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The Power of Beauty Paperback – 17 Oct 1996

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 11 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
About more than beauty 31 July 2006
By Julie A. Sawitzke - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Nancy Friday is a great writer, no doubt, but this book did not ring true for me. Yes, it was part memoir; but she makes assertions based on her experiences that are a bit of a stretch. She is Freudian, insisting that female and male rage at each other is a result of infantile powerlessness in the face of mother's omnipotence, which may or may not be true. But she insists that if more men got into the nursery it would relieve infantile rage by giving children more than one pair of eyes to "see" them and thus relieving dependence on mom (and women in general). She says that fathers are less squeamish about diapers and genitalia, and women are generally disapproving of masturbation and sex, and that our present gender inequities are the result of attitudes each of learns of our bodies in infancy from mom. The power of beauty is used by women to be seen, as we didn't as infants. This author grew up without a father, and it is apparent throughout the book that she idealizes men, and is over sympathetic to how feminism has affected them. Moreover, she asserts that women are barring the door for men to enter the nursery. This I find absurd. Of course there are exceptions to the rule, but men don't enter the nursery because they don't WANT to enter the nursery. Anyone who has cared for an infant (and the author has not) knows that it is (rewarding, yes) but also exhausting, grueling, messy, and time consuming; and men gratefully leave it to women, preferring to work outside the home. If that isn't it, another likely reason is because of what other men (and perhaps women) would think of them for taking paternity leave; it is NOT women who are barring the door.

On the bright side, she has the ability to make me think about feminist issues from a whole different angle, which is always good for me, or anyone else.

It seems that beauty is peripheral to the main gist of this book, not the focus. It did not give me the information I was looking for. Alternatively, I recommend The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolfe.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Celebrate What You Have 29 Nov. 2002
By Carmen Matthews - Published on
Format: Hardcover
While this book is an autobiography of Nancy Friday, about her ambivalence between her desire to be seen, and her desire to not be seen, the bigger message is that she is using her life experiences to communicate that all women live with this ambivalence, throughout our entire lives.
And I am grateful for her willingness to be so visible, in hopes that we all will face our authentic selves.
My favorite messages from this book are:
· "If I can persuade you how beauty inspires envy and then how resentment sucks all the joy out of beauty, I will have accomplished something that is not easy for me, for I have envied nothing more in life than beauty, envied it in others and never believed in a bit of what I might have owned; to have enjoyed my own would have invited the spiteful envy of others, or so I feared."
· "The irony is that women feel easier about entering the workplace, providing for ourselves, challenging and acting like men than we do in confronting one another over the uses of beauty. We still practice the denial of beauty's power out of fear of reprisals from other women. At times it is as if men don't even exist."
· "Before women can enjoy the rewards that come with the beauty we now work so hard to purchase, we must learn to see our beauty as power."
· "Young women sacrifice so much at the advent of adolescence and then hate men for not rewarding us adequately for everything we gave up for them. But boys did not ask it of us. We did it, drank the KoolAid and then hated boys for not raising us from the dead with a power they never possessed in the first place.
To those who gave such strongly "negative" reviews about this book, could it be that it is not easy for many people to admit how envious most people are, over the beauty that they recognize in others?
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Sounds like Friday sat down with gin and a tape recorder 28 Jan. 1998
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I'll keep it brief. The Booklist review was right. I thought I'd get intelligent, psychological discourse on how beauty affects our lives. Instead Friday uses it as an excuse to wax poetic about her childhood. It sounds like she sat down with a girlfriend, a bottle of booze and a tape recorder and just blabbed. It should've been called, "Everything You Already Knew About the Power of Beauty But Were Too Lazy to Write 400 pages about".
10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
It's not what you think!! 24 Dec. 1998
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
I was SOOO disappointed. It was horrible. I have to admit I only made it through the first two chapters and then the chapter on men (and I almost Never stop reading books). (My roommate read the whole thing and she didn't like it either). Does this woman have ISSUES!! She mentions at the beginning that if you're not totally hung up on how you look, it's probably because you tried to play the beauty game and lost. Mostly she talks about how her father abandoned her and her mother ignored her and this is the reasons she is the way she is (plus her incestuous grandfather played a big roll). She totally bashes feminism - citing nearly every stereotype in the book. Blames women for their women dress "sexually" are asking for sexual attention. Can you tell she likes Camille Paglia and writes favorably about her? (of course she hates Gloria Steinem and makes several snide remarks and completely dismisses Naomi Wolf). I can't think of anything else... I'm trying to block it. :) I just wanted to warn people to look at the book before ordering it!!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
If you are a pretty girl or woman you need to read this book to understand your POWER 16 Feb. 2014
By Dee Dee Russell - Published on
Format: Paperback
I'm late. Bought and read this book when it was published. It helped me to cope with my looks. I am not Beyonce beautiful but I have modeled and used my looks in industry.

Nancy Friday lays it all out. Why some pretty women are insecure, how the world sees you, why young fatherless pretty girls thirst after male approval and more important how to leverage your looks to win.

Nobody is telling women this today.
Also it is helpful for handsome men and those with beautiful people in their lives.
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