By Debra Gimlin
At the present time girls are lifting weights to construct muscle, wrapping their our bodies in seaweed to minimize undesirable water retention, attending weigh-ins at nutrition facilities, and devoting themselves to many different forms of "body work." crammed with the voices of actual ladies, this e-book unravels the advanced emotional and highbrow motivations that force them as they confront American culture's unreachable attractiveness beliefs. This robust feminist research lucidly and compellingly argues opposed to the concept the recognition of physique paintings implies that girls are enslaved to a male-fashioned "beauty myth." crucial analyzing for figuring out present debates on attractiveness, physique paintings demonstrates that girls really use physique paintings to flee that attractiveness fable. Debra Gimlin makes a speciality of 4 websites the place she performed in-depth research--a attractiveness salon, aerobics sessions, a cosmetic surgery hospital, and a social and political association for obese girls. The sincere and provocative interviews integrated during this ebook discover those women's emotions approximately their our bodies, their purposes for trying to swap or come to phrases with them, and the reactions of others of their lives. those interviews exhibit that ladies are redefining their identities via their participation in physique paintings, that they are engaged on their self-images up to on their our bodies. cosmetic surgery, for instance, finally is an empowering existence adventure for plenty of girls who decide upon it, whereas hairstyling turns into an enviornment for laying declare to specialist and social category identities. This e-book develops a resounding photograph of ways ladies use physique paintings to negotiate the connection among physique and self, a procedure that necessarily comprises coming to phrases with bodies' deviation from cultural beliefs. considered one of the few reviews that incorporates empirical proof of women's personal interpretations of physique paintings, this significant undertaking can be established firmly in cultural experiences, symbolic interactionism, and feminism. With this publication, Debra Gimlin provides her voice to these of students who're now having a look past the outside of the wonder fantasy to the complicated truth of women's lives.
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Extra info for Body Work: Beauty and Self-Image in American Culture
Anne’s life situation, rather than her understanding of beauty or fashion, determines her hairstyle. Other women dismiss their stylists’ advice because they believe that the feminine hairstyles the stylists suggest undermine 44 / The Hair Salon an appearance of professionalism. Barbara, a ﬁfty-three-year-old marriage counselor, explains, “Danielle says that I shouldn’t wear my hair pinned up because it isn’t fashionable or attractive. ” Seeing competence and stylishness as incompatible attributes, Barbara styles her hair to accommodate a professional identity.
Although the women seldom explicitly distinguish their hairstyling choices from those made by women of lower social status, they imply such comparisons by using terms like “classy” and “not tacky” to 41 / The Hair Salon describe their own hair. The women believe that particular styles—typically the less contrived ones—appear “classy,” that is, middle-class, while “big,” “poofy,” or “ﬂashy” hair does not. Importantly, the “natural” hair that these women desire implies a middle-class lifestyle in which resources are available to provide the healthy food and activities that produce “healthy” hair.
Pamela’s clients take this danger into consideration when choosing their hairstyles. Elizabeth, a thirty-four-year-old accountant, explains, “I wear this hairstyle, I guess, because I think it’s attractive, ﬂattering on me, but also because it is simple. I think it makes me look professional to my clients. ” Although Elizabeth uses her hairstyle to forge a professional identity, she does not disregard the importance of attractiveness. Hair, for Elizabeth, is a display of a particular type of female beauty—one that is “simple” and therefore suitable to her professional status.