In On Beauty, Zadie Smith explores the nature of beauty in art, in academia, and in relation to ethnicity, revealing the myriad ways societal conceptions of beauty affect expressions of self. What does it mean then that the most canonically beautiful character in a novel focusing so explicitly on beauty and justice is not given her own voice? Eighteen- year-old Victoria Kipps is consistently objectified, stereotyped and sexualized throughout the narrative, both by the male gaze and by female judgment. Her objectification is reflective of the way society fetishizes the beauty found in women who are not white, and of a hegemonic stereotyping of her identity that separates her from her sense of self, thus rendering her unable to fully come to voice.
"Vee is for Voiceless,"
Proceedings of GREAT Day: Vol. 2019, Article 9.
Available at: https://knightscholar.geneseo.edu/proceedings-of-great-day/vol2019/iss1/9