Book Launch and Wine Reception for
The demand to be beautiful is increasingly important in today’s visual and virtual culture. Rightly or wrongly, being perfect has become an ethical ideal to live by, and according to which we judge ourselves good or bad, a success or failure. Perfect Me explores the moral nature of the beauty ideal, showing how it is more dominant, more demanding, and more global than ever before.
Heather Widdows argues that our perception of self is changing. More and more, we locate the self in the body. Not just our actual, flawed bodies, but our transforming and imagined ones. As this happens, we further embrace the beauty ideal. Nobody is firm enough, thin enough, smooth enough, or buff enough—not without significant effort and cosmetic intervention. And as more demanding practices become the norm, more will be required of us, and the beauty ideal will be harder and harder to resist.
If you have ever felt the urge to “make the best of yourself,” or worried that you were “letting yourself go,” this book explains why. Perfect Me examines how the beauty ideal has come to define how we see ourselves and others, how we structure our daily practices, and how it enthrals us with promises of the good life that are dubious at best. It demonstrates how, if we are ever to address its harms, we must begin by recognising its ethical nature.
The book will be launched with short talks by Heather, Clare Chambers, and Alison Jaggar during the reception.