Read this book. Seriously, if you are a woman and haven't read this book, you should. It wouldn't hurt men either. It's such an eye-opener to the theme beauty and how it's not at all as it's usually percieved. The book is almost 20 years old, but it's still current and important.
Wolf first lays out what the beauty myth is: in short, the belief beauty is something eternal and objective and that there is something called the "perfectly beautiful woman", to which goal all women should strive to. Then she shows the theme from different angles; how the beauty myth affects our work, culture, sex life, appetite and family life. She has really strong examples on how the beauty myth works in the society and how it hinders women from concentrating on and using their power on what really is important. At some points her arguments are very strong and I got the feeling she is exaggerating, but on second thought I saw that she's actually just telling the truth as it is and not trying to make it look nicer. Keep an open mind while reading, it's sometimes really hard to read and to believe. And obviously, some things have changed in the last 20 years.
Like said, The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women
is an eye-opener. Did you know that cellulitis was invented in 1973? Before that it was normal, female fat. After that it was a problem that needed attention and expencive treatment. After reading this book I am feeling much better aout myself. I realise there is no "absolute beauty" I can strive to achieve, it's a myth created to keep women down and make good money.
Read this book I tell you, you'll be happy that you did. Please comment and tell me how you liked it too!