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The Power of Beauty Paperback – 17 Oct 1996

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x89e86468) out of 5 stars 10 reviews
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x89d5f06c) out of 5 stars 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?
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x89d5f0c0) out of 5 stars 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.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x89d5f4f8) out of 5 stars 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".
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x89d5f8ac) out of 5 stars Friday does her thing again, as only she can 26 Nov. 1996
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Somewhere between the raging feminists on the anti-porn left and the blithe Camille Paglias of the neo-con(?) left lies the sexy common sense of Nancy Friday. In this book she talks about the way beauty -- the beguiling attraction of it and social imperatives that surround it -- thrill and oppress both women AND men. More than almost any other popular female writer on social topics today, Friday loves and sympathizes with men; she understands what most males have to go through and she wants everyone to give guys a break -- so much so that it's almost embarrassing to a fellow who has had any exposure to feminist issues. Her reconstruction of female experiences in adolescent are especially excruciating. This is a long, slow ramble through both social issues and Friday's opinions and life. There's a little titillation, for longtime Friday fans -- she relates some early teen lesbian experiences -- and plenty of references to recent theories and findings in social and pop psychology. One might have liked a little muscular editing on this tome, but there are still too few writers in that erotic, sensible center where Friday has taken up permanent residence
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x89d5f678) out of 5 stars Beauty: Understanding it 5 July 2009
By warparty - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Nancy Friday explores all facets of being beautiful. Especially helpful is admitting the effect beauty has on people. She then goes on with advice on how to accept being beautiful without alienating others.
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