1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Another review from a (former?) sufferer of Body Dysmorphic Disorder,
This review is from: The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty are Used Against Women (Paperback)
As a sufferer of Body Dysmorphic Disorder since the age of 14, the topic of physical beauty has been a very sensitive and poignant subject for me for quite a long time. I have made quite a lot of progress over the last decade since my diagnosis, but still have far to go. "The Beauty Myth" attracted me because I thought it might give me some insight into why physical beauty is such a big deal in today's society. Although the book is now over 20 years old, the subject is more true now than ever before.
The question "why is beauty so important in today's society?" is very complicated. Everything from attraction to misogyny seems to be an answer, and so this question continues to have people confused. This book offers a few explanations which to some may seem far-fetched and even conspiratorial. To others, they may be a startling realization which may free them from the trap of the beauty myth.
I enjoyed the book. The chapters did feel a little long and drawn-out to me, but I found this book enlightening. Instead of seeing the images of "beauty" as a universal ideal that all men love and desire, I can start to see them as simply advertising for profit. Instead of seeing long glossy hair, clear skin, big eyes and small, slim curves, I can start to see hairspray (just £8 to improve your whole day), face wash (£5 for beautiful, clear confidence), mascara (£6 for unbeatable attitude), and diets (I'm thinking of you, Jenny Craig). Models and celebrities, made up for hours, then airbrushed, not because we should ideally look that way, but because if we THINK we should look that way, we will SPEND money on products by brands that are featured in the magazine. There are other reasons for the beauty myth, that I will not go into here in too much detail, but include Naomi Wolf's assertion that the beauty myth was created when women no longer responded to the message that they should all be "the perfect housewife," in order to keep women from realizing their full potential.
Overall, the book has a feel that it encourages women to be confident, strong, smart, independent, and wise, and to support one another instead of seeing eachother as competition. (Which, sadly, is honestly something a lot of women do.) It is a good feminist read and I recommend it to any woman who feels suffocated by the pressure to be beautiful in today's society. I recommend it alongside Female Chauvinist Pigs and Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism.