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Perfect Me
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About the Author

Heather Widdows is the John Ferguson Professor of Global Ethics in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Birmingham. Her books include Global Ethics: An Introduction, The Connected Self: The Ethics and Governance of the Genetic Individual, and The Moral Vision of Iris Murdoch.

Reviews

"In . . . Perfect Me, Heather Widdows, a philosophy professor at the University of Birmingham, England, convincingly argues that the pressures on women to appear thinner, younger and firmer are stronger than ever."---Amanda Hess, New York Times
"
Perfect Me
, a buzzed-about new book by Heather Widdows, argues women face unprecedented pressure to appear thinner, younger and firmer."---Anne Kingston, Maclean's
"One of The Atlantic's Best Books of 2018"
"A sharp and accessible read."---Regan Penaluna, Guenrica
"In 1990 . . . Naomi Wolf published The Beauty Myth, her examination "and her indictment "of the way attractiveness functions as both a metaphor for and a mandate over women (TM)s lives. The book now has a sequel, of sorts. . . . Perfect Me: Beauty as an Ethical Ideal . . . [is] a scholarly work that is urgently relevant to the current cultural moment."---Meagan Garber, The Atlantic
"This groundbreaking book is an extended reflection on what Widdows argues to be the increasingly demanding norms of feminine beauty. Perfect Me moves forward from both second wave feminist critiques of the ~fashion-beauty complex (TM) and third wave feminist insistence on individual empowerment and choice. Widdows acknowledges the pleasures of the beauty ideal but argues that it produces significant communal harms. She proposes reframing these harms as public health concerns, a shift that opens the way for new and more systemic ethical analyses." "Alison M. Jaggar, University of Colorado at Boulder
"Heather Widdows, in Perfect Me, considers the far-ranging implications of attractiveness rendered in the imperative, giving beauty itself, in the process, the rigorously intellectual treatment it deserves. The book, an academic title with mass-market implications, considers beauty as a construction, racialized and gendered; beauty as a constriction, often punishing and occasionally cruel; and beauty as a goal that remains, for most, persistently out of reach. Perfect Me is a treatise that often reads, fittingly, as an indictment "a book that recognizes all the ways people are taught, still, to judge books by their covers."--The Atlantic
oeIn this sensitive, nuanced, and vitally important book, Heather Widdows uses an eye-opening combination of empirical and theoretical sources to show how the beauty ideal is increasingly irresistible and without exception: virtually every woman of every age, class, and nationality is expected to make herself beautiful. Perfect Me is fascinating, challenging, and essential reading. "Clare Chambers, author of Against Marriage: An Egalitarian Defence of the Marriage-Free State
"Innovative and original." "Anne Phillips, author of The Politics of the Human
"Widdows brings much-needed subtly to current conversations about the moral and social role of physical appearance in our daily lives." "A. W. Eaton, editor of Talk to Her
oePerfect Me exposes beauty for what it has become in the twenty-first century, an ethical ideal that endlessly raises and narrows the standards of what counts as normal. Widdows manages to be sensitive to the pleasures and rewards of beauty while avoiding the individualist traps of uncritically celebrating women (TM)s choices and ignoring the ways cultural practices contribute to social injustice. This is a timely and much-needed book that will enrich our moral and political conversations about beauty. "Serene J. Khader, author of Adaptive Preferences and Women (TM)s Empowerment

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