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The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty are Used Against Women Paperback – Sep 10 1990

4.2 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus (Sept. 10 1990)
  • ISBN-10: 0701134313
  • ISBN-13: 978-0701134310
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.8 x 3.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 558 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,940,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

This valuable study, full of infuriating statistics and examples, documents societal pressure on women to conform to a standard form of beauty. Freelance journalist Wolf cites predominant images that negatively influence women--the wrinkle-free, unnaturally skinny fashion model in advertisements and the curvaceous female in pornography--and questions why women risk their health and endure pain through extreme dieting or plastic surgery to mirror these ideals. She points out that the quest for beauty is not unlike religious or cult behavior: every nuance in appearance is scrutinized by the godlike, watchful eyes of peers, temptation takes the form of food and salvation can be found in diet and beauty aids. Women are "trained to see themselves as cheap imitations of fashion photographs" and must learn to recognize and combat these internalized images. Wolf's thoroughly researched and convincing theories encourage rejection of unrealistic goals in favor of a positive self-image.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Journalist and poet Wolf presents a provocative and persuasive account of the pervasiveness of the beauty ideal in all facets of Western culture, including work, sex, and religion. In showing how this myth works against women and how women sabotage themselves by their complicity with this impossible standard, she discusses at length two unfortunate consequences: the growth in the number of bulimic and anorexic women and the increasing popularity of cosmetic surgery. The facts are certainly stacked to prove her thesis but, for the most part, provide convincing evidence. In her final chapter, Wolf instructs women on how to crack the beauty myth. Recommended, especially for women's studies collections.
- Anne Twitchell, National Re search Council Lib., Washington,
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Every woman should read this book; in fact every human being should read this book because it addresses the beauty myth for both men and woman. For men, this book will help them understand how their own behaviour plays a role and how they are impacted by the myth and it will also help them understand how their wives, sisters, mothers and daughters are affected by this myth. For women, this book thoroughly explains the modern female experience. I found myself wishing I had read this book when I was younger (I just turned 30), however I somehow doubt that I would have had enough life experience to really understand what this book talks about. This book has inspired me to a better woman: someone who loves her body, who is turned on by genuine human love not violence and pornography, does not buy everything that corporations insist I need to be beautiful and who really engages with other women of all generations about these issues so that we stop seeing each other as a threat.
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As a woman, this book has been absolutely life-changing. Naomi Wolf exposes the beauty myth for what it is, and succinctly depicts how the myth oppresses women as a group. Better than any self-help book, this book allows the reader to see the myth in the raw, and become empowered by its exposure. Women's debilitating quest for eternal beauty is not just a neurotic insecurity innate to women, rather, it is an intentional man-made barrier inhibiting women's liberation. This realization is the most powerful way to dissociate oneself from society's shackles. I recommend this book to EVERYONE- it is as important for men to read as it is for women.
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Format: Paperback
I borrowed this book from the town library when I was about 15 years old. I understood and had already internalized many of the social norms for female appearance. (Now 23, working on a B.A. in Law and Justice/Sociology; I had to look this up for a cite in my paper.)

I was prompted to write by a previous comment regarding the possibility that striving for beauty is an evolutionary trait. What comes to my mind are both the peacock and the turkey as well as many species of fish where the males are the ones with beautiful colouring or plumage to attract the females attention. Regardless of any evolutionary desire to be beautiful, it is clear, after reading the book, that partriacal authority has appropraiated it, and perhaps mutated it, in order to reinforce that system.
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Format: Paperback
This was one of the first books I read that looked critically at female body image and beauty ideals and it changed my life. I can't say enough about this book... I loved it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I absolutely loved this book, enough in fact, to re-read it. It will change your perspective on what it really means to be 'beautiful' in Western society and how much this ideal image is costing women, both emotionally and economically.
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