The Beauty Myth

The Beauty Myth

How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women

Book - 2002
Average Rating:
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The bestselling classic that redefined our view of the relationship between beauty and female identity.

In today's world, women have more power, legal recognition, and professional success than ever before. Alongside the evident progress of the women's movement, however, writer and journalist Naomi Wolf is troubled by a different kind of social control, which, she argues, may prove just as restrictive as the traditional image of homemaker and wife. It's the beauty myth, an obsession with physical perfection that traps the modern woman in an endless spiral of hope, self-consciousness, and self-hatred as she tries to fulfill society's impossible definition of "the flawless beauty."

Publisher: New York : Perennial, 2002.
ISBN: 9780060512187
0060512180
Branch Call Number: 305.42 WOLF N
Characteristics: 348 pages ; 21 cm.

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ezhurbin Jun 08, 2017

I wanted to like this book a lot more than i did.
This book raises a number of interesting issues about how the pursuit of beauty is a societal conditioning that hurts women (and men). It made me more aware and skeptical about a number of things, especially in regards to beauty advertising. The book was published in 1991 and I am happy to say in that in our present time (2017) the beauty myth has loosen its hold on women. Some issues that Wolf describes in the book, like the proliferation and the pressure to have a cosmetic surgery, i feel, are no longer the permanent fixtures of the current beauty myth.
My issue with the book is that the first few chapters are interesting and engaging and then it goes off in rambling and rehearsing of the same ideas over and over and over and over again, to the point where it was hard to finish it. The book urgently needs an update both in terms of the current statistics and in editing for clarity and cohesion.
Overall, this is an enlightening read for both women and men, albeit not the most readable.

l
lukasevansherman
Jul 28, 2016

I went to a small Christian college and so, shockingly, missed out on a lot of feminist thought, history, and criticism. I do remember hearing about this and Faludi's "Backlash," which both came out in 1991 and were widely discussed. "Backlash" is a more wide-ranging book, while Wolf focuses more on the damage done to women through the emphasis on looks/body/sexiness/attractiveness. Though written 25 years, it is, if anything, more insightful, relevant, and trenchant now.

t
TigerLily_16
May 28, 2016

Very interesting! I would agree with Snowish though, that the complex writing style made it somewhat difficult to read, but it made a nice challenge.

r
ReallyFriendly
Apr 19, 2012

An important book for any female to read. While it is unlikely that you will agree with everything that is stated, she does make several excellent insights worth listening to.

And if you are a guy reading this (as I was), it's still pretty darn needful. It will give you a much clearer perspective into waters that were always murky.

Not the most pressing current issue, but a vital one nonetheless.

b
Binky34
Jul 26, 2011

in order to prove our "womanness" we have to march around in bikinis! im sooo pist off right now!

s
snowish
May 28, 2010

A very powerful book. Totally changed my perspective on how women are treated in today's western society. Minus one star for a somewhat complex style - does not make an easy reading in some instances.

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