Body Work: Beauty and Self-Image in American Culture by Debra Gimlin

By Debra Gimlin

This present day ladies are lifting weights to construct muscle, wrapping their our bodies in seaweed to lessen undesirable water retention, attending weigh-ins at nutrition facilities, and devoting themselves to many different forms of "body work." stuffed with the voices of actual girls, this publication unravels the advanced emotional and highbrow motivations that force them as they confront American culture's unreachable attractiveness beliefs. This strong feminist examine lucidly and compellingly argues opposed to the concept that the recognition of physique paintings signifies that girls are enslaved to a male-fashioned "beauty myth." crucial studying for figuring out present debates on attractiveness, physique paintings demonstrates that girls truly use physique paintings to flee that attractiveness fable. Debra Gimlin specializes in 4 websites the place she carried out in-depth research--a attractiveness salon, aerobics periods, a cosmetic surgery health facility, and a social and political association for obese girls. The sincere and provocative interviews incorporated during this ebook discover those women's emotions approximately their our bodies, their purposes for trying to switch 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, eventually is an empowering existence adventure for lots of girls who decide on it, whereas hairstyling turns into an area for laying declare to expert and social classification identities. This e-book develops a resounding photo of the way ladies use physique paintings to negotiate the connection among physique and self, a strategy that unavoidably comprises coming to phrases with bodies' deviation from cultural beliefs. considered one of the few reviews that incorporates empirical facts of women's personal interpretations of physique paintings, this significant undertaking is additionally dependent firmly in cultural reports, symbolic interactionism, and feminism. With this e-book, Debra Gimlin provides her voice to these of students who're now having a look past the outside of the sweetness delusion to the complicated fact of women's lives.

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Thus Janet does not refer to the importance of “beautiful” or “healthy” hair, but instead stresses the significance of “styled” hair. ” In effect, womanhood itself, as much as female beauty, is created through hairstyling. The beauticians invest not only their conceptions of femininity but also their daily activities and livelihood in beauty work. Furthermore, they are the teachers and masters of their “faith,” responsible for providing their clients with the appropriate instruction and instilling in them the proper degree of commitment.

It’s not that appearance is unimportant, but you change your ideas about what is sexy. ” Long hair locates one’s sexual attractiveness in the physical realm, whereas short hair accentuates a woman’s nonphysical sexual attractiveness. In addition, short hair seems to indicate that an older woman knows her proper place. ” 45 / The Hair Salon Pamela’s clients bring their own understandings of hair and beauty into the salon, along with a set of experiences that both shape these understandings and structure their choices.

For example, Deirdre, a forty-threeyear-old nurse, says, “Five minutes and that’s it. I don’t like to invest a lot of time in my [hair]. ” Hair, Deirdre suggests, is less important to her than other interests, such as speed walking, biking, and gourmet cooking. For this reason, she wears a style that requires little time and effort, a style that she describes as part of an effort to do the “healthiest, most natural thing” for her body in general. However, Deirdre comes to the salon once every four weeks and spends $80 and three hours having her hair colored, cut, and blow-dried.

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