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Showing posts from March, 2015

Workshop 1: Reflections from Cath

Image
The demands of beauty
By Catherine Joynson, Programme Manager, Nuffield Council on Bioethics
This blog post was written following the first Beauty Demands workshop. The second workshop will focus on the role of medical professionals in developing, offering and carrying out cosmetic procedures. We are currently calling for papers from graduate students to present at the workshop (deadline 17 April).

Before I went to the first Beauty Demands workshop in Warwick earlier this month, I hadn’t really given much thought to why I feel the need to shave my underarms. But when you think about it, it is an odd thing to do. And on that note, why do I spend large amounts of money and time on other (sometimes painful) beauty procedures? I haven’t taken things to the more extreme end of the spectrum and undergone any surgical procedures to improve my appearance (yet) but more and more people are. Over 50,000 people in 2013 according to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons in fact.[1]

Workshop 1: Reflections from Jennifer

I was very pleased to participate in the ARHC  Beauty Demands workshop. Having read Women's Studies at Masters levels, and now writing-up a PhD in feminist economy, it was an opportunity for me not only to consolidate my own research ideas, but also to explore new avenues and learn about areas of scholarship which I have yet to become familiar with. The interdisciplinary nature of the workshop made for very compelling discussion; allowing the group to thread together strands of feminist debates from cosmetic surgery, carcinogenic beauty regimes, psycho-sexual development, to beauty and body image.

There were some very interesting discussion around beauty/body alongside cancer, race, hair-removal, class, caste, and capitalism. The best thing about this workshop for me was the feedback and constructive criticisms; as an early-career researcher, it is very valuable to consider the advice and opinion of those who are well-established in their fields. I was very glad to present my work…

Workshop 1: Reflections from Breana

The “Changing Understanding of Body Image” workshop offered me, as a graduate student, the opportunity to present my in-progress dissertation to not only a new audience, but also an exceptionally talented group of individuals from an array of disciplines. I felt all of the academics, professionals, and graduate students in attendance came together in an incredibly dynamic way to foster very intellectually stimulating conversations and seriously challenge our understandings of beauty and self-image over the course of the two days.

I left the workshop with some really valuable feedback on my project and inspired to take my project in new and exciting ways. Having expanded my understanding of the ways in which body image and beauty demands shape the lives of so many women (and increasingly men) everyday I also left the workshop inspired to pursue some new areas of interest and new projects.

It was so great to have been invited to this event and I look forward to the future of the Beauty …

Melanie on the Cosmetic Surgery Industry

Beauty Demands project team member Melanie Latham, Reader in Law at Manchester Metropolitan University, has written about the cosmetic surgery industry. Read the full piece here.

'Cosmetic surgery is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the medical industry, worth US$2.3 billion in 2010 and forecast to grow to $3.6 billion in 2015. Of this, non-surgical procedures, which include Botox and dermal fillers, account for nine out of ten procedures and 75% of the market value.

But it is clear that the industry is failing when it comes to proper regulation of procedures and the private practitioners who sell services to make a profit – cosmetic surgeons who may have little or no qualifications, no experience, non-sterile instruments and no insurance.'

Workshop 1: Reflections from Rikke

The “Changing understandings of body image” workshop, hosted by the Beauty Demands Project, provided an excellent opportunity for intellectually stimulating, inspiring, and at times challenging, conversations regarding our perceptions of body image. As a graduate student, this was my first workshop of this kind and I found it very encouraging. I appreciated the opportunity to present my work in progress as well as to receive feedback from academics and professionals from a variety of backgrounds. I left the workshop with the feeling that I had not only broadened my understanding of the importance of my own work, but also of the work of others, and the Beauty Demands Project as such.

The Beauty Demands Project is an interdisciplinary project operating so as to push the boundaries of our understandings of beauty. Owing to this, it works to shed light on aspects of the body image that, at times, can be neglected or taken for granted as inevitable parts of being human. I am confident that…

Heather at Hay

Want to hear what Heather (project lead) had to say at the Hay Festival? You can do it right here!

Heather Widdows: Perfect Me!

Hay Festival 2014, Saturday 24 May 2014, 2.30pm - Elmley Foundation Stage

The Professor of Global Ethics explores the idea of perfection as exhibited in contemporary ideals of beauty. She questions the ways the aspiration can be read: as an individual’s aspiration to perfect themselves (‘I want to be perfect’), as assertion of what being perfect is (‘this is what I would be if I were perfect’), and as a command which a woman feels she should obey (‘you should be perfect’).

What Heather said: words from the Beauty Demands project lead

Here are some blogs written by Heather (our project lead):

On the Birmingham University website she wrote The Demands of the Beauty Ideal: What is required of us?

'Beauty is big business – particularly at this time of year – but it’s also an area of increasing public concern. With an ever-expanding array of technological tweaks and fixes on offer, the beauty and diet industries have become the subject of significant concerns over the safety of people who choose to undergo these procedures.

More than this, we worry – to greater or lesser degrees – about the extent to which we should engage with such practices. Do we need to wear make-up to work? What is required of us in terms of hair dying and body hair removal? Will youth-mimicking procedures such as Botox become par for the course in future? And what should we be telling our children?'

To read the full peice: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/perspective/beauty-ideal-widdows.aspx

On the Imperfect Cognitions blog (on delus…

Workshop 1: Reflections from Anna

It was a true privilege to be able to participate in the Beauty Demands workshop on 6 March. Having space to present ideas that I had been working with on a rather 'unconventional' philosophical concept with a group of experts was helpful both on a pedagogical and personal level.

My university department is quite small, so having time to receive constructive criticism and discuss ideas was very welcome.  It was equally (if not more!) beneficial to listen to the presentations given by other researchers.  The breadth of the issue truly came out through these discussions, as did the topic's importance to philosophical, legal and cultural dialogue.  Finishing off the day with an artist's interpretation of beauty in the layering of aging was both moving and engaging.

Truly a joy to be a part of this event! I do look forward to hearing more as the workshops continue.

Workshop 1: Body Image

Take a peek at what kinds of discussions will be taking place at the first Beauty Demands workshop!

Rikke Amundsen, ‘On revenge porn, speech acts and the sexual objectification of women’

This project addresses the question ‘can a feminist reading of the sexual objectification of women as speech, ground a normative case for making ‘revenge porn’ a criminal offence?’ Revenge porn refers to the act of disseminating sexually explicit images of a previous partner, without the consent of the pictured person (Guillemin, 2014). Objectification is referred to as the act of treating or perceiving another human being as an object or a thing (Papadaki, 2014). Drawing on J. L. Austin’s (1962) work on speech acts, the project uses as its starting point the idea that the sexually explicit images of individuals, disseminated as an act of ‘revenge’ by a previous partner, can be analyzed as speech acts.

This thesis will focus on revenge porn as a site of analysis of the sexual objectification of women, …