Wednesday, November 16, 2011

In Your Face: The Culture of Beauty and You by Shari Graydon

Beauty is a loaded concept. Defined by culture, media, and personal aesthetic, and constantly shifting, we all seem to know it when we see it and we definitely know it when we don’t. From birth we are told stories about beauty that lead us to believe it will make us happier, kinder, more successful, and simply better. In the pursuit of beauty men and women have starved, bound, painted, and mutilated themselves. But is beauty all it’s cracked up to be?

In In Your Face, Shari Graydon takes on our beauty culture, from the brothers Grimm to Hollywood, touching on the changing ideal body through the ages, the development of cosmetics, beauty contests, body modification, and the photo-retouching age. As Graydon takes the reader through this history, she discusses the powers-that-be behind the modern idea of beauty and gives readers excellent advice for reading magazines and advertisements critically.

Part self-help, part critical cultural analysis, and part information literacy workbook, In Your Face is an accessible and well-researched primer for anyone ready to question the beauty ideal. --Regan Schwartz

Graydon, Sherri. 2006. In Your Face: The Culture of Beauty and You. New York: Annick Press.

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