It was republished in by HarperPerennial with a new introduction. The basic premise of The Beauty Myth is that as the social power and prominence of women have increased, the pressure they feel to adhere to unrealistic social standards of physical beauty has also grown stronger because of commercial influences on the mass media. This pressure leads to unhealthy behaviors by women and a preoccupation with appearance in both sexes, and it compromises the ability of women to be effective in and accepted by society. The more legal and material hindrances women have broken through, the more strictly and heavily and cruelly images of female beauty have come to weigh upon us More women have more money and power and scope and legal recognition than we have ever had before; but in terms of how we feel about ourselves physically, we may actually be worse off than our unliberated grandmothers. Wolf also posits the idea of an iron maiden , an intrinsically unattainable standard that is then used to punish women physically and psychologically for their failure to achieve and conform to it.