Beauty and Misogyny: Harmful Cultural Practices in the West / Edition 1

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"Should western beauty practices, ranging from lipstick to labiaplasty, be included within the United Nations' understanding of harmful traditional/cultural practices? By examining the role of common beauty practices in damaging the health of women, creating sexual difference, and enforcing female deference, this book argues that they should." "In the 1970s feminists criticized pervasive beauty regimes such as dieting and depilation, but in the last two decades the brutality of western beauty practices has become much more severe. Today's practices can require the breaking of skin, spilling of blood and rearrangement or amputation of body parts. Some "new" feminists argue that beauty practices are no longer oppressive now that women can "choose" them. This book seeks to make sense of why beauty practices are not only just as persistent 30 years after the feminist critique developed, but in many ways more extreme. By examining the pervasive use of makeup, the misogyny of fashion and high-heeled shoes, and by looking at the role of pornography in the creation of increasingly popular beauty practices such as breast implants, genital waxing and surgical alteration of the labia, Beauty and Misogyny seeks to explain why harmful beauty practices persist in the west and have become so extreme. It looks at the cosmetic surgery and body piercing/cutting industries as being forms of self-mutilation by proxy, in which the surgeons and piercers serve as proxies to harm women's bodies. It concludes by considering how a culture of resistance to these practices can be created." This essential work will appeal to students and teachers of feminist psychology, gender studies, cultural studies, and feminist sociology at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and to anyone with an interest in feminism, women and beauty, and women's health.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is without doubt the most sophisticated, well-researched, and compelling book ever written about the ways the ‘beauty’ industry produces and reproduces misogyny. Written from an unapologetically radical feminist perspective, students describe Beauty and Misogyny as transformative and life-changing."– Gail Dines, Professor of Sociology and Women's Studies, Wheelock College, Boston, USA

Praise for the first edition

"Beauty and Misogyny belongs in women's studies and public health classes and on the shelves of academics, clinicians, and parents of daughters. It would benefit any woman who was considering plastic surgery or buying a new tube of lipstick."– Michele Hoffnung, Quinnipiac University, USA in PsycCRITIQUES

"Jeffreys’ mission is to shift women out of their collective complacency. The book’s central theme is an exploration of the use of sexuality by men to dominate women. Jeffreys offers no comfort zone for her readers. Unlike some feminist theorists, she refuses to couch her arguments in inaccessible, academic language, or to accept that feminism has achieved its aims." Julie Bindel, The Guardian

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415351829
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 8/28/2005
  • Series: Women and Psychology Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 216
  • Sales rank: 1,187,624
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Sheila Jeffreys is Professor in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne where she teaches sexual politics and international feminist politics. Before coming to Melbourne in 1991 she was active in the Women’s Liberation Movement in the UK from 1973, campaigning against pornography and violence against women and in lesbian feminist politics. In Australia she is involved in the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women. She has written nine books on the history and politics of sexuality.

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Table of Contents

1 The "grip of culture on the body" : beauty practices as women's agency or women's subordination 5
2 Harmful cultural practices and Western culture 28
3 Transfemininity : "dressed" men reveal the naked reality of male power 46
4 Pornochic : prostitution constructs beauty 67
5 Fashion and misogyny 87
6 Making up is hard to do 107
7 Men's foot and shoe fetishism and the disabling of women 128
8 Cutting up women : beauty practices as self-mutilation by proxy 149
Conclusion : a culture of resistance 171
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