Face Value: The Hidden Ways Beauty Shapes Women's Lives by Autumn Whitefield-Madrano

By Autumn Whitefield-Madrano

A thought-provoking exam of the way we expect and speak about good looks today—and the unforeseen and infrequently confident ways in which good looks shapes our lives.

For a long time, we’ve mentioned our insecurities within the face of idealized, retouched, impossibly excellent pictures. We’ve frightened primping and preening are a distraction and a catch. yet have we targeted an excessive amount of on beauty’s detrimental influence?

In Face Value, journalist Autumn Whitefield-Madrano thoughtfully examines the connection among visual appeal and technology, social media, intercourse, friendship, language, and advertisements to teach how good looks really impacts us everyday. via meticulous learn and interviews with dozens of girls throughout all walks of existence, she unearths superb findings, like that donning make-up can truly chill out you, for you to persuade humans you’re greater taking a look simply by tweaking your character, and the methods good looks could be a robust software of connection between women.

Equal components social observation, cultural research, cautious research, and strong own anecdotes, Face Value is provocative and empowering—and a superb dialog starter for ladies in all places.

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Additional info for Face Value: The Hidden Ways Beauty Shapes Women's Lives

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These gaps exist because we can’t reconcile how we think we should be influenced by looks with our actual experiences. And when we gloss over these gaps, we overlook unexpected and often positive ways that beauty fashions our lives. I want to close these gaps by challenging our assumptions, looking at beauty not only in terms of gender, power, and low self-esteem but sisterhood, ideology, and identity. We need to move the conversation beyond overtweezed brows, wriggling into Spanx, and duck-face selfies to consider instead how looks shape our lives in unexpected, often positive ways.

Seen this way, makeup becomes an emblem not of vanity but of survival. That may seem like a dramatic term to describe swiping on some lipstick, but it goes some way toward explaining the fraught relationship many women have with cosmetics. Same thing with a 2008 study on how women’s eyes and lips are darker than men’s in contrast with skin tone; by using cosmetics on the eyes and lips, perhaps women aren’t just passively embodying patriarchal notions of femininity but amplifying traits that signal their supposed femaleness.

Faces expressing introversion versus extroversion, openness to experience, and emotional stability—three of the Big Five in personality testing—were measured by British researchers (including Perrett) in 2006. A companion study looked at how desire for certain personality traits in a partner affected attraction (for example, if you like easygoing men, you’ll be attracted to a different type of face than those who prefer their men a little more keyed up). These modern incarnations aside, to most of us physiognomy seems like some sort of twisted parlor game.

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