Beauty Sick : How the Cultural Obsession With Appearance Hurts Girls and Women
by Engeln, Renee, Ph.D.

Part One This Is Beauty Sickness
Chapter 1 Will I Be Pretty?
Chapter 2 Just Like a Woman
Chapter 3 I, Object
Part Two This Is What Beauty Sickness Does to Women
Chapter 4 Your Mind on Your Body and Your Body on Your Mind
Chapter 5 It's a Shame
Chapter 6 Your Money and Your Time
Part Three This Is How the Media Feeds Beauty Sickness
Chapter 7 Malignant Mainstream Media
Chapter 8 (Anti)social Media and Online Obsessions
Part Four The Ways We're Fighting Beauty Sickness Aren't Working
Chapter 9 Media Literacy Is Not Enough
Chapter 10 The Problem with "Real Beauty"
Part Five How We Can Fight Beauty Sickness
Chapter 11 Turning Down the Volume
Chapter 12 Stop the Body Talk
Chapter 13 Function over Form
Chapter 14 Learning to Love Your Body and Teaching Others to Do the Same
Chapter 15 Turning Away from the Mirror to Face the World

Examines the detrimental effects of unrealistic beauty standards on women and girls, noting how the expectation of beauty is damaging to their success and well-being.

*Starred Review* Northwestern University psychology professor Engeln's sharp examination of beauty sickness reveals its disturbing impact on women of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds. Defined as "what happens when women's emotional energy gets so bound up with what they see in the mirror that it becomes harder for them to see other aspects of their lives," beauty sickness is incredibly destructive. Engeln's research explores how media representations of idealized femininity affect women's self-confidence as well as how women learn to evaluate their own appearances and self-monitor. Each chapter intersperses Engeln's interviews with analysis of her lab studies and other research. The interviews allow women to explain their own diverse experiences with beauty sickness. Engeln's writing is engaging and conversational, and often includes notes on her own experiences as examples of the concepts she introduces. Beauty Sick addresses a wide range of subjects, including media, social-media usage, disordered eating, ineffective methods to promote body positivity, and ways that beauty sickness may be overcome. Engeln's book is thought-provoking and will be fascinating for all readers, especially those interested in psychology, cultural studies, media, or gender studies. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

How real women continue to struggle to reach the fictitious goal of having the perfect body.Women often joke about having a bad hair day or how they can find nothing to wear, but as Engeln (Psychology/Northwestern Univ.) discovered through her intensive research and numerous interviews, our culture holds women to an impossible standard of perfection. The struggle to reach that pinnacle, even when women acknowledge that it's impossible, is creating a sector of society that is fearful and anxious about body image from a very young age. Women spend hours fussing and primping their hair, makeup, and nails and planning the perfect outfit and almost every waking moment worrying about their weight and body image. Engeln calls this pervasive situation "beauty sickness"—"what happens when women's emotional energy gets so bound up with what they see in the mirror that it becomes harder for them to see other aspects of their lives." Furthermore, she writes, "although we hear the m ost about beauty sickness in young women, it's a malaise that affects women of all ages." From as early as age 5, girls fret about their weight and appearance, and they quickly discover that what they wear can affect their chances to play like their male friends. As girls move into adolescence and young adulthood, the objectification intensifies, and women discover that they must walk a fine line between feeling powerful, sexy, and attractive and being considered slutty for wearing revealing clothes. It's a double standard that can affect women in every area of their lives. As Engeln points out, change starts at the individual level, with women taking possession of their own thoughts. Her solid ideas, mostly related in the final section, "How We Can Fight Beauty Sickness," will help women think positively about themselves regardless of body shape. Thorough research and helpful personal stories effectively relay the dilemma that nearly all women face on a daily basis. Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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