While preparing the body for the open-casket funeral, the deceased woman is slathered with a mask of makeup and perfume. She is dressed in one of her most flattering outfits with perfectly matching shoes. The woman's eyelids are closed, but molded to a position that makes her look like she's resting peacefully. Her lips are neither smiling nor frowning. Her hair is primped to perfection. All of this is done to impress. Impress whom? She's dead.
From the day we are born to well after we die, we"re put under a looking glass that is seen through with a critical eye. Because we are all aware of those eyes, we feel like we are forced to alter our identities in order to conform to society's acceptance level. Girls, on the verge of womanhood, are already searching for who they really are. The search becomes more of a struggle to bring out an identity that they like and is socially acceptable as they realize that the eyes are upon them. We are, in a way, forcing girls and women to lie with their bodies just fill the perfect woman's shoes.
Adrienne Rich suggests that women lie with their bodies: .
[Women] have been expected to lie with [their] bodies: to bleach, redden, unkink or curl [their] hair, pluck eyebrows, shave armpits, wear padding in various places or lace [themselves], take little steps, glaze finger and toenails, wear clothes that emphasize [their] helplessness. .
These rituals are performed everyday by almost all women and, in many cases, to an extent that is ridiculous. It is an unspoken expectation for women to smell and look good, so that is what most women strive for.
The unspoken expectation for women to smell and look good is depicted well in Disney's Mulan, but in the movie, the rule is openly expressed. While being prepared for the matchmaker, Mulan was sung to by several women, her mother and grandmother included. "With good fortune and a great hairdo, men will gladly go to war for you With good breeding and a tiny waist, you"ll bring honor to us all.