How the Cultural Obsession with Appearance Hurts Girls and Women
On Sale: April 18, 2017
Hardcover / e-Book
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An award-winning Northwestern University psychology
professor reveals how the cultural obsession with women's
appearance is an epidemic that harms women's ability to get
ahead and to live happy, meaningful lives, in this powerful,
eye-opening work in the vein of Naomi Wolf, Peggy Orenstein,
and Sheryl Sandberg.
Today’s young women face a bewildering set of contradictions
when it comes to beauty. They don’t want to be Barbie dolls
but, like generations of women before them, are told they
must look like them. They’re angry about the media’s
treatment of women but hungrily consume the very outlets
that belittle them. They mock modern culture’s absurd beauty
ideal and make videos exposing Photoshopping tricks, but
feel pressured to emulate the same images they criticize by
posing with a "skinny arm." They understand that what they
see isn’t real but still download apps to airbrush their
selfies. Yet these same young women are fierce fighters for
the issues they care about. They are ready to fight back
against their beauty-sick culture and create a different
world for themselves, but they need a way forward.
In Beauty Sick, Dr. Renee Engeln, whose TEDx talk on beauty
sickness has received more than 250,000 views, reveals the
shocking consequences of our obsession with girls’
appearance on their emotional and physical health and their
wallets and ambitions, including depression, eating
disorders, disruptions in cognitive processing, and lost
money and time. Combining scientific studies with the voices
of real women of all ages, she makes clear that to truly
fulfill their potential, we must break free from cultural
forces that feed destructive desires, attitudes, and
words—from fat-shaming to denigrating commentary about other
She provides inspiration and workable solutions to help
girls and women overcome negative attitudes and embrace
their whole selves, to transform their lives, claim the
futures they deserve, and, ultimately, change their world.
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