Download Beauty and Misogyny: Harmful Cultural Practices in the West by Sheila Jeffreys PDF

By Sheila Jeffreys

Should western attractiveness practices, starting from lipstick to labiaplasty, be incorporated in the United countries understandings of destructive traditional/cultural practices? by way of studying the function of universal good looks practices in destructive the future health of girls, growing sexual distinction, and imposing woman deference, this booklet argues that they should.

In the Seventies feminists criticized pervasive attractiveness regimes reminiscent of eating plan and depilation, yet a few ‘new’ feminists argue that good looks practices aren't any longer oppressive now that ladies can ‘choose’ them. even if, within the final twenty years the brutality of western attractiveness practices turns out to became even more serious, requiring the breaking of pores and skin, spilling of blood and rearrangement or amputation of physique elements. Beauty and Misogyny seeks to make experience of why attractiveness practices aren't basically simply as power, yet in lots of methods extra severe. It examines the pervasive use of make-up, the misogyny of style and high-heeled sneakers, and appears on the function of pornography within the construction of more and more well known attractiveness practices equivalent to breast implants, genital waxing and surgical alteration of the labia. It appears on the plastic surgery and physique piercing/cutting industries as being types of self-mutilation through proxy, during which the surgeons and piercers function proxies to hurt women’s our bodies, and concludes by way of contemplating how a tradition of resistance to those practices should be created.

This crucial paintings will attract scholars and lecturers of feminist psychology, gender stories, cultural stories, and feminist sociology at either undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, and to someone with an curiosity in feminism, ladies and wonder, and women’s health.

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Similarly, cosmetic surgery practices can lead to serious health problems, as Elizabeth Haiken documents in the case of breast implants (1997). Labiaplasty, like FGM, can lead to dif®culties in sexual functioning. Nussbaum's argument about the degree to which women in the west can ``choose'' could be seen as revealing a western bias, according to which women in the west are so advantaged that they can ``choose'' and thus whatever cultural practices they are required to engage in are not as severe as those in some African cultures.

The idea of biological sexual difference is the major obstacle to the recognition that men and women actually stand in relation to one another in positions of dominance and subordination. As another French feminist, Monique Wittig, puts it, ``The ideology of sexual difference functions as censorship in our culture by masking, on the ground of nature, the social opposition between men and women'' (Wittig, 1996, p. 24). The sex difference is created by a system of domination since in any system of 21 THE ``GRIP OF CULTURE ON THE BODY'' domination, ``The masters explain and justify the established divisions as a result of natural differences'' (p.

In the last decade a particularly brutal western beauty practice, labiaplasty, has grown in popularity with cosmetic surgeons. An Internet search under the term ``labiaplasty'' turned up 2,200 websites, most of which were for US cosmetic surgeons offering the procedure. com, 2002). The websites list the practice routinely among the other surgeries offered which cut up the female body to conform to male desires. In western countries too, 28 HARMFUL CULTURAL PRACTICES AND WESTERN CULTURE the practice of ``gender reassignment'' surgery, in which men and women are castrated, and breasts, penises, wombs are removed or constructed, is carried out by, often, the very same surgeons.

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