The United Nations concept of "harmful traditional/cultural practices" provides a useful lens for the author to advance her critique. She makes the case for including Western beauty practices within this definition, examining their role in damaging women's health, creating sexual difference and enforcing female deference.
First-wave feminists of the 1970s criticized pervasive beauty regimes such as dieting and depilation, but a later argument took hold that beauty practices were no longer oppressive now that women could "choose" them. In recent years the reality of Western beauty practices has become much more bloody and severe, requiring the breaking of skin and the rearrangement or amputation of body parts. Beauty and Misogyny seeks to make sense of why beauty practices have not only persisted but become more extreme. It examines the pervasive use of makeup, the misogyny of fashion and high-heeled shoes, and looks at the role of pornography in the creation of increasingly popular beauty practices such as breast implants, genital waxing, surgical alteration of the labia and other forms of self-mutilation. The book concludes by considering how a culture of resistance to these practices can be created.
A new and thoroughly updated edition of this essential work will appeal to all levels of students and teachers of gender studies, cultural studies and feminist psychology, and to anyone with an interest in feminism, women and beauty, and women's health.
Reproductive Justice: A Global Concern provides a comprehensive and integrated examination of the status of reproductive rights for the world's women, covering a wide range of reproductive rights issues. Topics include women's rights to determine their own sexuality and choose their own partners, rape, sex trafficking, fertility treatments and other assisted reproductive technologies, contraception and abortion, maternal and infant mortality, postpartum support, and breastfeeding.
The contributors—psychologists, sociologists, and health experts—are also gender experts and feminist scholars who recognize the ways in which gender is an important aspect of the human experience. In this eye-opening work, they challenge the marketing and "science" that increasingly render women's bodies and experiences as a series of symptoms, diseases, and dysfunctions that require treatment by medical professionals who prescribe pharmaceutical and surgical interventions. Each article in the book addresses the marketing of a specific "condition" that has been constructed in a way that convinces a woman that her body is inadequate or her experience and behavior are not good enough. Among the topics addressed are menstruation, menopause, pregnancy, post-partum adjustment, sexual desire, weight, body dissatisfaction, moodiness, depression, grief, and anxiety.