In Your Face: The Culture of Beauty and You

Overview

From Bedtime Fairy Tales and blockbuster movies to magazine advertisements and reality TV, we absorb the lesson early and often: beauty rules. What's more, the publicity machine of modern business has never before delivered so many messages glorifying the benefits of being beautiful. For teens that can mean fitting in and measuring up becomes an overpowering force. But, as Shari Graydon points out, every day, in dozens of small ways, you can choose what messages seem right to you. By putting images of beauty into...
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Overview

From Bedtime Fairy Tales and blockbuster movies to magazine advertisements and reality TV, we absorb the lesson early and often: beauty rules. What's more, the publicity machine of modern business has never before delivered so many messages glorifying the benefits of being beautiful. For teens that can mean fitting in and measuring up becomes an overpowering force. But, as Shari Graydon points out, every day, in dozens of small ways, you can choose what messages seem right to you. By putting images of beauty into perspective, In Your Face encourages readers to stop feeling so controlled by it. Engrossing, enlightening, fun, and provocative, this is a no-nonsense guide to thinking critically about beauty culture.
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Editorial Reviews

KLIATT
This excellent book written for teenagers explains the beauty myths believed, consciously or unconsciously, by most people in North America. Canadian professor and activist Graydon explains how the media create and exploit beauty images to sell products. She looks at how our image of beauty has changed historically, and how ideals of beauty, size and shape differ depending on gender, age and nationality. The fact that she writes from a North American point of view may stretch the reader's own viewpoint as well. Both genders will find this book interesting because it reveals the double standard of beauty and explains how men are now being exploited by the media in the same way as women traditionally have been. Everything to do with beauty standards, from fairy tales to beauty pageants, movie stars and the audience's expectations, is discussed. The layout of the book and the use of graphics and photos make it appealing to the YA audience, and the bibliography and index at the back of the book make it useful for school papers. This author knows what she is talking about and the content of the book will provide her YA readers with new insights. KLIATT Codes: JSA--Recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2004, Annick Press, 176p. illus. bibliog. index., Ages 12 to adult.
—Nola Theiss
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-Self-empowerment through personal choice is the message of this lively survey. Graydon examines our fascination with beauty and the people and forces that determine our views of what we see as beautiful. From fairy tales to television, mythology to Miss America, fashion to fine art, "beauty rules," she acknowledges, "and yet, ideas about what's `beautiful' change all the time." Written in a breezy, conversational style, the book looks at double standards for men and women and the resulting effects on careers and health. The author traces the concept throughout history and in various cultures, touching on corsets and foot-binding, plastic surgery, steroids, and cosmetics. Graydon exposes the fickle side of the beauty industry without unnecessary blaming. Each chapter ends with a list of "Image Reflections" to consider. Black-and-white photos and reproductions depict historically changing views. Thought-provoking cartoons open each chapter, and sidebars add punch with quotes and factoids. Extensive reference notes add to the book's research value, enhancing its broad appeal to teens dealing daily with their own place in the beauty culture. Helen Reynolds's "A Fashionable History of Costume" series (Raintree) features bright color photos of changing artifacts.-Joyce Adams Burner, Hillcrest Library, Prairie Village, KS Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
BC Parent - Elizabeth Shaffer
[Review of previous edition:] An insightful examination into our consumer culture... clear and honest.
Ottawa Citizen - Elizabeth Payne
[Review of previous edition:] Eye-opening guide aimed at teens that encourages them to start thinking critically about the beauty industry.
Toronto Sun - Sandy Naiman
[Review of previous edition:] Does for young girls what Naomi Wolf's The Beauty Myth did for their mothers. Written in an upbeat engaging style... Puts into perspective the pervasive images of beauty pumped into our collective consciousness.
Canadian Materials - Julie Chychota
[Review of previous edition:] Essentially, In Your Face: The Culture of Beauty and You endorses the old adage that handsome is as handsome does--but readers won't mind, because it does it oh, so beautifully! In her down-to-earth manner, author Shari Graydon puts on a show-and-tell of beauty past and present. Over the course of eleven chapters, [she] models healthy skepticism of beauty products and procedures, so that readers, in turn, will begin to exercise their critical thinking skills with respect to the politics of beauty... about "putting beauty into perspective" so that readers may make informed decisions... While the author arrives at a predictable conclusion, that personality and attitude are of greater value than appearance, she skillfully avoids tired clichés and takes the reader on an exhilarating ride... The concerns driving this book have less to do with a reader's arrival at a final destination than they have to do with a reader's cognitive journey. Highly
Recommended.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781550378566
  • Publisher: Annick Press, Limited
  • Publication date: 9/4/2004
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 630,159
  • Age range: 11 years
  • Product dimensions: 6.25 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

Shari Graydon is an award-winning writer, educator, and activist who has authored the bestselling Made You Look and edited an essay collection for adults, I Feel Great About My Hands. She lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

Karen Klassen is an illustrator and painter who has worked with a variety of editorial and advertising clients. She lives in Calgary, Alberta. Katy Lemay is a collage artist whose work has appeared in many newspapers and magazines. She lives in Quebec.

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Table of Contents

Introduction

Once Upon a Time

Finding the 'fair' in fairy tales
Beauty at the box office
Reality check
Chicks in charge
Beauty myths, Greek style
Image reflections

The Eye of the Beholder

Indefinite definitions
Bad hair days through the ages
Caution: Curves ahead
Body image goes global
The rules of attraction
Image reflections

The Young and the Healthy

Beauty survivors
Face first
Deceitful looks and changing cues
In praise of... average?
Image reflections

Suffering is Optional

The Christmas tree syndrome
Making up
Hair-free, not carefree!
Bring on the needles
Breathless beauties
If the shoe fits...
Under the knife
Buyer beware
Bulking up
Image reflections

Double Standard

The so-called 'fair sex'
Women's work?
Power play
Tall, dark, and handsome
Says who?
Old farts and sweet young things
Beefcake joins cheesecake
Image reflections

Beauty Power

Battles on the beauty front
Size bias
Branded beauty
Image reflections

Opportunity or Knocks?

Pleasing impressions
Caution: Beauty at work
Only skin deep
Too cute
More than just a pretty face
Image reflections

Competition 24/7

Ancient beauty rivalries
Bathing beauties: A tourist attraction
Challenges to the 'cattle show'
The cruel school of stereotypes
The un-winnable media watch
Unnatural beauty secrets
Image reflections

Flogging Fantasies

Makeup makeover
Promises, promises
The credibility diet
Un-reality programming
Addicted to the knife
Image reflections

A Day in the Life

Dream come true?
Reality check
Glamor girls
Playing the 'boy toy'
Fair friends and dream dates

Happiness not guaranteed
Performance pressure
The dark side
Image reflections

Beyond Image

Take a beauty break
Expand the definition
The triumph of personality
Tuum est

Notes
Acknowledgements
Photo Credits
Index

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Preface

Introduction

Beauty rules.

And not just in our fantasies. Do you ever get the impression that the girls and guys blessed with knock-'em-dead good looks are much more likely than everyone else to fall into fame and fortune?

Turn on your favorite TV show, scan a few magazine covers at the local corner store, or check out the singers who make it big: chances are the faces and bodies you're looking at are more attractive than most of the people you see walking down the street or hanging out in the hallways at school.

Every day, in a thousand ways, we're reminded of how much easier the world seems to be for people blessed with the right hair, face, and body parts. You can't help but wonder whether your own life would be just that much better if the reflection looking back at you from the mirror every morning were a bit more like Brad Pitt or Jennifer Lopez, and a bit less like your Uncle Howard or Aunt Lou.

And yet, ideas about what's 'beautiful' change all the time. Your closet probably has evidence of the fact that fashion is awfully fickle: what's considered cool and desirable one month can be 'so over' the next. And not everyone has the same tastes: not here in North America, and certainly not in other parts of the world. Open up any history book or foreign magazine: you'll see people whose looks may be admired in their own countries, or would have wowed their friends in the past, but wouldn't turn heads in your crowd.

Ever ask yourself why? Why then, and not now? Why there, and not here? Why that look, and not this?

Even though the standards of beauty -- not to mention the methods for achieving it -- have changed radically over time and across cultures, it's pretty clear that the desire to look hot is hard-wired into human nature. Art in the tomb of an Egyptian nobleman who lived around 2400 BC shows a slave beautifying his feet; a couple of thousand years later, Cleopatra, an acknowledged babe of her day, was big into eyeliner; and aspiring hotties of the 21st century can choose from a seemingly endless array of beauty aids.

In Your Face sets out to discover:

  • why we're so fascinated by beauty;
  • what we've done over the centuries and across cultures to stand out, fit in, and measure up;
  • who gets to decide what's hot and what's not; and
  • what forces and sources shape our views.

We'll examine the beauty lessons we learn in everything from bedtime stories to blockbuster movies and check out the vast and varied definitions of beauty from all over the world. And our exploration of the enduring appeal of the young and the healthy will help to explain some of the wild and wacky things people have done in the past and are doing today in pursuit of looking good.

We'll compare the gap in the beauty standards applied to guys and girls, and shine some light on the power games that have been played in the name of beauty to keep some people in their place. Along the way, we'll look at the advantages and the disadvantages (yes, there are some!) of being judged a hot property.

In Your Face goes backstage at beauty contests -- both the kind that focus on tiaras and prize money, and the kind that happen every day in school hallways and bathroom mirrors. We'll also open the vault on the folks who get rich by making the rest of us feel insecure, and expose the gap between what we see and what's actually achievable. And we'll check out the impact that being beautiful had on the lives of a couple of great-looking teens.

Understanding the powers and pitfalls of trying to look our best won't necessarily inspire us to toss out the tweezers or hair gel. But putting beauty into perspective can definitely help us to stop feeling so controlled by it. The treatment -- if not the cure -- includes valuable reality checks and alternative beauty tips; great strategies for wrestling your feelings about image pressure to the ground.

Read More Show Less

Introduction

Introduction

Beauty rules.

And not just in our fantasies. Do you ever get the impression that the girls and guys blessed with knock-'em-dead good looks are much more likely than everyone else to fall into fame and fortune?

Turn on your favorite TV show, scan a few magazine covers at the local corner store, or check out the singers who make it big: chances are the faces and bodies you're looking at are more attractive than most of the people you see walking down the street or hanging out in the hallways at school.

Every day, in a thousand ways, we're reminded of how much easier the world seems to be for people blessed with the right hair, face, and body parts. You can't help but wonder whether your own life would be just that much better if the reflection looking back at you from the mirror every morning were a bit more like Brad Pitt or Jennifer Lopez, and a bit less like your Uncle Howard or Aunt Lou.

And yet, ideas about what's 'beautiful' change all the time. Your closet probably has evidence of the fact that fashion is awfully fickle: what's considered cool and desirable one month can be 'so over' the next. And not everyone has the same tastes: not here in North America, and certainly not in other parts of the world. Open up any history book or foreign magazine: you'll see people whose looks may be admired in their own countries, or would have wowed their friends in the past, but wouldn't turn heads in your crowd.

Ever ask yourself why? Why then, and not now? Why there, and not here? Why that look, and not this?

Even though the standards of beauty -- not to mention the methods for achieving it -- have changed radically overtime and across cultures, it's pretty clear that the desire to look hot is hard-wired into human nature. Art in the tomb of an Egyptian nobleman who lived around 2400 BC shows a slave beautifying his feet; a couple of thousand years later, Cleopatra, an acknowledged babe of her day, was big into eyeliner; and aspiring hotties of the 21st century can choose from a seemingly endless array of beauty aids.

In Your Face sets out to discover:

  • why we're so fascinated by beauty;
  • what we've done over the centuries and across cultures to stand out, fit in, and measure up;
  • who gets to decide what's hot and what's not; and
  • what forces and sources shape our views.


We'll examine the beauty lessons we learn in everything from bedtime stories to blockbuster movies and check out the vast and varied definitions of beauty from all over the world. And our exploration of the enduring appeal of the young and the healthy will help to explain some of the wild and wacky things people have done in the past and are doing today in pursuit of looking good.

We'll compare the gap in the beauty standards applied to guys and girls, and shine some light on the power games that have been played in the name of beauty to keep some people in their place. Along the way, we'll look at the advantages and the disadvantages (yes, there are some!) of being judged a hot property.

In Your Face goes backstage at beauty contests -- both the kind that focus on tiaras and prize money, and the kind that happen every day in school hallways and bathroom mirrors. We'll also open the vault on the folks who get rich by making the rest of us feel insecure, and expose the gap between what we see and what's actually achievable. And we'll check out the impact that being beautiful had on the lives of a couple of great-looking teens.

Understanding the powers and pitfalls of trying to look our best won't necessarily inspire us to toss out the tweezers or hair gel. But putting beauty into perspective can definitely help us to stop feeling so controlled by it. The treatment -- if not the cure -- includes valuable reality checks and alternative beauty tips; great strategies for wrestling your feelings about image pressure to the ground.

Read More Show Less

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