Thursday, July 9, 2015

In Your Face by Shari Graydon

We may not think about it, but advertising and the beauty industry affects our perception of beauty. How is it that fat used to be beautiful, but now skinny is in? It's probably marketing (I think. Never take a marketing class unless you want to suspect everything is a form of advertising). At any rate, In Your Face: The Culture of Beauty and You tries to peel back the layers to look at how beauty is defined, and examine our perceptions of beauty.

When I say "our", I really mean "the Western standard of beauty", but "our" was much easier to write. Besides, I think it's safe to say that Western beauty standards have influenced much of the world.

Topics covered by In Your Face include fairytales and beauty, the history of beauty, double standards for men and women, whether being beautiful is an advantage. All in all, there are ten chapters, each exploring a different aspect of beauty. Most of the focus is on Western beauty, although there are brief mentions of African/Asian/Other parts of the world (mostly as a comparison to the West, so it's not really examining their culture of beauty).

Each chapter is written in a conversational style, and laid out like a magazine. It's bright and colourful, with fancy fonts and quite a few images. At the end of the chapter, there is a one page summary, with each point in a box.

I really liked this book. I wasn't expecting a serious treatise on how we view beauty (the cover set my expectations), and when I look back at the book, it seems to have covered a lot more than I thought it would. I think that this serves as a good introduction to the idea of beauty, and how it has been seen throughout the ages.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

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