THE BEAUTY TRAP by Nancy C. Baker


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How women's lives are governed--surprise--by societally-imposed standards of beauty: a chatty, often obvious overview with some brief tips on avoiding the trap. Baker (Act II, New Lives for Former Wives) says her eyes were opened when she appeared on the ""Today"" show: ""there I was, about to debut on national television with a serious and important subject to discuss, and my biggest concern was how I looked!"" She describes historical feminine ideals: from the poisonous complexion potions of Roman and later European women, to foot-binding and the quest for the 17-inch waist. In toto: ""altering our physical appearance to conform to whatever is the current ideal of beauty certainly has cost us a great deal of time and money,"" and sometimes health and happiness as well. For the rest, Baker cites current surveys and studies of women's spending on cosmetics, how looks affect employment, the lengths to which women are driven to improve their appearance (breast surgery, hazardous acne medications). To avoid the beauty trap? ""Recognize that a woman's looks do not determine her worth""; ""acknowledge traits in yourself that you admire and develop new ones""; ""discuss the beauty trap with other women"" and with your man. Hardly an in-depth treatment--but perhaps a lightweight introduction for those who never gave the matter any thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1984
Publisher: Watts