聊的“好看”。想想对于女性和美的贬损吧,就是这个道理。

“The privileges of beauty are immense,” said Cocteau. To be sure, beauty is a form of power. And deservedly so. What is lamentable is that it is the only form of power that most women are encouraged to seek. This power is always conceived in relation to men; it is not the power to do but the power to attract. It is a power that negates itself. For this power is not one that can be chosen freely—at least, not by women—or renounced without social censure.

“美拥有无尽特权”,让•谷克多如是说。确实,美是一种权力,而且它值得这样的美名。但可惜的是,这是大多数女性唯一被鼓励追求的权力。它从和男性的关系中产生,不是一种去做事的权力,而是一种去吸引的权力。这种权力自我消解,因为人们,至少是女人,无法自由选择它,也无法不受社会的责难而放弃它。

To preen, for a woman, can never be just a pleasure. It is also a duty. It is her work. If a woman does real work—and even if she has clambered up to a leading position in politics, law, medicine, business, or whatever—she is always under pressure to confess that she still works at being attractive. But in so far as she is keeping up as one of the Fair Sex, she brings under suspicion her very capacity to be objective, professional, authoritative, thoughtful. Damned if they do—women are. And damned if they don’t.

对女性来说,打扮自己从来不仅仅是为了愉悦。这也是她的责任和工作。如果女性有社会工作,就算她已经在政坛、法律界、医学界、商界或者其他领域爬到了领导地位,她也还是要被迫承认,自己仍然在努力变得漂亮、有吸引力。她努力成为一个“合格”的女性,却将自己客观、专业、权威、缜密的能力陷入被怀疑的境地。实在糟透。但要是不这么做,也会陷入糟糕的境地。

preen / prin / verb [intransitive or transitive]

1. if a bird or animal preens or preens itself, it cleans and arrange its feathers or fur with its beak or tongue
2. to spend a lot of time trying to make yourself look more attractive by arranging your hair, putting on make up, etc.
3. to feel very proud or satisfied with something you have done

One could hardly ask for more important evidence of the dangers of considering persons as split between what is “inside” and what is “outside” than that interminable half-comic half-tragic tale, the oppression of women. How easy it is to start off by defining women as caretakers of their surfaces, and then to disparage them (or find them adorable) for being “superficial.” It is a crude trap, and it has worked for too long. But to get out of the trap requires that women get some critical distance from that excellence and privilege which is beauty, enough distance to see how much beauty itself has been abridged in order to prop up the mythology of the “feminine.” There should be a way of saving beauty from women—and for them.

对于将人的“内在美”和“外在美”分开看待的危险,女性经受的那种半滑稽半悲剧的长期压迫就是最好的证明。人们是如此轻易地仅看表面就将女性定义为关注外表的人,然后贬损她们(或是发现她们外表美丽)“肤浅”。这是残酷的陷阱,长久以来十分有效。要摆脱这种陷阱,女性必须同“美”这种美德和特权保持距离,这种距离要远到使她们看到,美,仅仅为了支撑理想中的“女性”概念,失去了多少意义。应该找到一种把“美”从女性当中解放出来的方法,而这也是为了女性本身。

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女性之美:权力还是枷锁?

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